The knowledge about feet has evolved significantly from the time of Leonardo da Vinci to the present day. Here are some key developments:

Leonardo da Vinci Era (late 15th to early 16th century):

  • Leonardo da Vinci was a pioneer in the study of human anatomy, and he made numerous drawings and notes about the structure and function of the feet.
  • He was particularly interested in the mechanics of the foot and how it interacts with the ground during walking and running.
  • Da Vinci’s anatomical drawings were some of the most accurate of his time, but they were limited by the technology available to him. He did not have access to X-rays or other imaging techniques, so he had to rely on dissection and observation to study the foot.

18th and 19th Centuries:

  • The development of the microscope and other scientific instruments allowed for more detailed study of the foot at the cellular and molecular level.
  • Scientists began to investigate the role of nerves and muscles in the foot, and to explore the ways in which the foot interacts with other parts of the body.
  • Some of the key figures in this era included French anatomist Jean-Martin Charcot, German physiologist Emil Du Bois-Reymond, and British orthopedic surgeon Hugh Owen Thomas.

20th Century:

  • The invention of X-rays and other imaging techniques revolutionized the study of the foot, allowing scientists and medical professionals to see the internal structure of the foot in great detail.
  • As a result, there have been significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle injuries and conditions.
  • One of the most important developments in the 20th century was the creation of the specialty of podiatry, which focuses specifically on the study and treatment of foot and ankle disorders.
  • Other key figures in the 20th century include American podiatrist Lawrence Harkless, who pioneered the use of new surgical techniques to treat foot and ankle problems, and British orthopedic surgeon Sir Robert Jones, who was instrumental in the development of modern orthopedic surgery.


  • The study of the foot continues to evolve, with new research on topics such as biomechanics, gait analysis, and the use of technology in foot health.
  • There is also a growing emphasis on preventative care, with podiatrists and other foot specialists working to educate the public about the importance of proper foot care and footwear.
  • In recent years, there has been a particular focus on the role of the foot in overall health and wellness, with studies showing that foot problems can contribute to a range of other health issues, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
  • As our understanding of the foot and its function continues to deepen, it is likely that we will see new advances in the diagnosis and treatment of foot problems, as well as new strategies for preventing foot-related health issues.

The Foot Alignment Clinic is a leader in bio-mechanics and foot alignment, inventing and using the latest in technology for lower limb alignment.

Vertical Foot Alignment System invented by Neil Smith of the Foot Alignment Clinic