Did you know, today is National Barefoot Day ? It is a time where we are encouraged to look after our feet and appreciate their importance, and as 75% of the population reportedly suffer foot problems in their lifetime, it is vital we get to know our feet and what they need.
In light of this, Cas Paton Founder and CEO of OnBuy.com’s Shoe Department reveals the structural characteristics of each of the seven main foot types and the primary aliments they are likely to experience:
Peasant foot is defined by the big toe, long toe and middle toe being short and of equal length. To accommodate for the lack of balance caused by the shortness of these three toes, peasant foot is structurally ‘flat’. Despite aiding stability, having fallen arches can affect the bodies alignment which increases the risk of ankle, knee and hip pain.
Square foot is characterised by all five toes being of equal length, giving a broad, firm base. A wide ball and narrow heel are typical of this foot structure, resulting in increased pressure on the toes and ball of the foot. This unequal distribution of weight can result in persistent metatarsalgia if incorrect footwear is worn over a significant period of time.
Greek foot also known as the flame foot, is defined by a protruding second toe and is one of the most common foot types worldwide. This shape is caused by a structural ‘abnormality’ in the metatarsals, which are long bones connecting the toes to the back of your foot. With this foot type the first metatarsal bone is shorter than the second, which can cause more weight to be put on the thinner second metatarsal bone. This can result in pain in the arches of your feet.
Stretched feet are characterised by separated toes caused by wideset metatarsal bones. Due to the already wide nature of this foot structure, people with ‘stretched feet’ are a lot more prone to ‘splay feet’ which refers to the sinking of the transverse foot arches over time which, much like with the Greek foot, leads to load-dependent pain.
Roman foot is the most common and is characterised by inward pointing toes and, much like the peasant foot, the first three toes are of similar length. People with Roman foot typically have high arches allowing for greater acceleration and ease when changing direction suddenly. This is due to stiffer form limiting supination and pronation, allowing the foot to adapt and move quicker. People with Roman foot are however more prone to ‘hammer toes’, which is caused by the weakening of the muscles surrounding the toe. People with Roman foot are more prone to this due to already having an imbalance in muscles and ligaments that keep the toes straight.
Egyptian foot is distinguished by a long, big-toe, followed by the other toes being on an incline. Such feet are usually longer and narrower than any other shapes. Despite being the foot type least likely to suffer from arthritis, bunions and load-dependent pain, this narrow structure allows for greater supination when walking. Supination is one of the leading causes of ankle pain.
Simian foot is identified by disproportionally small inward facing little toe and an inward facing big toe. This shape is caused by a curvature in the phalange bones. Due to both toes tending to drift laterally people with this foot type are most likely to get bunions.