Day 20. Ordinarily I’m not much of a high heels chap. However the other day I noticed on getting out of bed that I felt much more stable when I stood on my toes, and pointed my toes when walking.
Pretty obvious why really. I haven’t got full control of the hip/leg mechanism yet. But standing on my toes automatically activates all the leg and hip muscles, presumably because the brain just doesn’t want to bother with all the balance stuff, it just says lock the leg for toe walking.
Engineering-wise the control systems to keep us upright are pretty amazing: try balancing a 6ft piece of wood on the area of size 9 shoes and you’ll see what I mean – takes a lot of corrective movements. Now try it with a floppy hinge halfway down (hip), one 3/4 way down (knee) and another at the bottom (ankle). That takes some doing. Then walk on it. Then run. You begin to understand how sophisticated our control systems have to be for normal movement.
So when the area is reduced to the toes – about the size of your palm – the brain has to do something to make it easier. And what it does is make the legs stiff like stilts.
Women know this – high heels makes the muscles of the calves, thighs and buttocks more prominent and the gait a little stiffer (and more attractive).
So I got a pair of old shoes and glued a 20cm heel onto each. Instantly my gait normalised because I don’t have to train the brain to walk with stiff muscles, it knows all about that already, and it doesn’t have much to do with hip proprioception. (you can see why I don’t do high heels much now, can’t you).
Good physio I should think, I’ll keep doing it. But just walking while consciously touching the toes to the ground first makes a remarkable difference to my gait. Same idea as high heels I think.