You were born with perfect feet. So what happened along the way? The human foot is designed such that the toes are spread and extended. This allows for optimal balance and stride. In societies where mainly flip-flops or sandals are used, foot integrity is maintained through life and foot problems are avoided. In industrialized societies however, the foot’s natural shape changes over time. The toes become elevated and pinched together, resulting in weakened flexor muscles combined with overly tight extensors. Subsequently, natural gait and balance are compromised. The main culprit is rigid footwear. The vast majority of footwear in the industrialized world elevates the heel above the forefoot (ball of foot), bends the toes upward (known as toe spring), and squeezes the toes together. Over time, this deforms the foot, leading to a host of foot problems, gait abnormalities, musculoskeletal pathologies.

The long-held conventional podiatric view is that the feet are inherently misshaped, and they need to be corrected with the use of orthotics or surgeries. Where these methods fail, pain is to be managed by anti-inflammatory drugs. But the best way to treat most foot problems is by allowing the foot to function exactly as nature intended. Only by returning the feet to their natural shape eliminates existing foot problems and prevents new ones from arising. — by Dr. Ray McClanahan