Biomechanics of the Human Gait
Strong Feet Make Healthy People
Latest Knowledge on the Biomechanics of the Human Gait
kybun movement therapy (MechanoTherapy) involves walking and standing on soft, springy kybun material in your everyday life. It offers the perfect solution to back, hip, knee and foot problems and allows you to activate your veins and lymphs. Put simply, it is 3D barefoot technology designed to make walking and standing more enjoyable thanks to the miniature trampolines under each of your feet.
Background of the kybun MechanoTherapy
For over one hundred years shoe companies have followed the principle that the shoe should support and guide the foot. This basic principle has been deeply embedded in the consciousness of physicians, manufacturers, and consumers. Even today physicians prescribe orthopedic arch supports for foot, knee, hip, and back problems. The underlying causes of the complaints, such as lack of strength, coordination, and movement of the foot, are often not recognized and only the symptoms are treated. For instance, some orthopedic insoles only passively support the foot. This further weakens the foot muscles and fails to permanently resolve the issue.
In the 1990s, Karl Müller lived in the middle of paddy fields in Korea. This is when the Swiss native discovered the positive health effects of walking on soft, springy clay soil. To bring the rice paddy feeling into the everyday life of modern man, the engineer developed a shoe with a round sole (MBT). This unsteady sole was contrary to the shoe industry‘s basic principle of "supporting, guiding, absorbing" and it was massively attacked by science, medicine, and the shoe industry.
Thanks to the mostly positive reactions for the body, the round, unsteady sole became a worldwide success and to this day has sold millions of times. It has turned the shoe industry upside down and has been copied by over 100 companies. But Karl Müller wanted more. He envisioned developing the perfect rice paddy feeling when standing and walking for the everyday life of modern man, because he believes that the therapeutic reaction is more positive, the more perfectly the feeling on the foot complies with the elastic rice paddy feeling.
Müller sold his share in MBT in 2006 and again started from scratch with the kybun concept. After having researched and developed for years, Müller and his team succeeded in perfectly imitating the rice paddy feeling and in bringing it into civilized man‘s everyday life for any kind of use.
The technologies of MBT and kybun differ fundamentally. While the MBT has a crescent sole with a hard disc, the kybun sole consists of a elastic air-cushion. The elastic kybun sole activates the foot muscles when walking. This is the main prerequisite for a natural walking position because the foot, the foundation of the human body, must be dynamically strong in order to absorb shocks and to guide the body into an upright posture.
The Foot - Key to Every Healthy Body
The foot is the key to the solution of the most common back, knee, vein, and foot problems as well as the prevention of overweight and falls at an advanced age. This is due to the fact that most problems of the musculoskeletal system (signs of overexertion in the front and back area of the foot as well as knee, hip and back problems) start at the foot. This can be demonstrated schematically by means of two bottles. When the bottle is on the ground, it is stable. On ever sky scraper the
foundation is the widest part and the construction becomes narrower towards the top.
The foundation must still be buoyant and dynamic to be able to withstand an earthquake for instance. Just like the sky scraper, the foundation (the foot) must be the strongest component of the human body to keep it in good shape for a long time to come.
When the foot is weakened, the body reacts like a bottle which is standing on its cap. In this position the bottle is no longer stable. The same is true for the body. A weak foot leads to signs of overstress in all joints, e.g. the iliosacral joint (point at which the spinal cord and the pelvis are joined) and the spinal cord.
Causes of a Weak Foot
The Quantity of Movement
100 years ago, man walked 15 km a day, today just 800 m. In the present time, people spend the day mostly sitting down. This does not only lead to an insufficient training of the foot but also to shortening of the muscles, dysbalances and tensions in the entire body. Daily exercise is essential for strong feet, a relaxed musculature, and healthy joints. Apart from the quantity of movement, the quality, i.e. the correct pressure on the joints and the spinal cord plays a vital role. Hereby two gait and posture patterns can be distinguished: the foot-oriented gait and the hip-oriented gait.
