Just because we can walk from point A to point B, doesn’t necessarily mean our gait is correct. One important aspect of walking worth considering is the Toe Off.
Walking can be broken down into four phases: 1) heel strike - when your heel first hits the ground; 2) stance phase - the period when your whole foot is on the ground; 3) toe off - the point when your toes bend, just before your foot lifts off the ground; and 4) swing phase - the period when your foot is in the air.
A faulty gait is often due to a poor toe-off. The correct technique involves pushing off with the first and second toes by contracting the calf muscles and flexor muscles of the foot. However many people wrongly use their thigh muscles to lift the foot rather than pushing off with the toes.
Next time you are walking take a moment to observe your gait. Is it smooth and fluent? Do you stand tall and upright? Are you feet flaring out too far, or rotating in? Do you roll your feet over too much? What’s your toe off like? A good toe off keeps muscles balanced and adds a spring to your step.
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