What is the Human Spring Approach?
The developer and founder of the Human Spring approach is Dr James Stoxen from Chicago Illinois USA. He has integrated his 25+ years of knowledge and experience to come up with the Human Spring Approach.
In short this approach starts with viewing the body, particularly the foot and leg as a spring. Similar to a spring, when stretched, it recoils and bounces back to its original shape and length. The configuration of the foot bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles make it work just like a spring. Previous theories described that foot biomechanics worked purely like a system of levers and pivots, however, new technologies developed by Dr James Stoxen have help to clarify that the foot and lower limbs actually work more like a spring and a lever. His tailor made graphics clearly show the rationale behind the Human Spring Approach.
Since 2006 John Petrozzi has been trained in this unique approach directly by Dr James Stoxen. John is currently the only practitioner in Australia trained in this approach and is available for consultations and treatments at the centre.
Make an appointment or learn more about the treatment by calling 02 9518 0096.
Below are some video’s that will help you to discover the Human Spring Approach and how it may be able to help you.
Video Tutorial #12 Is Running Bad For Your Knees? How Does The Body Spring Back Safely From Impacts Of Running and Walking?
Running involves impacts.
They say impacts are bad for our joints.
Does that mean that running is bad for us?
They recommend walking instead.
Did you know?
- A 150 pound man has 1.25 x bodyweight impact force during walking or about 187.5 pounds of force depending on speed of walking?
- A 150 pound man has 3x bodyweight impact forces or around 450 pounds of force per impact depending on speed?
- The average 150 pound person endures approximately 3,650,000 impacts or collisions with the ground of 187.5 pounds resisting 684,375,000 pounds of impact forces into their body a year walking?
- The average runner that runs 15 miles a week has only 351,000,000 pounds of impacts a year running the 15 miles a week?
Does walking every day effect our knees more than running?
The numbers say it does.. And, walking involves impacts just like running.
Next thing you know, they will tell us walking is bad for our joints too.
How does the body absorb or spring back from the impacts of walking, running and the performance of sports such as plyometrics?
The answer: The human body is a marvel of human spring engineering.
Arch Leaf Spring Down
This spring mechanism has a leaf spring (which absorbs impact without muscle contraction) it is suspended by the spring suspension system muscles.
1. The Arch Leaf Spring – There have been studies on the arch with all muscles removed leaving just the bones and ligaments. These were extracted from cadavers. What the study showed was that the arch complex it’self has the ability to spring back forces without the aid of the muscles.
2. The Spring Suspension System Muscles – Dr Stoxen coined these muscles as the spring suspension system muscles, the landing muscles or the pronation-supination cuff muscles. I identified this new medical terminology myself in order to better explain the function of this area.
I did not like the way it was explained in the text books and scientific literature because it confuses people so much that they give up trying to understand how it works. That is where you just give in to whatever anyone says and you become a victim or drone to whoever is directing you.
Supportive Cuff Muscles
Human Spring Suspension System in Action
How is the body engineered to take up impact forces of 270,000,000 collisions in our lifetime?
Does it take up impact forces as a lever as they see it, or as a lever and a spring as I see it?
I see the body as a human spring while other doctors and scientists see it as a lever. I will prove that the body is not a lever in this post with common sense reasoning, something not so common in medicine.
The first step in our understanding of the human spring is to understand how the arch works through the muscles and tendons that attach to it and control it. I call these, the spring suspension system muscles!
As you can see from the video above, there is a tendon that appears through the medial aspect of the ankle. That tendon has strategic attachments at the first and second metatarsal cuneiform joint. The name of this muscle is the tibialis posterior.
The muscle loops around the medial malleolus and attaches on the posterior fibula. (see the picture below)
Spring Suspension Muscles
It’s interesting that we don’t have any exercise machines or exercises to develop this muscle in the gym. It’s what I call the missing training routine!
AKA Pronator/Supinator Cuff Muscles
The tibialis posterior, peroneus longus and brevis form the pronator/supinator cuff. Like the rotator cuff, these muscles stabilize the foot and ankle in the “safe range” between the rolling of the impact force from supination to pronation (inside to outside)
Doctors Argue About What Over Pronation Is And What Causes Over Pronation
So many medical specialists talk about over pronation, over supination, being a pronator or a supinator and within their own profession they argue about what it is and what causes it. This is the core of what causes the majority of conditions in the foot and ankle and what runners focus on when they buy shoes (braces)
When any bone or bony complex (like the foot and ankle) moves out of the safe range of motion it is ALWAYS because of a weakness in the muscle or muscle group that controls this movement or stabilizes this bony complex.
Introducing… The Rotator Cuff of the Shoulder
At one time we did not know what caused instability of the shoulder girdle. There was a time when we did not have awareness of the important supportive function of the rotator cuff to stabilize the shoulder so the primary movers could do their work without injuring the shoulder.
Introducing… The Pronator/Supinator Cuff of the Foot and Ankle
So, if you want to know why your foot and ankle rolls out of the safe range just look at the muscles which are responsible for this movement and you solved the riddle. I made this determination based on solid training principles because I wasn’t TOLD or INSTRUCTED on what caused it based on some text book.
How do the Pronator/Supinator Cuff AKA the Spring Suspension System Muscles Work?
