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Kinetic Chain

Gait Cycle and the Kinetic Chain

Humans propel themselves through the concrete jungle the same way they have for thousands of years: heel strike → full forefoot load → heel lift → toe off. During a normal gait cycle, your heel makes contact and immediately redistributes the force—twice your body weight on each foot—up along the side of your foot, the part of your foot designed to actually absorb impact and transfer energy to continue forward motion. However, not all impact is transferred up your foot. Much energy is transferred along what chiropractors call the kinetic chain: heels → ankles → shins → knees → thighs → hips → pelvic girdle/lower back.

Unlike the environments our ancestors walked, today's concrete and other hard surfaces are much less forgiving, resulting in significantly more stress to the body. Every day we experience thousands of collisions with the ground. The greater impact delivered up the kinetic chain, sometimes exacerbated by an improper gait cycle (over-pronation or supination), compromise the human body's ability to absorb and redistribute stress forces, causing injuries.

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Impact Reduction, Stability and the Problem with Modern Footwear

Preventing stress injury and providing relief for existing injuries requires impact reduction—i.e., footwear that actually limits the amount of force that travels up the kinetic chain. However, cushioning impact alone will not ensure healthy joints and pain relief. Shoes that offer extra padding actually encourage atrophy in the muscles of the foot. Compare other footwear here. Weak muscles can lead to a number of compensating movements, many of which direct stress forces to areas of the foot that are not designed to absorb impact. Unfortunately, most modern footwear has taken an either-or approach to solving the problem of increased impact along the kinetic chain. Either they provide cushiony soles to reduce the force of impact but allow the flexibility for soft tissues to move outside a normal range of motion, or they provide a rigid sole to keep the foot (and stress forces) in a natural range of motion but with very little impact-absorption, resulting in high impact all the way up the kinetic chain.  This leads to a variety of painful ailments including heel spurs, plantar fasciitis and most commonly back pain. 

Try the Z Technology for Yourself

All Z-CoiL pain relief footwear products come with a risk-free 30-day trial. Find a Z-CoiL distributor near you or contact us to have your shoes shipped directly to you. You've got nothing to lose but your pain!