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When discussing correct posture for standing still, you often hear people talk about standing on both feet and not placing all your weight on either one of them. However, beside positioning your weight left-to-right, you can also position it front-to-back. I noticed I naturally place most (say 75%) of my weight on the front of my feet. What do experts say about this?

  • Are you asking which of these is correct posture, or better for you? – HDE 226868 Jan 23 '16 at 1:13
  • I don't know about which is better posture but when I had a job where I had to stand up for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, the back of my feet (my heel bones) hurt a lot (even though I was wearing very comfortable running shoes). I was putting my weight on my heel bones the whole day. I had to consciously start putting my weight towards the front of my feet (ball of foot) for some periods so that I wouldn't get too much pain on the back of my feet. – Jorge Luque Jan 24 '16 at 9:29
  • @HDE 226868, correct posture in general: "better for everyone", if that exists. – LBogaardt Jan 24 '16 at 10:12
  • @Jorge Luque, that makes sense. I can imagine too much in either direction is not good. Considering the heel of your foot is somewhat pointy, whereas the front is flatter, perhaps it's better to lean forward slightly. I'm just wondering if there are any reputable sources about this. – LBogaardt Jan 24 '16 at 10:15
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So there are a few things making this a difficult question to answer. Much of the in-depth research hasn't been done on healthy individuals (biomechanics of the foot), but where there's something wrong (pathomechanics of the foot). There is also a difference between what is theoretically best (found here) and what people actually do (sort of found here). Also, the search terms might not be readily apparent because the biomechanical word for "standing" is "stance" (eg "load distribution in stance").

The best models and papers I found were also behind pay walls (which my institution has access to), but I can summarize the information as follows:

There are 6 main points of pressure in the healthy foot: the heel, and the head of each (5) metatarsals:

Image of load points of the foot.

The metatarsal head of the hallux (big toe, labeled 2 above) should take about 2x the pressure as the other 4 heads, which roughly balances the left to right load on the foot.

As far as front to back, the only reference I found that calculated an ideal position was the one I mentioned before, and seemed to indicate the heel should receive 52.6% +/- 1.36% of the load of the foot (Fig 7). Presumably the rest of the weight would then be distributed to the metatarsal heads as mentioned above.

I will say that was calculated with math I don't quite understand, and on a very idealized adult foot. It might be much more useful to ask the question: "How do people with healthy feet and gates distribute the load on their feet?"

That would go back to my second reference and give us this lovely figure: [Fig 1]

Load of adult and children taken at stance

My final conclusion is that if you are concerned about your gate you should see an OT or PT. Check for uneven wear on the feet, and try to stay "balanced."

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