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Of the many natural cushioning systems in the human body, the feet are perhaps the most important. They are the ones who receive all the body's charge when stationary or moving. For this, each foot has an extremely rich and complex structure, composed of 25 intrinsic muscles (only present in the foot), ten extrinsic muscles (which connect the foot to the leg), 33 joints and 108 ligaments.

The problem is that, in an urban context and increasingly artificial, many people stopped walking barefoot. And, encouraged by advertising, they started to wear shoes and sneakers reinforced by paraphernalia of rigid structures and shock absorbers. 

“All the structures of the feet end up atrophying with the repeated use of this type of footwear. It’s as if someone started to wear a neck brace on a daily basis to prevent neck pain due to the continuous use of screens. In a short time, the neck muscles would lose mass, strength and functionality”, says Profa. Isabel Sacco, coordinator of the Laboratory of Biomechanics of Movement and Human Posture (Labimph) at the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP).

She is also the coordinator of the Thematic Project “Biomechanics and functional aspects of the musculoskeletal system of runners: the chronic effect of therapeutic exercises and aging”, supported by the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (FAPESP). Researchers from USP, the Federal University of ABC (UFABC), the University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam, UvA), in the Netherlands, and the Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute (Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, IOR), in Italy, participate in it.

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In elderly people, the probability of falling decreases seven times, according to a study by USP. The habitual use of stiffer shoes or reinforced sneakers is the main enemy of foot health, the researchers say (some of the exercises used in the training program).

Photo: researchers' collection.