I will teach you how these muscles work and show you innovative exercises that I have found and developed that you can use to improve your ability to spring back from the various impact forces of landing such as:
- walking (1.25 x bodyweight)
- running (3x bodyweight)
- plyometrics (3-5x+ bodyweight)
The body springs off the ground when it’s working the way it’s designed. The natural spring mechanism occurs at the arch and transfers it’s protection and spring energy through the 7 floors of the human spring.
The body is a giant spring with 7 floors of springs:
- The arch
- The subtalar joint
- The ankle mortise
- The knee
- The hip
- The spine
- The head-neck
There are two mechanisms that allow spring to happen at floor one:
- The configuration of the arch with the 26 bones and the ligament attachments.
- The spring suspension system which is composed of the muscles and tendons that attach on the under surface of the arch.
In the walking or running game, whether you are running for weight loss, running to prepare for a 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon or running for your life, the key to this game is successfully absorbing each impact.
Regardless if you use Chi running, pose running or human spring running, the key to avoiding abnormal movement patterns from a weak or locked human spring that cannot effectively absorb impacts is to have NO spasms or locking of the joint play in the entire spring mechanism and a strong spring suspension system for this three dimensional structure.
Spasms in the muscles that cross a joint or two joints cause the joints to become compressed and when we apply this understanding to the human spring model, spasms cause a preload internal compressive force on the human spring. This preload internal compressive force reduces the overall force of impact capacity you can load into the spring mechanism.
- When your spring mechanism gets weak your spring mechanism collapses into a lever mechanism.
- When it collapses, the brain senses the abnormal movement patterns of walking as a lever and tries to protect you from the stress and strain by tripping spasms.
- Spasms compress the spring further.
Could you see how a weakness, stiffening and or locking of the human spring mechanism could cause widespread chronic pain, chronic fatigue, misdiagnosed fibromyalgia and inflammatory diseases of aging?
That is what happened to Anthony Field. You know the Wiggle guy?
Field, the creator and a founding member of the world’s most successful musical groups for young children, The Wiggles, was handicapped by chronic pain, chronic fatigue, misdiagnosed fibromyalgia and depression during his 20 years on the road. I am proud to say, I was able to assist him.
Read his story of triumph over chronic illness in his book, ‘How I Got My Wiggle Back’, which covers our consultation in detail and provides a comprehensive, plain-English explanation of how he was helped with the human spring approach, and the results, that changed his life. You can order the book from Amazon.com
What about you? If you are having these spasms what should you do?
It is critical for you, your coach and your doctor to:
- Understand what causes these spasms like abnormal movement patterns
- How to check for them like gait evaluations and hands on deep tissue palpation
- Learn how to remove spasms that compress the human spring (joints) to insure there is no internal compressive force preloading the mechanism. This is done with muscle spindle work and other hands on treatments.
I developed a 3 step approach to enhancing spring loading capacity:
- Release the compressive forces on the human spring
- Strengthen the spring suspension system muscles
- Impact train the spring suspension system
This three step approach will help you expand the force loading capacity of your human spring to better spring off from impacts, to have maximum performance and reduce risk of injury.
What does the human spring suspension system muscles do?
The human spring suspension system muscles help you spring off the ground.
What if the spring suspension system is weak, fatigued or locked?
Or what if we didn’t read the owner’s manual that came with our pogo stick, I mean human spring mechanism?
To help you learn more read the two posts below:
Do you know how to walk and run the right way so you don’t damage your joints?
Bang and Twist Walking VS Spring Roll Walking
When you are not springing off the ground then you bang into the ground (foot plant) and twist off the ground (toe off) when you walk, jog, run or participate in sports or leisure activities.
Obviously springing off the ground provides better protection from impacts and allows for a more efficient recycling of energy through this natural spring mechanism.
What you need to do is study the engineering in detail so you can develop the best treatment, training and maintenance for your human spring.
Is that what you do?
What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed? Michelangelo
So many are looking for the best shoes for running, when they should be looking for the best preparation of the body for running.
Dr James Stoxen DC
That sounds logical, doesn’t it?
Most of you will focus most of your time looking for shoes!
How do I know?
I did a Google search for key words of barefoot running and found a few million people searching for shoes and now the barefoot shoes i.e. the fivefingers, 5 fingers, vibrams and about 2500 people searching for the best technique for barefoot running.
That means your focus on being able to run for life is what brace is best for your weak foot and what cushion to use because your spring suspension system muscles aren’t trained, right?
I spend ZERO time looking for the brace (shoes)
That is because I spent all my time studying what conditioning is right to build a strong spring suspension system so I didn’t have to wear braces on my feet (shoes)
Do you only do bench press when you go to the gym?
Do you only run in straight paths when you run?
Do you wear braces on your elbows when you bench?
Why do you need cushions and braces on your feet when you run?
Why does grandma need:
- Orthopedic Shoes
- A cane
- A walker
- A wheelchair
- A hospital bed
The doctors said her muscles could no longer support her.
Maybe it’s a good idea to learn how to condition your spring suspension system muscles of your body for impacts instead of looking for the next brace?
So, before you get up and running, you are going to want to learn about the engineering of the human spring and specifically what the spring suspension system muscles are and how they assist you in springing off impacts safely.
As you know I also refer to them as the landing muscles, the pronation supination cuff or the arch foot and ankle sling muscles, as one famous doctor from Bangkok, Thailand called them.
Most of you work on your “take off” muscles yet the “landing muscles” are hardly EVER exercised because so few even know they exist!
Don’t you think that if you put a bigger, more powerful and heavier engine on a plane that it would fly faster? You might want to put a stronger landing gear on the plane too?
