Perfect Balance or No Balance
If foot function is impaired, then balance will be difficult. You will tire in a short time and even sometimes in minutes can suffer leg pains. Observe what happens: at once the inner side of the foot comes into rapid play or action, with slight, constantly fluctuating adjustments necessary to sustain the body balance; the outer side of the foot remains comparatively immobile and your entire weight tends to focus upon that part.
The fluctuating inner part of the foot is called the spring-arch. Its chief function is to adjust for and maintain balance. The outer portion is called the weight-bearing arch and it operates to center and sustain the body weight.
By this simple experiment, you will learn not only the importance of the structure of your feet, but you will also be able to test their condition. The normal, unimpaired foot will balance the body perfectly, with graceful, easy movements and only a slight swaying of the body. The weak, crippled or deformed foot will make violent jerky efforts to balance the body, but will fail! Impaired function will force you to reach for support, to drop the other foot to the ground, or fall in a heap.
The condition of a great majority of feet are between the extremes of Perfect Balance and No Balance. The vital importance of this balancing action of the foot becomes evident the moment we consider the act of walking. While walking, we are continuously balancing first on one foot and then on the other as we transfer the weight of the body forward from right to left and left to right. In fact, it is a movement demanding remarkable equipoise, for the height and mass of the human body are out of proportion architecturally to the narrow base formed by the feet. The equilibrium, in turn, depends upon the perfect coordination of the nerves and muscles and their control of the lever-like bones, fulcrums, bases, angles and shifting surface of the feet. Correct walking is a feat of balancing on balanced feet!
Since most all foot comfort depends upon normal foot function, beware of diagnosis of arthritis or so-called rheumatism when the lower extremities are painful, since nearly all these symptoms can stem from some functional foot disturbance to even overweight and poor posture. For more info., refer to the section on gout, arthritis and rheumatism in the Senior Steps section of Chapter Six.