Three formal examinations of the feet of presumably normal individuals (two, of American male and female college students; the third, of African natives) are in agreement in demonstrating that the predominating position of the feet in walking is one of moderate out-toeing.
The tests contradict the idea commonly held that a parallel position of the feet-the so called 'Indian method'-is the correct and natural posture.
It is true that there was a somewhat greater proportion of natives who showed a straight, or in-toeing, position than obtained among college students; but, on the other hand, the proportion of out-toeing in excess of fifteen degrees was also greater among the African natives. Both of these postural groups represented merely small minorities on either side of the large middle group, comprising seventy-two per cent. of all the feet examined.
The average angle of gait among African natives was seven and five-tenths degrees. Although this figure is slightly greater than that obtained from American college men and women, the average differences resulting from each examination are too small to have any particular significance.
Inconstancy in the angle of gait, as shown in any series of successive steps, has been strikingly emphasized in all three of the examinations; so much so that an arc between five and ten degrees of out-toeing seems to give a more faithful estimate of how a foot is normally used than an arbitrary angle of gait arrived at by mathematical averages. It was within that arc (between five and ten degrees) that the angle of gait in the greatest number of native feet was located.
Physiological analysis of walking concurs with the foot examination in designating seven and five-tenths degrees in out-toeing (an angle of fifteen degrees as formed by the two feet) as the ideal angle of gait in ordinary active walking. Rapid movement, tends to narrow that angle, slower movement, to widen it.
An angle of forty-five degrees between the two feet seems to be the most natural position in standing.
(C) 1932 All Rights Reserved.The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.