With this simple logic, why are so many of you training the take off muscles and completely neglecting the landing muscles?
No wonder you have so many impact related injuries like plantar fasciitis, heel pain, stress fractures, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain and herniated discs!
So many people are told that impacts are bad for you in running.
That is just wrong!
Impacts are only bad for you if your human spring mechanism cannot handle the force of the impact safely!Period!
There are millions of people that have been running for decades with millions of impacts that are without any musculoskeletal pain.
In the book, ‘Born To Run’, written by Christopher McDougall, he tells the story about the Tarahumara Indians and how these old indians ran for miles in the mountains for decades with minimal footwear.
So what’s the difference between you and them?
The idea that you have to have cushioned footwear to absorb the force of the impacts doesn’t really make sense, unless the impact resistance mechanism, the spring suspension system muscles and mechanism cannot handle the impacts.
So if your doctor, your coach and your conscience told you that you needed a cushion between yourself and the earth to absorb the impacts I guess what they were really saying was YOUR spring suspension system muscles and joints are not healthy enough to take the impacts but other peoples are.
Did you ever see the old 70′s commercial for Chiffon Margarine where this company made a scientifically designed butter like substance called margarine and tricked Mother Nature into thinking it was better than butter? She wasn’t happy!
Whoops! Let’s get back to the logical explanation!
Is the human body a lever or a spring?
The first thing we have to determine is what the human body is in the world of physics so we can better understand the model of the object that has to collide with the earth 100,000,000 times before our 30th birthday.
There is a fundamental difference between the way I see the human body and the way most other doctors and scientists see the human body.
I say that the body works as a lever and a spring.
Most doctors and scientists say the human body ONLY works as a lever system
I think it is because they still memorized the old text book instead of observing how it truly works to protect us from impacts.
I also think that maybe it’s because the spring mechanisms of the patients that levered into their clinic with pain already had their spring mechanism lock up before they walked into the office. When they observed them it was while they were limping into their offices with their levers so they could sit or lay down during the examination of their locked levers.
Many just recite “the body acts as a rigid lever at take off”.
You can tell when they talk like that there is no independent thinking.
Why is the body NEVER a rigid lever during running or walking?
When the body is working the way it was designed.
When the foot lands on the ground it rolls from the outside to the inside called rolling from supination to pronation.
Safe range/supination to pronation
At the same time it is loading from the force of the landing like lowering a weight on the bench press.
With all that rolling and loading in a three dimensional plane across 33 movable joints it never becomes a rigid lever! It’s just impossible to think that can happen with a rolling loading bag of 26 moving bones.
For me, with my experience studying impacts in sports such as running,jumping and plyometrics, I find it ridiculous to think that the body absorbs these incredible impacts with levers.
How can a lever protect two objects (earth and human) that predictably will collide over 250,000,000 times in a lifetime?
Let’s see… this object will collide with the earth 250 million times so let’s design it as a lever.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
It doesn’t make sense!
Is it just me or do you think it’s hard to imagine that we can launch our 150 pound bodies against 450 pounds of impact resistance force for over 26,000 consecutive impacts with ultimate efficiency as a lever system.
If you believe what you are saying, then you are saying that is the way you launch your body against this 450 pounds of resistance or approximately 11,700,000 pounds of work load!
The same person can’t do 200 calf raises (working as a true lever) amounting to 30,000 pounds of work.
Here are the exact formulas:
- 26,000 impacts/26 miles
- M x A = F (M)150 pounds x (A)3 = 450 pounds force per impact
- 450 x 26,000 = 11,700,000 pounds of impact over the course of that marathon
- 150 pounds x 200 total calf raise reps before exhaustion = 30,000 pounds of work
Why do we become exhausted at 30,000 pounds of work during calf raises (working as a true lever) but can run 26.2 miles for 26,000 impacts of 450 pounds of force amounting to 11,700,000 pounds of work?
- The body works as a lever mechanism when doing calf raises.
- The body works as a spring mechanism when running.
It’s obvious which one is more efficient!
Do doctors and scientists disagree with me?
You wouldn’t think so but they still hold on to this lever model!
OK OK the body does work as a lever and a spring.
Does that make you happy?
In my opinion, the body does move at as a lever system such as when we are going up on our toes, walking up stairs, doing raises, but it also functions as a spring mechanism when we are walking, jogging, running, and participating in sports activities.
If we look at the body as a spring mechanism we have more effective ways of treating and training the body than as a lever.
Also looking at the body as a spring mechanism helps us explain many mysteries that baffle doctors and you.
Like…. CHRONIC PAIN – The body bangs and twists into the ground 10,000 steps a day (walking) rather than springs off the ground so it cannot protect itself from the impacts resulting on an assault on the muscles and joints.
Maybe that is why my plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain and herniated disc won’t heal!
Like… CHRONIC FATIGUE – The body bangs and twists into the ground 10,000 times a day (walking) rather than the more efficient way of ambulation, springing the mass off the ground. (Some have estimated that 25-60 percent of the energy is recycled through this spring action)
Force of Impact/Energy Stored and Released
The human body abides by the Hooke’s Law of Physics
Hooke’s Law applies to spring mechanics. It does not apply to lever mechanics. Read this article I wrote about Hooke’s law and foot spring mechanisms.
When you think about impacts there is a force that impacts your body on each landing. If we understand how this force absorbs into our body safely then we can look at those structures that absorb the force and release them, strengthen them and supercharge them for optimum performance.
