In the first part of this blog we explored the why of the anatomy of walking, and today we’ll dive into the how. While the entire body is involved in proper gait alignment and biomechanics , let’s start with the foundation: your feet and ankles. When speaking about the gait(walk) cycle we break it up into the swing phase and the stance phase. The swing phase occurs every time your foot leaves contact with the ground and is swinging through to take the next step.
The stance phase is divided up into three different parts: the heel strike, mid-stance, and finally the heel lift. A heel strike is the initial moment of shock absorption, and we begin to pronate (flattening of inner arch) to accommodate the different surfaces we might encounter. As we shift into mid stance the entire foot makes contact with the ground and we center our weight over the foot.
The final part of the stance phase is when we lift our heel and prepare to push off and enter the swing phase. During the heel lift the foot supinates (rolling outwards and the arch lifts) and acts as a propeller to spring you forward into your next step.
There is quite a bit of mobility required to execute a proper gait cycle. The normal range of motion in the feet and ankles is 20 degrees of dorsiflexion, 60 degrees of plantar flexion, 15 degrees of eversion, and 35 degrees of inversion, and 65 degrees of extension in your big toe. If any one of these aspects is lacking there will be compensation, which can lead to irritation in the feet, ankles, and/or anywhere up the chain.
Thankfully, Yoga Tune Up® has a variety of self massage techniques and exercises to create mobility, awareness, and relieve pain in your feet. This awesome video with Jill Miller will be a serious treat for your feet, while simultaneously working balance and spinal alignment. Get ready to walk on!