A vast array of after-market insoles has been merchandised through years. Most of these consist of a bed of cushioning foam with only hints of accommodation for foot anatomy. Other than extremely expensive orthotic insoles, commercial varieties do little to solve far-reaching problems of feet restricted in a quite unnatural device, shoe.
A new ergonomically designed insole, based upon “foot-in-the-sand” technology©, has been developed. It is result of several years of research in comparative anatomy, kinesiology (mechanics and anatomy of movement), ergonomics (human engineering for efficient and safe use) and testing in most rigorous and demanding of sports and vocations. See http://www.wysong.net/images/insole/sand.jpg A Personal Note My interest in functional footwear was forced upon me by many years of training in competitive badminton (not recreational type played in backyards), an exceptionally rigorous sport including much jumping and rapid lateral and back and forth movements resulting in tremendous concussive and shear forces on feet. I did majority of my training on cement and over years I discovered I was not made of steel. The first thing to suffer was my feet. The pain after a workout was so bad I had to lie in bed at night with my legs elevated on pillows so my heels were suspended and did not touch anything. Not willing to give up sport, I set about looking for shoes and orthotics that would help. That process was unfruitful and in most cases exacerbated problem. For example, common solution to heel pain is to provide cushioning under heel. That was my first impulse as well, but cushions there simply guaranteed more heel contact, very thing my feet were crying out to avoid.
Frustrated with commercial products, I and research staff at Wysong set about developing something that would work not only for me, but for anyone in sports and anyone wanting relief from incredible pounding feet receive. This is story of results of over five years of research and development.
The Foot Is A Dynamic Structure The foot is an exceedingly complex mechanical structure. It is comprised of 26 bones (25% of all body's bones!) as well as muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, sesamoids, nerves, lubricating fluids, pads, nails, veins, arteries and lymphatics, all comprising hundreds of interconnecting intricate parts. Modern shoes entomb foot into a virtually immobile state – as if it were comprised of one piece – denying its important underlying functional and dynamic design. The foot has no rectangular or perpendicular edges and was not meant to be strapped to a platform. Conventional shoes are created for adornment (pointed shoes even have a sexual history) with only token considerations made for critical needs of a living foot crying out for freedom from bondage and solitary confinement. In fact, 80% of all foot problems occur in women because of distorting shoes they wear. Overweight individuals are even more prone to foot problems due to compounded gravitational forces funneled down to foot. (see http://www.wysong.net/images/insole/anatomy.jpg)
Conventional shoes (better termed coffins) lead to a broad host of ailments. Similar to binding used to create diminutive feet in Japanese women, modern shoes bind and misshape feet. The misshapen feet of modern adventurers who travel to primitive regions amaze barefooted natives who have naturally wide, toughened, prehensile, toe-spread feet.
The true potential of liberated toes becomes apparent in disabled who have no hand function, yet learn to write and use eating utensils with their toes. In contrast, toes that have spent a lifetime in shoes can barely move. (see http://www.wysong.net/images/insole/bare.jpg) Feet are best thought of as analogues to prehensile hands, not mere shock absorbing bumpers at end of our legs. The Foot’s Relationship To Health The average adult walks five miles in course of daily activities, and our feet absorb about 1,000 tons of force a day – much of it on hard surfaces. Improper footwear sends “dis-ease” up through legs and spine, all way to cranium. Feet forced out of balance and inhibited from proper movement can result in corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, fascitis, sesamoiditis, tarsal tunnel, calconeal apophysitis, shin splints, torn Achilles tendons, sprains, broken ankles, joint pain and arthritis. Pelvic and hip problems as well as lower back and cervical (neck) disc problems can also result. Improper foot mobility interferes with blood and lymphatic circulation leading to edema, varicose veins, phlebitis, and claudication. Resultant clots can migrate to critical blood vessels in brain and other areas potentially causing stroke, heart attacks and degeneration of kidneys and other organs with critical microcirculation. This is not to mention fatigue, headaches, and even depression that can have an ultimate cause linked to body imbalance and organic malfunction beginning in feet. Foot pain can lead to decreased exercise and with that increased susceptibility to unhealthy weight gain and a host of other mental, physical and physiological weaknesses. (see http://www.wysong.net/images/insole/healthy.jpg)
The feet are much too important to simply bind, adorn and hide. The foot is designed to be our connection to Earth. The sensations received by foot on ground create body awareness not unlike input received by senses.
For athletes, demands on feet are greatly amplified. Many have their careers cut short by foot injury and degenerative foot diseases. The causes are many, but not least of which is improper shoe and insole design. All athletes sooner or later have foot problems. Given a natural surface to play a sport on (like sand, if that were possible), and using conditioned bare feet, these problems would rarely occur.
Health should be primary consideration in footwear, not a little cushioning here and there and a lot of fashion and style. A product that needs to primarily address function should not become simply an opportunity for marketing. (see http://www.wysong.net/images/insole/ball.jpg)
How Feet Are Designed To Work The proper position of foot is up on ball. Propulsion and landing should only incidentally (if at all) employ heel contact. The heel is to movement what buttocks are to standing. You’re on your heels while standing but not moving, and on your buttocks if you’re sitting and not moving. Unfortunately, platformed box design of shoes encourages heel contact with motion, thus decreasing reaction time and speed and setting stage for injury. (see http://www.wysong.net/images/insole/flat.jpg) The natural movement of foot is a complex, resilient, flexing and rolling motion – not two dimensional heel-foot thumping forced upon it by modern footwear. The natural foot roll employs same principle used by a parachutist when landing. By folding and rolling chance of injury is dramatically decreased. So too should foot roll at each landing. That is, in fact, what it is anatomically designed to do. The motion I speak of is natural rolling from light heel contact or no heel contact, to lateral (outer) arch, to ball, then to toes. (see http://www.wysong.net/images/insole/roll.jpg)