Then we can run barefoot because we won’t need an artificial cushion to do what our human spring is designed to do for us!
Why don’t doctors and scientists let go of the lever model for the more accurate spring model of evaluating, treating, training and maintaining the human body?
Why do they still hang on to the lever model if it doesn’t make sense?
They can’t prove it is a spring by EMG testing because EMGs don’t measure the spring of tendons and connective tissue complexes (the arch)
Most of the muscles that control the safe rolling of the foot from supination (outside) to pronation (inside) and the spring action of the foot originate outside the foot on the calf. They become tendons in the foot.
The muscles have strategic attachments at the underside of the foot where the spring action occurs but they originate in the calf.(See the illustration below)
Spring Suspension System Muscles Bottom
Scientists do gait studies to determine what muscles are used during walking or running. They use EMG testing, which measures muscle activity. These electrodes are either on the surface of your skin or inserted into the muscle like a needle. OUCH!
The problem with measuring the body with this method is that it doesn’t measure for the elastic recoil of the tendons (spring) and that is a very important component of how our body protects itself as a spring and how it recycles energy during walking and running!
This represents a huge amount of work performed by the body, which provides FREE ENERGY to the body through this spring action.
How can you measure tendon recoil when you are testing for electrical activity of muscle contraction?
So when they’re using the EMG to study about how muscles work during impacts such as walking or running they think we run by using the foot as a lever to PUSH it forward when we all know the body SPRINGS the mass forward.
This is only part of the big picture.
Locked Spring and Spring Walking
Spring Suspension System Muscles
Spring Suspension system muscles
So what do they account for the inability to measure for arch recoil and tendon recoil?
Because they can’t accurately understand how it propels it’self so many studies just model the human foot as a solid lever unit, as if your foot that was stuck in a freezer, a solid lever mechanism.
This is obviously, not an accurate way to describe the foot during it’s role in absorbing impacts from running or walking.
Also when your body is functioning correctly the foot is a very wiggly, springy mechanism when all 33 joints are moving according to way they are designed like in the children’s foot.
Unfortunately, when doctors see patients, they are injured. No one gets their feet examined when they are pain free. If they already have had an injury then the body has already created muscle spasms to protect it which stiffen or lock it up like a lever.
Is your foot springy when it’s injured or in pain? NO!
I have been a guest doctor at track and field championships examining healthy springy feet and evaluated the springiness of the feet of every patient that comes in my office.
Coaches, trainers and managers send me athletes and entertainers to tune them up to improve their performance. They do not have any injuries. I evaluate them head to toe nail to see what areas we can release to increase their spring performance. I know what a springy, fully released human foot is supposed to feel like.
I work 10 – 30 hours on stiff or locked feet to remove preloaded compression forces by deep tissuing out every single spasm and releasing every single joint to maximize the ability of the foot to load impact forces into a spring mechanism safely. When I’m done, the feet feel much different than they did when they started. More springy!
Imagine how springy your feet and legs would feel if a deep tissue specialist worked 30 hours releasing the tension and spasms on your lower body!
Read why I feel that African Track Athletes Have More Spring – Lessons Learned from the 5th All African Track and Field Championships, click here to view
There is a huge difference in the springiness of the foot of a patient with a plantar fasciitis, bunions, chronic knee pain and or herniated disc that hasn’t healed.
Why do I know? I’ve been working on thousands of feet with my hands for 25 years, 6-7 days a week a minimum of 10 hours a day.
Feet that have stiff muscles around them or have locked joints function as a lever mechanism so they cannot absorb the force of the landing as effectively.
To think any differently violates the laws of physics!
Let’s see… A stiff foot or a springy foot…
Which one is going to bang on impact?
In the examination of the walk you often see the calf muscle shake on impact with a patient whose foot is locked.
That tells you right away there is no spring in that step!
If you have plantar fasciitis, foot or heel pain, heel spurs, calf pain or swelling, shin splints, knee pain, hip pain or back pain, walk barefooted (shorts too) towards a camera and away from it fast. When you look at the video watch to see if your calves shake. You might be amazed! I did a post on you might like titled, Foot Lock! What You Get From Standing Too Long And How To Prevent It, click here to view
In order to absorb millions of impacts it must be designed as a spring mechanism.
When the Spring Mechanism Breaks Down it Becomes a Lever Mechanism
What about the studies? Are there any studies that prove what you say?
Almost every gait study done in America or anywhere except a third world country will provide inaccurate data that will confuse you into thinking that the human body moves, protects you from impacts and recycles energy as a lever mechanism rather than a spring mechanism.
How can I say that?
If a scientist selects a study group from people who have worn shoes for 20-30 years then the human spring mechanism has been tampered with extensively and therefore the results and interpretations and conclusions from these studies are not as helpful to prove the body is a spring vs a lever when it is working right!
Imagine if we were doing a study of elbow movement and decided to use a student who had a brace on his elbow for 20 years and another who did not have any braces on the elbow his whole life.
Are they going to have different elbows with different movement patterns and strengths? Of course they are! Logic!
One would have to study how normal healthy children walk who have never worn shoes or habitually barefoot subjects from some third world country would have to be selected.
The other problem with the way gait is studied is, the subjects are commonly selected who are pain free. That doesn’t mean there isn’t already substantial plastic deformities and locking of the spring mechanism represented by a locking of any one or many of the 33 joints of your 26 bones of your foot.
