Active Seniors

Picking up good vibrations

The bottom of our foot is full of important receptors on the skin that provide feedback to help us balance and react to changes. The information picked up by the receptors is perceived as vibrations in the bottom of the foot. These vibrations can be affected by a number of things.When we walk we put around 1-2 x body weight through our feet creating small vibrations. Our body uses the leg muscles to neutralize these vibrations to ensure the soft tissues store these vibrations as energy rather than allowing the vibrations to irritate the tissues creating injury. The more we load up our body the greater the vibrations. Jumping puts up to 8-10 x body weight through the feet leading to greater vibrations. The greater the vibrations, the greater the demands on the leg muscles to dampen them.

When we walk we put around 1-2 x body weight through our feet creating small vibrations. Our body uses the leg muscles to neutralize these vibrations to ensure the soft tissues store these vibrations as energy rather than allowing the vibrations to irritate the tissues creating injury. The more we load up our body the greater the vibrations. Jumping puts up to 8-10 x body weight through the feet leading to greater vibrations. The greater the vibrations, the greater the demands on the leg muscles to dampen them.

The surfaces we walk on also affects these vibrations. The harder the surface, again the greater the vibrations. And of course footwear is an extremely important consideration. While it may seem that a thicker sole on a shoe would assist in reducing the vibrations, the reality is quite different. A thick and rigid shoe will actually change your body’s ability to sense vibrations. Without being able to sense vibration effectively, the body’s ability to appropriately respond to the vibrations is compromised which can lead to injury.

Aside from having reactive muscles, it is also important to ensure that our connective tissues are healthy when managing the ground reaction forces. When our connective tissues are neglected, the often become stiff and are not able to absorb and store the energy from these vibrations effectively. This energy is then transferred to other structures such as bone and can overload them if the forces are large enough or sustained.

So the next time you are walking, try to consider all the effort that your body engages in to absorb these vibrations and keep you upright!

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