The Evolution of Man – Hands and Feet

 In back pain, hands and feet, knee pain, pain, pilates, text thumb

I visited the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa this summer where I found out about the recent discovery in 2015 of a treasure trove of remains of a species called Homo Naledi, distant cousins of us Homo Sapiens. The bone structure of these skeletons were smaller than humans, with the exception of the hands and feet which were around the same size as modern humans.

This got me thinking again about how really really important strength and flexibility in the hands and feet are to our ability to remain strong and pain free through our various joints:

  • from the perspective of the hands, more and more people are getting “text thumb”pain as a result of using their mobile phones almost constantly.
  • from the perspective of the foot, there’s a lot of information coming from the 7000 nerve endings in each foot and lack of flexibility in the foot can be translated in to poor patterning or even pain in the knee, hip or lower back. One of my teachers, Gary Carter, describes exactly this in this short video.

Back to South Africa. As I was standing there pondering the importance of the hands and feet, I heard the lead archaeologist state in the video feed:

“It is almost as though evolution was developing us from the outside in”

So, if evolution developed us from the outside in, doesn’t that make our hands and feet important to our continued strength and development and humans? Are you enjoying living in your evolved body or has modern technology taken you backwards? Could you do more work to keep your hands and feet strong and flexible? Give it a go and let me know how you get on.

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  • Gavin Routledge

    Thanks Maureen. I’m convinced that since I started wearing my Vibrams at work (very minimalist with separate pockets for each toe), my feet are stronger and the rest of my body better integrated. Try it, but maybe start gradually!

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