People have advanced bunion deformities that are painless that obviously effect impact resistance. The reason why these deformities happen without frank pain is because we take about 50,000,000 impacts into each foot by our 30th birthday. Even subtle abnormal loading position of the foot can cause a lot of deformity in that many impacts.
Did someone qualified to evaluate for the joint motion of all 33 joints check these subjects before they were included in the research?
You rarely see a doctor do motion palpation of each individual joint of the foot to make sure they are all moving according to the way they were designed even when the patient has a condition like plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, heel pain, bunions, calf cramps and the list of spring compressive conditions goes on up the floors of the
In fact I once had a doctor question me when I suggested that the most commonly locked joint of the foot was the second and third metatarsal cuneiform joint.
He suggested it wasn’t supposed to move because it was a saddle joint.
If it is a joint then it is supposed to move! What are you talking about?
Why would the joint be there if there was no movement needed there?
I guess if he believed it was not supposed to move he wouldn’t have to examine the joint for movement there. If he believed there was no movement there in the mid arch then he would not feel so guilty locking the arch up with an orthotic from the bottom and the shoe from the top.
Why do we have joints?
To protect us from impacts!
How do we check for joint play in a joint?
I was not taught how to evaluate for loss of joint play in a joint and for abnormal movements in the spine for all my years in Chiropractic College. I had one (2 credit) class on examining and adjusting the extremities such as the foot and ankle but there was not so much emphasis on it as I put on it now.
I make sure there is no restriction on any joint from the tip of the head to the toe nails on every patient.
I learned how to evaluate for restrictions on the joint play affecting the ability of the body to load the forces of the impact into the spring mechanism by absolute necessity.
My first patient started off the education process of human spring!
My very first patient was power lifter, Ed Coan, as described as “the greatest power lifter in the history of the sport“…
He was attempting to break world records in power lifting by lifting close to 1000 pounds. (Watch video below)
Out of necessity it was imperative that I remove every single restrictive spasm from his spring mechanism to ensure that he could load the maximum amount of force of lift load into his human spring.
For more information on The Ed Coan Story – What I Learned from the Strongest Man in the World, click here
If the doctor doesn’t even have the skill set to be able to evaluate the joint play in all 33 joints of the human foot and after that if he cannot manipulate these joints then he can’t understand how the locked joints behave differently when it is in fact released. He has nothing to compare.
I can tell you that when you release the mid foot locking and the metatarsal cunieform joints of the foot, there is a loud cracking noise from the release of the fixation.
Watch the video below of me resetting the talus in the ankle mortise.
The sound of the release of the locking of this joint may startle you!
Many patients say afterwards it feels more bouncy or springy when I walk.
It just makes sense!
Safe and Unsafe Range
Whenever the foot rolls out of the safe range into a over pronation position, the ankle joint is affected. This over rolling stresses the ankle joint and many times the talus bone which is like a ball bearing of the foot, jams into the joint above called the ankle mortise formed by the extension of the tibia and fibula.
When I trained for 3 months running barefoot in zig-zag patterns I noticed a huge improvement in my foot-ankle alignment. If I tried to over pronate, my pronation/supination cuff muscles would immediately “snap” my foot back into the safe range! I have noticed the differences in my patients as well.
Why use a brace like an orthotic or motion control shoe when you can train your body to correct its own alignment?
How can you treat a patient with a knee cap misalignment in the trochlear groove which is essentially a pulley mechanism without addressing the ability of the foot to plant without torquing the tibia and fibula out of alignment with the knee cap? Think logic
To read more about Cracking Achy Knee Pain or Chondromalacia Patella – Treatment and Prevention Tips from The Barefoot Running Doctor, click here
When you look at it, it looks like a saddle on a horse’s back.
When I make adjustments of the talus that is jammed in the medial aspect of the ankle mortise, the release of this joint makes a very loud audible crack or release. Here is a video of me below releasing a talus joint locking.
How else does this “locking” of the many joints of the human foot affect movement and development?
If muscles pull against the joints they must be moving for the muscle to get full contraction and full development.
This is obvious!
Just think of how much development you’d get from your bicep during a curl if your elbow was completely locked.
The lever system model claims that the body becomes a rigid lever as if it’s some kind of stiff unit when it pushes off.
If that was true, then the forces of the impacts of between 300 – 800 pounds would literally destroy the cartilages in a short time and end plates of your bones if it became a solid unit.
I contend that during running for sure that the foot is never a 180 lb solid unit unless it’s locked or frozen.
But if it’s working right it’s in a constant elastic deformation process, constantly moving the load across the ever-changing deforming structure that protects you from this impact forces and stores energy only to release it for maximum efficiency.
It’s ridiculous to think that it’s okay to have joints locked up and that it won’t affect the development of the muscles control the landing and absorption of impact forces. If you don’t check for the joint play in these important joints then you may be missing something very crucial in the treatment of the patient!
As I said many times the primary landing muscles, the spring suspension system muscles that load the force of the impact into the spring mechanism and release the energy or unload the forced back into the mechanism I refer to as the spring suspension system muscles.
You won’t find that word or concept in any book or taught at any school because I coined the muscle group to fit the human spring model because it was not possible to explain what was available in the human lever model.
The muscles that absorb the forces of the impact are the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior, peroneus longus and peroneus brevis and a few others up the floors 1-7.
The impacts are also absorbed from other muscles such as the soleus however we are always developing those muscles. Exercise is needed to supplement what we are NOT exercising in our daily lives.
