Feet – Marvels of Engineering Design

030324Our feet are made up of twenty-six bones and thirty-three joints.  They are held together by over a hundred ligaments, all served by tendons, nerves and blood vessels.  Feet are marvels of engineering design.  They act as multi-functional supports, propellants, and balancing devices.  They enable us to manoeuver in amazing ways.

The average person takes some ten thousand steps a day.  Over a lifetime a person may walk 195 thousand kilometers.  Jogging for one kilometer subjects your feet to about a 1000 forceful heel strikes, each supporting your entire weight.  Athletes in bare feet can judge impact better than those in running shoes.

In 1960 a barefooted Ethiopian ran the marathon at the Rome Olympics and set a new world record.  Rickshaw coolies, who spend all their time running on hard roads while pulling their passengers, report fewer foot problems than most well heeled Westerners.

The performance of many athletes depends on the skilled use of the feet.  A golfer balances on the ball of the foot; the basketball player uses them as levers to launch into a jump; tennis players pivot on their feet as they move quickly from one side of the court to the other.  All this flexible weight distribution and support depends on the subtle arching of the soles of our feet.

So next time you walk, or stand on your toes, appreciate those marvels of engineering design that support your every move.