Barefoot Science

How “tuned in” is your nervous system? Advances in barefoot science.

Cell phones, billboards, TV ads, fit bits.     Now, more so than every before, our nervous system is continuously being over-stimulated with information.   This over-stimulation of  information actually has the opposite effect on the nervous system, leading to a shut down or “tuning out” of the external noise which we experience on a daily basis.

This concept of “tuning out” can also be applied to someone who lives in an urban setting and eventually doesn’t notice the constant honking and construction of the busy city streets.   Or a mother who is able to function with screaming children in the background.

 The Essential Noise of Human Movementimages

If we take this one step further, we can also apply this concept to human movement and
the demands of our nervous system to maintain dynamic balance and postural control during walking.

In the case of human movement the “noise” that enters the nervous system would be proprioceptive information such as vibration, joint capsule stretch, texture, tension etc.   This proprioceptive noise is essential for proper activation of muscle sequences and time to stabilization for efficient loading and unloading of impact forces.

The Foot is the Gateway to Essential Noise

feet-black-and-white-toes-close-upWith the foot as the only contact point between the body and the ground – much of this “noise” enters our nervous system through the feet.   If this foot “noise” is tuned out or unable to be sensed by the nervous system inaccurate movement patterns and delayed time to stabilization (i.e. injury) is the result.

One of the biggest causes or reasons for the inability to sense the essential noise of human movement is footwear.   Thick, cushioned, supportive footwear with smooth insoles completely “tunes out” the foot during dynamic movement.

The cushion in shoes absorbs the vibration noise during foot contact.   Smooth insoles and socks block the skin stretch and texture perception during locomotion.   And thick soles shift proprioceptive feedback away from the foot and into muscle tendon reflexes – which are large nerve, reactive, slower responses.

 Textured Insoles Tune the Foot to NoiseIMG_1918

This April 2017 Naboso Technology will be launching small nerve proprioceptive insoles
which are designed to continuously provide the essential noise of the foot during dynamic movement.  This better allows the nervous system to auto-adjust with each shift in center of gravity or with each foot contact with the ground.

A 2015 study by Lipsitz  et al. found that using low grade vibratory insoles providing sub sensory “noise” improved postural control and reduced gait variability in seniors.     Another study by David et al. further explored the role of textural “noise” of insoles and the role the had on ankle proprioception in male soccer players.   Interestingly, those subjects with textured insoles reported faster ankle joint position sense and higher force production.

“Tune In” with Barefoot Training Every Day

Another great way to keep the foot “tuned in” to stimulation is to integrate barefoot stimulation on a daily basis.  This means no socks.   No shoes.   No soft squishy mats.

Barefoot stimulation enhances the proprioceptors on the feet – keeping them sharp, responsive and functioning as an integrated part of your natural movement.

To learn more about the Naboso Barefoot Insoles please visit www.nabosotechnology.com

To join our mailing list to be alerted of Pre-Order Options for Naboso Barefoot Insoles please email orders@nabosotechnology.com or follow us on social media!

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Stay #barefootstrong!

Dr Emily

 

Bibliography

David et al.  ‘‘Essential noise’’ – enhancing variability of informational constraints benefits movement control:  Br J Sports Med 2004;38:601–605

Lipsitz et al.  A shoe insole delivering subsensory vibratory noise improves balance and gait in healthy elderly people.Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Mar;96(3):432-9

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Barefoot Science, Foot Function & Fascial Lines Series

Time To Stabilization & Athlete Injury Risk

dancerA majority of my podiatry practice is built around treating athletes and chronic athletic injuries.   From professional dancers to marathon runners all athletes – regardless of sport or art – require the same thing – rapid stabilization for optimal loading and energy transfer.  

Why is rapid stabilization so important? 

During dynamic movement such as walking, running or jumping the ability to rapidly load and unload impact forces requires a baseline of stabilization.   With a rate of impact forces coming in at < 50 ms during walking and < 20 ms during running it is no wonder the rate of stabilization must be fast!

To put this a little bit more in perspective.   Our fast twitch muscle fibers don’t reach their  peak contraction till about 50 – 70ms.   So if impact is coming in at rate < 20 ms during running and your hip / knee / ankle and foot are not already stable before you strike the ground – it is too late!     It physiologically is not possible to react to impact and stabilize fast enough.

A client or athlete who is reacting to impact forces will often present with ITB syndrome, runner’s knee, peroneal tendinitis, stress fractures, shin splints – and that’s just naming a few!

Considering Time to Stabilization (TTS)

In my workshops I often say that “we are only as strong as we are stable” or that “stabilityacle is the foundation through which strength, force and energy is generated or transferred”.

The precision, accuracy and anticipation of stabilization must be so well programmed into the nervous system that peak stability is happening before contact with the ground.   This is referred to pre-activation and is associated with a faster TTS.

The opposite of pre-activation stabilization is reactive stabilization and is how many – if not most – of my patients or people in general are moving.   When we think of the rate of neuromuscular coordination even a small delay (think milliseconds) will result in tonic (exaggerated) muscle contractions, micro-instability and inefficient loading responses eventually leading to neuromuscular and connective tissue fatigue and injury.

So how can you improve client and athlete TTS?

1. Pre-activate base to center stabilization pathways aka foot to core sequencing

This is THE basis to EBFA Certifications Barefoot Training Specialist and BarefootRx.   With our feet as our base the activation and engagement of our feet to the ground is key to center or core stabilization.    Fascially the feet and core are connected through the Deep Front Line and must be integrated and sequenced as part of a proper warm-up or movement prep.

To learn more about foot to core sequencing please view HERE

2. Consider surface science to optimize foot feedback

All surfaces are designed differently with certain surfaces actually blocking and damping IMG_1753the critical proprioceptive input between foot and ground.    When we think of softer surfaces and mats research has shown a direct correlation between softer surfaces and delayed / prolonged loading responses.

Harder surfaces.  Surfaces that allow the transmission of vibration.  And surfaces with textures allow more accurate and precise proprioceptive input.   Thus led to the innovation of Naboso Technology by EBFA Founder Dr Emily Splichal

Ideally if Step 1 – pre-activation of our stabilization pathway could be done on a Naboso surface this would be ideal.    More information can be found at www.nabosotechnology.com

3. Footwear to allows optimal feedback and foot function

If follow Step 1 & 2  and activate the neuromuscular system barefoot and from the ground up we then want to ensure this carries over as soon as we put on our shoes and begin our sport or activity.

Imagine if you activate the proper neuro pathways but then put your client into a thick cushioned shoe.  This essentially shuts off and defeats the purpose of Step 1 & 2.   We need IMG_1767to ensure a proper shoe is worn to allow this carry over into sport.    So think flexible, minimal cushioning. possible textured insoles (check out Naboso Insoles launching Spring 2017)

Additional ways to begin to train pre-activation training and shortening the TTS is covered in our EBFA Certifications.    From the ground up landing techniques, foot to core sequencing, single leg decelerations + more are critical to injury prevention and optimal performance.

To learn more about EBFAs Certifications and workshops coming up near you please visit www.ebfafitness.com     Our workshops can be found in over 30 countries and taught in over 12 languages.

Isn’t it time for your clients and athletes to become BAREFOOT STRONG!

 

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