The Foot/Spring Engineering
To think that the body is a solid lever during walking or running is not as logical as the human body modeled as a human spring.
Dr James Stoxen DC
From my clinical experience, the majority of the people who have injuries from running such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, heel pain, torn cartilage in the knees, hip pain and herniated discs are because the spring mechanism can’t effectively absorb the impact into the spring.
Because the human spring is preloaded with compressive force from muscle spasms and locking of joint play there is no room to load all the impact force.
Because of that, the impact is absorbed into the tissues as chronic stress and strain, wear and tear inflammation and pain called degenerative joint disease during running or simple walking.
Then you have the acute injury resulting from an acute overload of the force of impact into the compression spring, the vertebral disc, which is really a plastic deformity.
I explain elastic vs plastic deformity in depth in Video Tutorial #143 What I Learned From Studying Javier Sotomeyer Technique About Improved Performance and Reducing Injury Risk, click here to view
In the knee we call it torn cartilage. In the foot or shin or tibia bone we call it stress fractures. When the preload compression force overloads the compression spring of the lower back it causes a plastic deformity of the disc or a herniated disc. If the overload is severe acute with no room to absorb the forces into the mechanism you can have a fracture or fractures.
Damage to ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bones or discs occurs when the force of the impact exceeds a spring mechanism’s capacity to store the impacts either over time as a plantar fascitis shin splint, heel spur or cartilage wear or instantly as a herniated or bulging disc.
The spring suspension systems muscles help absorb impacts.
All joints that are involved in absorbing these impacts must be moving.
If the joints don’t move where the tendons attach then the tendons cannot pull against these joints. That makes it impossible to get full impact force into these joints and it’s also impossible to get full positive adaptation leading to maximum development of the muscles, tendons and connective tissue of joints.
The body does not only use muscles to propel. The arch would spring back impacts even without the muscles just by its very design.
The arch configuration is 26 joints wrapped by ligaments and this connective tissue that forms a springy bow or leaf spring, that adds impact resistance and free energy to impact activities such as walking, running and the performance of sports.
Footwear alters movement patterns in the foot and most footwear binds, deforms or reverses the human spring mechanism.
A few doctors and academics have argued with me that there is no scientific proof that shoes binds or restrict movement in the foot.
I agree that assumptions must be based on peer review literature, however I do not need peer review studies to tell me that a shoe that I wrap around the foot and lace tightly does not alter the movement in any way in the foot or the joints above.
People who talk like this either work as consultants for footwear companies or will wait for 30 years for 10 studies to say it does while thousands of patients have rapidly deteriorating health because they are treated the opposite of what is best for them in the long run.
Meanwhile they wait for someone to do a study that tells them what they already know.
It is obvious that footwear binds the foot and alters the natural movement of the foot to some degree. Each style of footwear and the size of the shoe etc. determine how much it binds the foot. If it did not bind in some way it could not stay on your foot.
Do you think you can attain full range of motion in adduction, abduction, inversion and eversion of the foot with a shoe on? No way.
How can a body part attain full range of motion in abduction, abduction, inversion, eversion, supination and pronation when there is a piece of leather wrapped tightly around it?
This is where they contradict themselves!
On one hand, footwear companies and doctors say that you have to wear shoes to support the foot which means that it’s applying a pressure to the foot to provide the support.
So just by saying that it supports a foot you are admitting it affects the movement of the foot, period!
I’ve had arguments with other doctors in forums where they say show me the proof that the shoe inhibits the movement of the foot. Then in another forum topic they will say that the shoe supports the foot and therefore it’s an important item to wear when you’re running because your body can’t absorb the force of the impact as a lever.
They contradict themselves!
If shoes give an athlete a competitive advantage then isn’t that a form of cheating?
No athletes train with wraps or braces if they KNOW they give them a lift or advantage because they KNOW this takes away from the positive adaptation they need to get stronger.
Do you tell your friend to lift the bar off you at 3/4 way up or grunt out that last rep yourself?
When lifting you could injure yourself so why not wear a brace on every joint of your body? I’m sure some doctor could convince you this is a good idea!
I remember in the early 80s, I was the doctor for the American Power lifting Federation for six years, 1986 to 1992.
To hear more about the beginning of power lifting in the Soviet Union watch Historic First Sports Medicine Course In Russia – Sports Chiropractic Journal – August 1989, click here to view
At that time these new bench shirts were coming out. What they were was a T-shirt that was made from a very tight fitting elastic nylon material which protracted your shoulders into the extreme negative position related to the bench press.
Watch this video to see an example of how a bench shirt was used, Johnnie Jackson puts on bench shirt at 2008 USPF Nationals
When athletes would load the weight on their bench, they lowered the weight into the muscles and tendons and at the bottom of the bench shirt it stretched and helped them to propel or push the weight up off the bench which added about 40 pounds to their maximum bench press.
You’re wondering how they got away with that!
They made claims that the bench shirt was developed that way to prevent injuries during the bench.
Doesn’t that sound familiar?
The difference is that the athletes were smart enough about principles of training never to train with the bench shirt. WHY? If it helps you to do the bench press BY LESSING THE STRESS ON THE JOINTS AND MUSCLES then you are not allowing your body to adapt to the weight and get stronger!
They just put the bench shirt on a week before the competition to make sure it fit right then ONLY used it to try to get some extra boost to win the competition or break a record.
