What is the the windlass mechanism in the foot?

The windlass is that apparatus which are used by the mariners on yachts to wind the rope around to help to make it easier to maneuver the boom. Within the foot there is a mechanism that is referred to as the windlass mechanism that gets its name from this apparatus used on boats. There is a ligament like structure under the foot called the plantar fascia that is at one end attached to the underside of the heel bone and at the other end to the big toe. When we are walking and the heel comes off the floor, the foot rotates around the great toe or hallux where this ligament is connected, tightening the ligament as it winds about the windlass of the first metatarsal bone. This is the windlass mechanism of the foot. It is a essential functionality as the plantar fascia is the thing that supports the arch of the foot, therefore it ought to function adequately and quickly for normal foot biomechanics. This is the foots own natural arch support mechanism.

There are a variety of conditions associated with the windlass mechanism not functioning effectively. In the event the windlass mechanism does not work, then the arch of the foot will collapse from this lack of support and a variety of disorders may develop as a result of that such as hallux valgus and heel pain. The cause of the windlass not working correctly can be multiple such as the force needed to establish it simply being too high, so the body has to work harder to help make the windlass work. If that effort does make it function, then that is a greater energy cost that may be very fatiguing. Clinicians use different design characteristics in foot supports to improve the windlass mechanism and to make walking less difficult and more effective. If the windlass can be established easily when walking or running will not need very much energy and the foot can naturally support its own arch.