The Rolling movement of the foot is a functionally very important process in walking and slow running. Disorders can have negative effects on the entire body.
The rolling movement of the foot is a functionally very important process when walking and slow running.
The rolling of the foot describes the movement of the foot, taking into account the changing contact surfaces of the sole of the foot in the course of the standing leg phase. With a physiological course, the 3 contact points of the arch of the foot are reached in any case, the heel, the ball of the small toe and the ball of the big toe.
The placing of the foot with the heel is the beginning of the standing leg phase and the rolling movement. As a result, the sole of the foot reaches the ground and the body weight is gradually taken over. The sequence of movements runs in waves over the outer edge of the sole of the foot to the ball of the little toe and from there transversely to the ball of the big toe and the big toe berry. The movement ends with lifting the rear foot and pressing it over the big toe.
The cause of this non-linear movement lies in the construction of the arch of the foot, the cavities of which are either bypassed, as in the case of the longitudinal arch, or skipped over, as is the case with the transverse arch. The drive for the forward thrust of the foot during the rolling movement comes from the strong calf muscles at normal walking pace, and the hip extensors also switch on at higher speeds.
The rolling movement is the guarantee that the foot movement takes place under mechanically favorable conditions. In conjunction with the vault construction, it ensures that the load coming from above is gradually distributed over many elements of the foot skeleton. This is important to avoid pressure damage, as the individual bones are not as strong as in the hip and knee joint.
When the sole of the foot reaches the ground, weight transfer begins via the talus to the heel bone and the other adjacent tarsal bones. As the foot shifts forwards, towards the toes, the other tarsal bones and the metatarsal bones are also included in the transfer of the load. In the end, the weight is distributed over many small bones and joints and the point load on the individual parts is very low. Together with the shock absorber function of the arches of the foot, this is the main reason why arthrosis rarely occurs in the ankle and other joints of the foot.
Some people make no or insufficient rolling movement. As a result, the entire body weight is transferred to the foot with one blow and is not cushioned. According to Newton's 3rd axiom, the reaction force that arises on contact with the ground acts upwards and puts excessive strain on the knee joints, hip joints and spine with every step.
There is no rolling motion when running fast or jumping. The foot is placed directly with the forefoot and pushed off again in the next moment. Briefly high pressure peaks arise, which in well-trained people are absorbed by the muscles.
Another important function of the rolling movement is to maintain favorable static conditions, which are important for the foot as well as for the legs and the trunk. The wave-like movement over the load-bearing elements of the foot skeleton ensures that the leg axes are maintained and that the load is symmetrical when compared to the sides. This is the basic requirement for an even distribution of pressure in the hip and knee joint and in the spine.
There are many diseases and injuries that directly or indirectly influence the rolling motion. Neurological diseases that are accompanied by a loss of motor control or a progressive weakness of the lower leg and foot muscles have a negative effect on the gait pattern. With multiple sclerosis, polyneuropathy, but also with alcohol abuse, an unsteady gait arises for various reasons. The rolling movement is often no longer present and the track width is increased. A typical atactic and uncoordinated gait develops.
All injuries that are accompanied by severe pain in the leg and foot have a serious effect on the processes when walking. Often a movement pattern arises that is used to protect and avoid aggravating pain. Rolling over is no longer necessary, the forefoot is placed directly on the floor and the other leg is quickly moved forward in order to keep the stance phase of the affected side as short as possible. This change in gait pattern is commonly referred to as hobbling. In the case of fatigue fractures of the metatarsal or tarsal bones, the change in the overall picture looks similar, but the ground contact occurs only on the heel.
All foot deformities have a massive effect on the rolling movement and have negative consequences for the statics. The flattening or complete dismantling of the arches of the foot means that the contact surfaces change when rolling. In the case of a flat arch, which affects the longitudinal arch, the inner edge of the sole of the foot sinks and eventually reaches the ground. The wave-like movement of rolling is no longer given and the load distribution in the foot is completely changed. The inner tarsal and metatarsal bones in particular come under great pressure. At the same time, this shift can change the leg axis, with the result that the joints involved are more stressed.
The lowering of the transverse arch in the splayfoot puts pressure on the heads of the metatarsals 2 - 3. These are not as well padded as the balls of the big and small toes and react to the increased stress with severe pain.
Toe deformities particularly affect the final phase of the rolling movement. With hammer and claw toes, mobility is limited, especially in extension. For this reason, the rolling movement cannot take place completely. It is canceled and the gait rhythm changes.