Was the record legitimate? Not to me!
If you cannot get full range of motion on the joints of the foot with a shoe on, then you cannot get full adaptation.
Test your foot motion with and without a shoe in full inversion, eversion, adduction, abduction, pronation and supination motions and I guarantee you will feel the shoe material restricting you because the sole is a stiff unit that prevents the full range of motion in movements. Listed below are two exercise posts that you can do to try testing your foot:
- Video Tutorial #105 Foot Eversion Exercise,click here to watch
- Video Tutorial #106 Foot Inversion Exercise, click here to watch
I guarantee you you’re not going to get the same range of motion as if you’re training barefoot.
You cannot get the same adaptation running with shoes as barefoot! Period.
So how do you think you’re going to develop these landing muscles to best absorb impacts when you’re running with shoes?
If your body is a perfect spring, capable of absorbing impacts why are you running with a binding device that has a cushion to absorb the impacts your own body is capable of absorbing?
- Did some shoe company brainwash you with their Madison Street advertisement?
- Are you afraid? You could run barefoot as a child but you are more afraid as an adult than when you were a child? Be brave…
- Is it because you don’t have anyone to release the 33 joints of your feet?
- Is it because you don’t want to do the strengthening drills to strengthen your suspension system landing muscles?
- Is it because you want to wear shoes that match your outfit?
- Is it because you don’t want to work on your form and technique and think the shoe will make up for your form breaks and weaknesses?
Millions of people run distances barefoot around the world…..
Check out the Barefoot Runners Society and find a chapter near you. Here..
Watch this video below of former Olympic track world record holder, Zola Budd, who, in less than three years, twice broke the world record in the women’s 5000 metres and twice was the women’s winner at the World Cross Country Championships. She mainly trained and raced with world record speed, barefoot.
Remember F = M x A
That means the forces of the impacts on her foot were greater than any other female runner in the world at that time her same weight.
It’s proven with Newton’s law. Do you want to argue with me on that too?
Please don’t…. I don’t want you to embarrass yourself.
Watch her smoke all of the other runners’ wearing shoes, to break the world record.
How do you run barefoot on the street and not have impact related injuries or conditions.
All I had to do was figure out how to safely load the impact force into my human spring that was represented by the cushion and I could throw those bench shirts whoops! I mean running shoes away.
Even if you don’t want to throw out your running shoes don’t you want to condition your human spring mechanism to absorb impacts more effectively, more safely and at greater forces or speeds?
Of course you do!
I’m a 50 year old doctor who stands on his feet all day working late and still figured out how to take impacts safely into my barefoot human spring without damage and run 9 minute miles in the 5 K without wanting to run fast. Watch the video below as I demonstrate barefoot running in slow motion.
How to strengthen your spring suspension system muscle group.
What I recommend is that you train the foot with drills in directions that stimulate the development of these spring suspension system muscles.
This requires you to:
RESISTANCE TRAINING – Train with resistance exercises adding cuffs strapped to the foot moving it in a variety of directions such as eversion, inversion, abduction, adduction, pronation and supination.
IMPACT TRAINING – run barefoot in zigzag patterns, circular patterns, shuffle patterns as well as doing multi direction plyometric drills.
Then when you’re in the competition you can cheat by putting shoes on that allow for additional recoil of the elastic of the shoe!
We need barefoot running records and shod (cheating) running records!
Resistance Exercises to Strengthen the Spring Suspension System Muscles as Levers
Exercises for the development of the spring suspension system muscles must be done barefoot. I guarantee you if you tried to do exercises with cables which I’m suggesting in this article that you are not going to be able to do them with shoes on.
It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that it’s possible to get full range of motion in these directions that are essential to development of the spring suspension system muscles with shoes on.
It’s amazing for me to think that runners think that their bodies follow some other principle of training that allows them to only move their body in one direction to fully develop the human foot which is a three dimensional object that moves in multiple directions.
A healthy foot has to be developed in all directions just as much as the upper body has to be trained in all directions such as back, biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders, arms and wrists.
So when you take off down the trail in that straight path remember that’s the first exercise that you have to do that really doesn’t take up as much of those spring suspension system muscles that move the foot in these other directions that demand you move or run in zigzag
patterns side shuffle circular patterns and other patterns.
Kids Should Run Barefoot and have Fun and So Should YOU!
It’s interesting that kids seldom have chronic injuries, their spring suspension system muscles are fully developed as they’re running around in free play in the backyard with no shoes on.
This goes on very successfully until mom screams out,“Put your shoes on and stop running around like a crazy kid!”
We don’t realize what we’re doing to our children when we tell them that they should behave and act like us. What we are doing is we are taking them away from the developmental plyometric exercises of leaps, bounds, hops and skips in multiple directions and making them conform to our boring straight path routine that causes us to have an imbalance in the spring suspension system muscles of our body.
As kids we run around in the woods chasing animals, animals that run in multiple directions and as adults we run down the path to try to get to first base then stand around for a few minutes, run to second base on a straight path in then of course there is this matter of having shoes on to protect us from these impacts in different directions that will make us stronger.
The moral of the story is that the spring suspension system muscles must be developed in relation to the amount of impact forces that you are planning on absorbing or springing back from.
These are the fundamental causes of weakness in the spring suspension system muscles.
- The spring suspension system muscles are not completely developed by running straight ahead. You must move the foot in all ranges of motion against resistance.
