Plantar Aspects of FootHAPPY FEET ARE strong, flexible and pain-free and they take you where you want to go joyfully.

There are 26 bones in the human foot, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. The 52 bones in your feet make up about 25 percent of all the bones in your body. The bottom of the foot has four layers of muscles. Some foot muscles originate in the lower leg. These are largely responsible for turning the foot in and out and up and down.

Posterior Leg Muscles to FootThe question becomes how do we develop strong flexible pain-free feet and how do we maintain them?

Leg muscles, lateral viewStride Rite would have you believe that babies need shoes. The hundreds of sport shoe manufacturers would have you believe that to be fashionable and foot safe as well as win the game, that you MUST buy their brand. To look your best at the office or step out for the evening requires a designer look.

  • The fact is that Madison Avenue has you all believing that. They spend millions on tests to find ways of advertising products that please almost everyone.
  • The fact is that until about 40,000 years ago, we went barefoot and nature figured that the best protection would be tough leathery skin and calluses.
  • The fact is that a foot in a shoe becomes a sort of hoof. The more expensive and rigid the shoe the more hoof like. Rigid does not develop muscles.
  • The fact is that the body can experience up to seven times its own weight when running.
  • The fact is that the only way to develop strong, flexible pain-free feet is to go barefoot from day ONE. New mothers and fathers from day one should begin to exercise the baby’s feet: up, down, in, out, circle both ways. Soon you will find that the baby feet start to push against your finger and at the point you are developing strength.

Leg muscles, lateral viewToe RisesPavement vs Soft Surface
Would you run a good racehorse on the road? The answer is, not if you have any sense. Horses train on tracks and in arenas, not on hard surfaces. It ruins their legs and it ruins yours too along with your low back…no matter the cost of your shoes.

Run on grass, sand, beaches, trails. Look for foot safe surfaces that are forgiving. If you run on the track at the local field make sure you go both ways the way the horses do in the arena. Your dog knows to run in the ditch even if you are on the road. Your legs and feet are just as valuable as Seabiscuit’s, Man O’ War’s and Fido’s.

Heel Cord StretchBarefoot vs Shoes
When you run in shoes you hit with your heel sending shock waves along to the ankle, knee and hip joints and finally coming down onto the ball of your foot. When you run barefoot you land on the ball of your foot and momentarily touch the heel before pushing off again with the ball of the foot and big toe. This results in a Instep Stretchspringy more efficient step and a lot less shock.

Treadmills vs Trails
Cross country running uses the muscles in different ways. Muscles like variety. If you run on the treadmill you are running on a moving platform and there is no variety in the use of the muscles. It is repetitive movement. Someone has observed that treadmill runners have “sleepy gluts” and “flat butts.”

No matter your choice build your foot and lower leg muscles so that you can go where you want to and do what you want to.

For more information on feet, read my other blogs:


If you have questions or need help, email me at

For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®.

Attributions for Anatomical Drawings