The anatomy of the foot

SQ-Fuß-beschriftet-freiThe foot skeleton consists of 28 bones.
The foot bones can be divided into following groups: tarsal bones, metatarsal bones and phalanxes. 20 muscles and over 114 tendons and ligaments ensure the required flexibility and stability of the bones to each other. A fine nerve and blood vessel network supplies the surface and deeper muscles above and below the foot.

Pain and numbness

Medical explanation - pain and numbness in the foot
If nerves or blood vessels are constricted due to pressure, the blood circulation is reduced, or the nerve fibres are irritated which results in numbness, paresthesia or even pain in foot or toes.

Cause foot type:
Too much movement, or incorrect placement of the foot, causes a high pressure to the vessels and nerve tracts through the middle foot. Even with a normal foot position, muscle fatigue can cause a sagging of the foot arch and hence lead to problems. Muscle weakness: daily walking in shoes shortens and weakens the long and short foot muscle groups.

Cause shoe:
If the shoe is chosen too tight, the toes are often cramped up and this position causes considerable shortening of the foot muscles and the musculus flexor digitorum longus. Very firm shoes (e.g. carbon) without ergonomic insoles cause a increased pressure load, and for feet where the foot arch is not optimally pronounced, a pain in the metatarsal foot can result. Usually this leads to numbness and paraesthesia.

General tips for foot problems:

  • regularly change the shoes you are wearing in everyday situations
  • bare foot walking stimulates the foot sole and raises the sensomotory function
  • strengthening of the foot muscles: lift obstacles with your foot, spread the toes, walk on tip toes
  • massaging the soles (for example rolling the foot back and forth on a tennis ball with light pressure)
  • don't do up shoe laces too tight when cycling (blood circulation)

Note:
The nerves run from brain to foot. On the way, there are a variety of options for disturbances. Lumbar spinal damage, muscular pressure and constriction can also cause pain and paraesthesia at the foot!!

The foot arch

The foot has a longitudinal and transverse arch. The foot arches are held in place by cross bracing of muscles and held upright by tendons. Hence, the body weight is mainly carried by the three points of the heel, the first and the fifth metatarsophalangeal joints.

Bracing of the longitudinal arch:SQlab-The foot arch
plantar aponeurosis
ligamentum plantare longum
musculus flexor hallucis longus
foot's short muscle group

Bracing of the transverse arch:
musculus tibialis posterior
musculus peronaeus profundus

Together they 'wrap around' the middle foot like a stirrup from the inside and outside and hold the arch up.

 

Function of the foot arch:
The foot provides the first contact between human and the ground. In a healthy foot in normal position, the transverse- and longitudinal foot arches perform an important dampening role. The entire body weight needs to be carried by the foot when walking, while also reducing the load peaks on joints such as knees, hips, and spine. To do this, the foot arches subside upon ground contact of every step due to the load experienced, and the muscle tension builds them up again.

Biomechanics and cycling:
On subsidence of the foot arches the foot fatigues and the direct force transmitted to the pedals is reduced. Too much movement of the foot in the cycling shoe can lead to nerve and blood vessel constrictions which result in paraesthesia or numbness.

Pedal ergonomy

SQlab-Becken-und-Pedalethumb SQlab WebInlineImage Fuss auf Pedal USLonger axle
This is important for riders who’s natural foot position is “V” shaped when viewed from above. If the feet are placed parallel on the pedals, this no longer corresponds to the natural position of the feet and knee issues can be the result. If you are affected by such a problem, especially if pain is experienced on the outside of the knees at the fibula / fibula head, then your feet should be positioned on the pedals in such a way that their natural position is replicated. Most clipless pedals allow sufficient repositioning of the cleats for adjustment to this improved position. Usually however, this results in the heels clipping the chainstays or rubbing on the cranks. The longer axle of the SQlab pedals will provide the additionally required space for the improved foot position.
The other case where the longer SQlab pedal axles are often a solution is with large shoe sizes, typically from about size 45 onwards where the heels often polish the cranks with standard pedals.

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Pressure mapping

The results of pressure mapping show the magnitude of pressure beginning with blue (less pressure) to green/yellow/orange/red (high pressure).

SQlab WebInlineImage Druckmessungen Fuesse US

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The Foot types

SQlab-Details sqlab insolesCorresponding to the various foot types and specific requirements in cycling, we have developed insoles that support the various different weaknesses.

Benefits and function of the insoles:

  • optimal pressure distribution
  • maximised power transmission
  • support for the foot arches
  • relief of overstressed nerves

 

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