The Quality of Movement
What the engine is for the car, the muscles are for the human musculoskeletal system. The muscles move the joints. The muscles which power the foot, knee, and hip joints, supply the main contribution to the locomotion of the human gait.
Without arms man could not move along so fast and dynamically. A runner without arms would be slower and would get neck pain because the impetus of the arms contributes in no small measure to loosening the neck muscles. This way, each muscle contributes to the propulsion of the human gait but the two main motors which contribute to the gait are the "foot motor" and the "hip motor".
The Hip Oriented Gait
Civilized man moves on flat streets in mostly heeled footwear. This limits the mobility of the foot joint and therefore inhibits the foot motor. Arch supports further block the movement of the foot.
When the foot is limited in its mobility, the hip motor compensates in order to still move forward fast and forcefully. For this reason, civilized man mainly uses the hip motor for walking. Thigh muscles are activated to take one step forward and to more or less put one foot in front of the other. Hereby the foot motor is less active then when the primitive people walk barefoot.
As a reaction to intense hip activity, the hip flexors pull the upper part of the body forward which, after some time, produces the typical, forward bent old-age gait with shortened muscles, tension, strain on joints, and relieving postures.
On the other hand, a strong, foot-oriented gait straightens the posture, stretches and relaxes the muscles, evens out dysbalances, and breaks the vicious circle of relieving posture and overstress.
When primarily the hip motor is active and the foot motor limited, the foot motor switches itself off completely after some time. This "switch" is often visible in the gait of older people. They just lift the hip and use the foot only to put it down.
Not the foot is moving the body forward but the force of the hip. The hip is very active, whereas the feet, which should actually be the main motor, are practically no longer functioning.
A lifelong of high hip activity often results in overstress in the hip and lumbar vertebra areas. Blockages in the iliosacral joint are the result. This is called a hip-oriented as opposed to a foot-oriented gait pattern.
Flat surfaces and heeled shoes limit and weaken the foot. The shear forces (horizontal forces in the joints) are very strong. Musculoskeletal system disorders, e.g. back and joint problems, inflammation of the Achilles‘ tendon, and overstress of the foot, are mostly caused by a weak foot and unnatural gait and posture patterns.
The Natural, Upright Gait
When walking barefoot on natural, uneven ground, foot motor and hip motor interact in an ideal way. This is shown by observations of primitive people who move as nomads on natural ground. They have a tall, slim stature and show an even musculature, as well as an upright posture. Their foot motor does most of the work. The hip motor rather turns backwards, i.e. the thighs push away to the back more than pulling the step forward. The natural cooperation between the two motors allows the musculoskeletal system to stay healthy as long as possible.
Change of the Gait Pattern through Strengthening of the Foot
A switch to a natural, foot-oriented gait is recommended for everyone. When changing the gait and posture pattern the reactivation of the foot motor as well as the loosening of the hip motor is the priority. The body straightens up. The hip motor is naturally integrated in the propulsion system.
With the switch to a foot-oriented gait, there is a great chance that complaints about the musculoskeletal system are soothed or vanish altogether because the cause of the complaints, an incorrect gait and posture pattern, is herewith eliminated.
This change in the gait and posture pattern can be demonstrated with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Should you want to straighten the Leaning Tower of Pisa, its foundation would need to be straightened from the bottom using a considerable amount of strength.
The Asymmetry of the Body and its Consequences
Man functions unequally on the right and the left side. Therefore, the right and left hand, as well as the right and left foot are different with regards to strength and coordination. Each person has a supporting leg and an jumping leg. Out of habit, man always stands on the same leg. Because civilized man walks on flat, hard surfaces most of the time, the strong foot becomes stronger and the weak foot weaker. The asymmetry is increased. This can lead to vast differences between the left and the right regarding strength and coordination.
This uneven strength in the left and the right leg is joined in the iliosacral joint and the hip area and can lead to a functional pelvic obliquity which can look like uneven length of the legs. As a consequence scoliosis, tension in the lumbar vertebra area, overstress of the back, hip and knee joints as well as of the feet can appear. Would man walk daily on natural ground, the asymmetry of feet and legs would be evened out.
