PainSci summary of Basmajian 1963?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
This 1963 experiment showed that muscles in the arch of the foot only “kick in” under quite heavy loads: about 400 pounds. Although that sounds like quite a lot, loading may spike that high in an average person with every step, so the strength and responsiveness of the arch muscles may still be routinely important. We don’t have muscles there for nothing, of course. Nevertheless, this study pretty clearly shows that “the first line of defense” against arch collapse is the shape of the bones, the elasticity of ligaments, and probably the “stirrup” tendons from leg muscles (see Thordarson) — but not so much the strength of the arch muscles.
original abstract†Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
Simultaneous electromyography of six muscles in the leg and foot in twenty subjects reveals that only heavy loading elicits muscle activity. Loads of 100 to 200 pounds on one foot are borne easily by passive structures (ligaments and bones) that support the arches. With 400 pounds, the muscles do come into play, but even then many remain inactive. The first line of defense of the arches is ligamentous. The muscles form a dynamic reserve, called upon reflexly by excessive loads, including the take-off phase in walking.
- “Dynamic support of the human longitudinal arch: a biomechanical evaluation,” DB Thordarson, H Schmotzer, J Chon, and J Peters, Clin Orthop, 1995.
- “Plantar fasciitis and the windlass mechanism: a biomechanical link to clinical practice,” LA Bolgla and TR Malone, Journal of Athletic Training, 2004.
These three articles on PainScience.com cite Basmajian 1963 as a source:
- PS Massage Therapy for Shin Splints — Perfect Spot No. 3, in the tibialis anterior muscle of the shin
- PS Massage Therapy for Tired Feet (and Plantar Fasciitis!) — Perfect Spot No. 10, in the arch muscles of the foot
- PS Save Yourself from Plantar Fasciitis! — Plantar fasciitis explained in great detail, including every possible treatment option, and all supported by recent scientific research
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial. Munteanu 2015 Br J Sports Med.
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.