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Our Feet

Sources: A Handbook Of Health

The Living Arches of the Foot. One of the most important things to

look after, if we wish to have an erect carriage and a swift, graceful

gait, is the shape and vigor of the feet. Each foot consists of two

springy, living arches of bone and sinew, which are also used as levers,

one running lengthwise from the heel to the ball of the toes, and the

other crosswise at the instep. These arches are built largely of bones,

t are given that springy, elastic curve on which their health and

comfort depend, and are kept in proper shape and position, solely by the

action of muscles--those of the lower part of the leg and calf.

The purpose of these arches is to give, or spring, like carriage

springs, and thus break the shock of each step and cause the body to

ride easily and comfortably. In order that a spring may give, it

must expand, or spread. Far the commonest and most serious cause of a

poor, easily tired gait and a bad carriage is tight shoes, which, by

being too short, or too narrow, or both, prevent the arches of the foot

from giving and expanding. Not only does this produce corns, bunions,

and lame feet, but it makes both standing and walking painful and

feeble, and destroys the balance of the entire body, causing the back to

ache, the shoulders to droop forward, and the neck muscles to tire

themselves out trying to pull the head back so as to keep the face and

eyes erect. Thus one soon tires, and never really enjoys walking. If

this disturbance of balance is increased by high heels, thrust forward

under the middle of the foot, the result is very bad.

Our Shoes, an Important Factor in Health. Few more ingenious

instruments of crippling and torture have ever been invented than

fashionable tight shoes with high heels.

Kipling never said a shrewder or truer thing than when he made Mulvaney,

the old Irish drill-sergeant, tell the new recruit, Remimber, me son, a

soljer on the marrch is no betther than his feet! and this applies

largely to the march of life as well.

Every shoe should be at least three-quarters of an inch longer, and from

half to three-quarters of an inch wider, than the foot at rest, to allow

proper expansion of these great carriage-spring arches. If children

run free in the open air, either barefoot, or with light, loose,

well-ventilated shoes, or sandals, they will have little trouble, not

only with bunions, corns, flat-foot, or lameness, but also with their

backs, their gait, and their carriage. Easily half of our backaches, and

inability to walk far or run fast in later life, to say nothing of

over-fatness and dyspepsia, are caused by tight shoes.