- You must develop the foot in these ranges of motion with impact forces that are equal to the amount of impact forces you plan on absorbing. That means if you are planning on running you must run drills in all ranges of motion so that the spring suspension system muscles are able to move and develop.
- Footwear inhibits the development of these muscle. So training must be done with bare feet. Shoes only inhibit the movement of the bones so the muscles can’t fully develop.
- Start with slower speeds and work your way up adding an increment of speed every two weeks.
Impact Drills and Plyometrics
Your spring suspension system must be completely released during these impact drills. If you have a locking or more stiffening of any of the joints by either joint stiffness or muscle stiffness surrounding the joints the suspension system that represents a preload force on or a compression of the spring suspension system.
That means that the total capacity to load the force of the impact into the spring mechanism is reduced because it’s preloaded already with some force. If you try to load maximum force into this preloaded spring mechanism there is no room for the force to go.
That is when it has no other choice but to cause injury when the force plastically deforms the disc. This is what we call a herniated or bulged disc.
Internal External Forces Conditions
If the force is overloading the spring mechanism of the knee then you can get a meniscus tear or anterior cruciate tear. If it’s in the foot then it can become a heel spur, plantar fasciitis or a shin splint.
These muscles are essential for absorbing impacts so if you’re having impact injuries such as shin splints plantar fasciitis, herniated discs, heel spurs, then you can suspect that your spring suspension system of the arch of your foot is locked.
The most likely area for the spring mechanism to lock is at the metatarsal cunieform joint number two and three. (mid-arch) Also the talus can lock in the ankle mortise medially. When I release these joints they make a loud crack and the patient feels an instant release of the joint stiffness.
If your spring suspension system muscles are stiff the most likely ones are the medial intrinsic muscles of the foot, the tibialis posterior, tensor fascia and gluteus medius. You can start releasing these muscles by doing the spring release techniques to release these joints in tutorials #77-89, the links are below:
Video Tutorial #77 Dr James Stoxen DC Demonstrates How to Self Adjust Your Toes
I Have listed some Resistance Exercises to Strengthen the Spring Suspension System Below:
Video Tutorial #148 Bosu Ball Foot Training, click here to view
Video Tutorial #76 Bosu Ball Lateral Step, click here to view
Video Tutorial #177 Side Lunge With Cable, click here to view
Video Tutorial #105 Foot Eversion Exercise, click here to view
Video Tutorial #106 Foot Inversion Exercise, click here to view
Video Tutorial #107 Ankle Exercise Training, click here to view
Video Tutorial # 108 Cable Hip Adduction And Foot Inversion, click here to view
Video Tutorial #109 A Great Hip Adduction Exercise Demonstrated by WBC Pro Boxing Champion Miguel Macho Hernandez at Team Doctors, click here to view
Video Tutorial #109 A Great Hip Abduction Exercise Demonstrated by WBC Pro Boxing Champion Miguel Macho Hernandez at Team Doctors, click here to view
Video Tutorial #110 Dr. James Stoxen DC loses An abdominal Exercise Competition By One Rep. Watch And see, click here to view
Video Tutorial #111 Rectus Abdominal Cable Crunch Pull Downs, click here to view
Video Tutorial #112 Abdominal Oblique Exercise Demonstrated by WBC Pro Boxing Champion Miguel Macho Hernandez And Fighter Adrian Grenados at Team Doctors, click here to view
Video Tutorial #176 Improve Your Balance With Half Foam Roll Exercises, click here to view
I have listed some impact exercises to Supercharge the Spring Suspension System below:
Video Tutorial #149 Figure 8 Runs, click here to view
Video Tutorial #133 Circle Walk, Jog, Run and Sprint, click here to view
Video Tutorial #90 Obstacle Course, Combining Exercise Drills, click here to view
Video Tutorial #136 Double Leg Cone Jump or hop, click here to view
Video Tutorial #137 Why Plyometric Jumping Or Impact Exercises Increase The Level Of Human Performance In Athletes and YOU too!, click here to view
Video Tutorial #142 Improve Your Jumping Ability And Supercharge The Human Spring With Speed Bounds, click here to view
Video Tutorial #147 Single Leg Hop, click here to view
Video Tutorial #150 8-Point Step, Lunge, Hop or Bound, click here to view
Video Tutorial #152 Ricochet Box Jump, click here to view
Video Tutorial #167 Side Shuffle, click here to view
Video Tutorial #178 High Skip – Vertical And Horizontal, click here to view
Video Tutorial #179, 45 Degree Zig-Zag Hop, Jump Or Run, click here to view
Video Tutorial #151 Lateral Cone Jumps, click here to view
This video tutorial was taken from the lecture:
Title: Run For Life! Barefoot
Presented by Dr James Stoxen DC
The Second World Anti-Aging Medical Conference
February 4th-6th 2011
Mexico City, Mexico
About Dr James Stoxen DC (75 Posts)
Dr. James Stoxen, D.C., owns and operates Team Doctors Chiropractic Treatment and Training Center. Team Doctors is one of the first care centers in the world to combine chiropractic care, therapy, active rehabilitation and strength training for athletes in a private rehab-training center. Dr. Stoxen also provides “on-site” chiropractic care and anti-aging consultation and care to numerous top celebrity entertainers.
Dr. Stoxen is a sought after speaker, internationally at medical conferences in the fields of sports medicine, anti-aging medicine and other specialized areas of health.(full bio) visit his blogs TeamDoctors and BarefootRunningDoctor.