The left and the right foot motor would be evenly trained so that both feet work likewise. The transition to a foot-oriented gait and posture pattern is made possible by elastic materials. How the special characteristics of this material strengthen the foot is explained in the following chapters.
The Special Characteristics of Elastic Materials
During his many years in Korea, Karl Müller discovered the clay ground of the rice paddies. Especially when the water is slowly draining from the rice fields, the clayey ground is extremely pleasant to walk on. Karl Müller researched for years to find which artificial surface is the most similar to this elastic clay ground. Thereby he found materials which consist of multi-component polyurethane (PU). Müller optimized these materials with regard to three parameters. He was looking for a multicomponent PU which:
- is extremely soft but
- still has a high rebounce force and
- hardly tires
This elastic multi-component PU is used by the kybun MechanoTherapy. Its special characteristics make it the ideal material to walk and stand on.
Standing on Elastic Materials
Standing on elastic material has three main effects. Firstly, the sole of the feet is completely filled due to the softness. Because of the elasticity there is, however, no static support effect compared to arch supports rather there is a dynamic springing
of the foot. The foot is relieved, constantly moved and practiced. Standing for a long time is effortlessly possible. A further positive effect of the elastic material is the reduction of asymmetries in the body.
The second effect is the training of the foot and entire muscle chains with respect to strength and coordination. The third effect is due to the elasticity of the material. When standing, one slightly vibrates (similar to a trampoline). Thereby small power impulses are sent through the musculature which keeps the musculoskeletal system in a constant springing movement.
The muscles relax because the slight springing encourages the intra-muscular cooperation. The muscles transfer the forces from one muscle area to another. This cooperation of the muscles has a tension easing effect. You already feel this effect after a few seconds of vibrating on the elastic material.
A further positive effect of the elastic material is the reduction of asymmetries of the human body. Dynamic standing on elastic materials trains the left and right foot motor likewise with regard to strength and coordination.
kybun MechanoTherapy utilizes the positive characteristics of the elastic material on the human body. The surfaces in our civilized world are flat and hard. Therefore there is a need for footgear with which, in everyday life, man can walk just like on natural ground. Walking on elastic material is made possible by the kybun aircushion sole.
Your foot muscles are strengthened daily by wearing kybun shoes, leading to a natural, foot-oriented gait pattern which holistically improves your health.
Dynamic standing on elastic material:
- enables standing for hours without exertion or tiring
- eases tension
- trains the foot motor
- keeps joints constantly in motion without overstressing
- stretches shortened muscles
- evens out relieving postures and straightens posture
In the kybun, the foot stands directly on a elastic mat, which gives the foot the freedom of movement in all directions. Through the elasticity and the instability upwards, downwards, to the outside and inside, the musculature is optimally
trained. The joints are spared and the back musculature relaxed as in no other footgear.
Fields of Application of kybun
The kybun is an everyday shoe which can be worn the entire day. It is particularly suitable for people who stand at work or have physically strenuous jobs. The elastic kybun sole (aircushion sole) prevents heavy legs, burning feet, back pain, and vein ailments. Because the elastic material always dynamically adapts to the form of the foot's sole, the kybun is also ideal for all foot problems.
For athletes the kybun is suitable for warming up and for cooling down after training or competitions.
Initial Reactions to the kybun
When changing the gait and posture pattern with the kybun, the body reverts to the total stretching, completely executes the movements again, and carries out the movements completely. Due to this sudden change, initial reactions can occur. For all medical indications, overexertion, irritations or even inflammations can occur due to the changed stress on the "weak spot".
It is recommendable to wear the kybun with care for the first few days to see whether the body shows any initial reaction. In case of reactions, it is advisable to precede according to the recommendations of the indication descriptions, to only slowly increase the training in the kybun and to regularly repeat the relevant exercises.