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Why Shoes Make “Normal” Gait Impossible

Posted Jun 13 2011 12:49pm

By William A. Rossi, D.P.M.

Dr. Rossi, a frequent contributor to this magazine, serves as a consultant for the footwear industry, and resides in Marshfield, MA.

Each year, consumers spend hundreds of millions of dollars for “walking shoes” promising to help the wearer walk “right” or more comfortably. Each year, additional hundreds of millions of dollars are spent for orthotics designed to “normalize” foot balance, stability, and gait. Podiatrists and other medical practitioners are constantly applying therapies and ancillary products to correct gait faults and re-establish “normal” gait.

While such therapies provide some relief from gait-induced distress symptoms, they are largely ineffectual in re-establishing natural gait. Why? Because natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person. Natural gait and shoes are biomechanically incompatible because all shoes automatically convert the normal to the abnormal, the natural to the unnatural. And no therapy or mechanical device, no matter how precisely designed or expertly applied, can fully reverse thc gait from wrong to right.

Let’s now see if these seemingly presumptuous statements can be substantiated by the evidence of the shoe/gait conflict.

Gait is the single most complex motor function of the human body…  read the rest of the article on


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