THE MILITARY BOOT- should it be reserved only for certain training exercises and combat?
An interesting conversation with a client yesterday got me thinking- my husband wears his boots for near on 12hrs each working day, occasionally changing to trainers for PT. Are his feet suffering as a consequence?
During combat the correct footwear prevents acute injuries such as ankle sprains and terrain impacts. Therefore, boots are needed for combat and, furthermore, need to be worn during some training so that personal are acclimatised to moving whilst wearing them.
However, functional feet should be able to move and maintain strength. Do his boots reduce his foot health and have implications on the rest of his body- potentially leading to a cascade of overuse injuries that may ultimately prevent him being combat ready/fit?
So I went hunting for research, here's a little of what I found:
"The property with the most obvious effect is the mass of the boots. By wearing boots, the effective mass of the foot is increased, thereby increasing the rotational inertia of the leg. This increases the muscle load, energetic cost of locomotion and rate of fatigue and hence increases the risk of injury. The increase in energetic cost for carrying loads on the feet has been found to be four times more costly than walking without load.
Footwear can also have a significant influence on gait by restricting motion of the foot. This restriction can result in increased loading at the ankle, knee and hip as well as decreased energy absorption during certain parts of the stance phase. This can in turn result in compensatory gait changes."
Full article can be found here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40798-016-0046-z
Luckily for me husband, I can help 😉
By encouraging him to walk barefoot around the house will help build strength in the foot and lower limbs.
The best advice for anyone is to BRUSH YOUR TEETH STOOD ON ONE FOOT - One minute on each foot, morning and evening- you will have lovely clean teeth and improved ankle stability.
Soft tissue techniques and movement will identify areas of restriction and help mobilise. Addressing any secondary issues further up the chain (knee, hips, back, shoulders...) will help prevent possibility of a more complex remedial program or downgrading.