In an age where footwear has become an integral part of our fashion wardrobe, it would surprise most people that forsaking those shoes and walking barefoot could actually prove beneficial for our feet. But that’s exactly what some sports medicine experts are telling us lately.According to Patrick McKeon, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences at Ithaca College, USA, padding around on bare feet can actually improve one’s posture and balance, and ward off problems like plantar fasciitis, bursitis, shin splints and tendinitis. His research into barefoot activities led him to discover a feedback cycle in the body called the ‘foot core feedback loop’. This loop connects the extrinsic larger muscles of the foot and leg to the smaller intrinsic muscles of the foot and a neural connection that conveys the feedback information back to the spine and the brain. Soles and foot cushions hamper this communication and when this feedback loop snaps, the body weakens and expresses it through a variety of disorders. Walking and running barefoot could help prevent overuse injuries.

“Some shoes are very good, from the standpoint of providing support. But the consequence of that support, about losing information from the foot, is what we see the effects of [in overuse injuries].”

Patrick McKeon, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences, Ithaca College in a News Release

Environmental science has also presented evidence that unclad feet can attract moving electrons from the earth’s surface, that help in neutralizing free radicals in the body. It is thought that the electrons entering the body provide it with equilibrium in line with the energy of the earth. A layer between the foot sole and the ground can serve as an obstacle for effective contact, leading to ailments and inflammation. While there is still some scepticism about this reason to go barefoot, few people can deny the sheer pleasure they get when sauntering without sandals on the beach sand or on a grassy knoll.

Interestingly, strong feet don’t just imply only physical benefits, but financial savings too in the form of money saved on padded and expensive athletic footwear. So maybe it’s time we cut back on the sneakers and gave those soles some alone-time with good old Mother Earth!

 

 

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