Why do humans walk this way according to Wired magazine?

Why do humans walk this way according to Wired magazine?

Walk this way is one of my favorite songs from the American band Aerosmith and then reprised with Run DMC.

As a Chiropractor, I have always studied gait and learned that there is not only one type as we are all genetically from different backgrounds, different heights, and different genders which affect how we walk and run.

The way we walk and run upright has evolved over hundreds of years and is peculiar in the animal kingdom.  There is also a genius to it as it allows us to move and function differently than other animals in an upright posture.

From a chiropractic perspective, asymmetrical gait from asymmetrical body styles also can set us up for a lifetime of pain as well in due to poor adaptations from falls, body style, and other activities.  We are always adapting, although not always well and like all animals, we continue to adapt and in many cases degenerate as we age.

Walking as a human is complex as we move from step to step.   We have evolved developing feet designed to navigate the terrain with multiple bones, ligaments, and fascia as well as a circulatory system that feeds our extremities. Walking is an activity that is inherently unstable as we take our next step and like dominoes, one joint affects the next.  This is one reason why knee pain may be from the foot, the back, or even the shoulder.   I always tell our patients to be slinky. A slinky when not held can walk gracefully downstairs. When a part is held, it no longer moves well.   Animals are similar in many ways so the slinky analogy works.

Chiropractic care is a proven natural solution to problems related to movement.  Walking is one of the most unique movements humans can do however when it’s problematic, lower back pain, knee pain, foot pain, neck pain, and many other conditions may result over time or during a particular activity.

Wired magazine looks at a scientific point of view of how we walk and why.  Check it out below.

Humans Walk Weird. Scientists May Finally Know Why

Humanity’s peculiar gait has long confounded engineers and biomechanists—but it might be one of nature’s clever tricks.


FOR SOMETHING SO routine, walking is shockingly complicated. Biomechanists break a single step into several phases: First, there’s touchdown, when your heel strikes the floor. Next comes the single support phase, when you’re balancing on that leg. After that, you roll onto your toes for takeoff and your leg goes into a forward swing.

All of this contains a mystery. Researchers have long observed that when we walk, our planted leg bounces twice before swinging into the next step. That is, the knee bends and extends once when the foot first touches down, then again just before takeoff. That first bounce helps our foot absorb the impact of our weight as we hit the ground. But the function of the second bounce, a feature characteristic to human gait, has never been clear.

In a Physical Review E paper published last month, scientists at the University of Munich may have found an answer. By modeling the physical forces that drive our double bounce, they deduced that it’s an energy-saving technique for a species that has long prioritized endurance over speed—which may be a clue about why humans evolved such an odd gait. Now, they think their model can help improve prosthetic and robotic designs, and may even lend insight into the evolutionary pressures our ancestors faced.

“The foot is the key element here,” says Daniel Renjewski, a mechanical engineer who led the study. The human foot is, frankly, kind of an oddity in the animal kingdom. People have a 90-degree angle between the foot and the leg, he continues, but few other animals do. That means most animals walk on their tiptoes or the balls of their feet, while we walk heel-to-toe. Human feet are also relatively flat, and our legs are quite heavy, both of which make staying upright while propelling the body forward a mechanical challenge.

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