Fitness

Why Foot Muscles Matter, And Running Shoes Don’t Help Them

Science jogs on, rimagesevealing in recent research something that most runners have known intuitively: foot muscles matter. Researchers at the University of Queensland have found that, contrary to popular belief, ligaments in feet are not the primary support for the foot arch (which helps us run, jump, and yes, walk): muscles are. A U of Queensland news release reports that experiments measuring the reaction of foot muscles to different stresses showed that as foot muscles were stimulated, they caused the arch of the foot to rise, and actively supported the arch, and that the foot muscles were  acting as a parallel support to the ligaments, effectively stiffening the foot. Why do we care? Because the researchers say, the finding suggests that running shoes, at least running shoes designed to greatly cushion and support feet, could slow the response of these muscles in being able to adjust to different surfaces or uneven terrain. “Running shoes,” the researchers say, “should be designed to complement the function of the muscles rather than work against them.” Read more from the University of Queensland.

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