Have you ever stepped on a Lego? It feels like being stabbed with a knife soaked in scorpion venom. It feels like an army of miniature soldiers putting forth a full assault upon your foot. It feels like a swarm of fire ants expressing their full wrath. If the floor happens to be riddled with Legos, then it’s like walking through a field of needles before stepping into a bear trap. And let’s just hope the Lego isn’t on, say, a hardwood floor or some other solid surface. If you’ve ever stepped on a Lego then you know the excruciating torture that it is. The question is, why? Why do those little Legos of doom cause so much pain?
To start, Legos are surprisingly strong. A 2×2 Lego block is able to withstand 953 pounds before reaching its breaking point. Clearly, our soft little tootsies are no match. To make it worse, the foot can contain up to 200,000 individual sensory receptors, the things that communicate pain to the brain. So, when a 165-pound person steps down with one of the most sensitive parts of the body on a hard, knobby Lego, he has the pure joy of experiencing 3,262,222 Pascal’s of pressure (Time). Or to put it another way, this is equivalent to roughly 435 PSI all concentrated into a little section on the bottom of your foot (most car tires are usually filled to about 40 PSI). To put it even more simply, ouch!
By now you’re probably asking, “Why in the world are we even talking about Legos at all? What point are you getting at?” I’m glad you asked. See, the entire reason we are equipped with such sensitive feet is to help us walk. It’s part of a very complex system that helps us stay balanced and have the ability to walk upright.
In order to simply walk upright, we need a series of attributes. We need a spine with the correct curvature to absorb the shock of walking but also the strength to sustain being upright for a long time. We need hips that are situated in the right position for the legs to go directly beneath them, but also are able to pivot and move freely in the walking motion without causing issues. We need strong thigh bones to give adequate support from the hips down to the foot. We need knees that are able to handle the stress of supporting the entire body weight without failing, even though walking can cause stress on the knee from all sorts of awkward angles (which is why we have the ACL, PSL, MCL, etc). And then we get to our feet. We have 26 bones in our feet, giving the foot the ability to be sturdy, but also flexible. We have five toes and an elongated foot and heel to give us an almost tripod like balancing platform. The foot itself is strong enough to handle the entire weight of the body, even on the ball of one foot. And as we’ve already said, there are the nerves the individual sensory receptors that help us detect small differences on the ground that we’re walking on so we can adjust our balance. But really, all of this is just the main structure we need to walk.
We also need muscles in all the right places along the legs and core to provide fine tune balance control but also to support the walking motion. Not to mention, we need a very complex balancing control center (the inner ear), which detects even the smallest changes in balance. And then we need a highly efficient brain to take in all of this information, process it quickly, and make fine tune adjustments on the go.
To put it simply, it’s incredibly amazing that we can walk. We have everything we need, perfectly equipped, wonderfully fine-tuned, and efficiently working together just so we can stand. But we are able to do so much more. Sprint, jump, climb, and dance! We put incredible stress on our feet and knees. We push our balancing system to the limits, but it all holds up shockingly well.
No other animal is anywhere near the same level as us when it comes to walking (no, not even monkeys). If one will honestly and deeply look into them, there are zero transitional fossils that have been found to show any type of evolutionary transition from ape to man. Not to mention, there is also the curious lack of animals currently living in the in-between ape to man stages.
It’s no secret. And to the honest observer, it’s clear that we have been created by the Divine One. David said it well, “For You formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:13-14). The Lord created us and gave us incredible abilities and qualities. Why? So we would see that He exists and praise Him for it!
The fact that we can stand, walk, and run is one more evidence of the Lord, even though walking does come with its own dangers and challenges. Thanks a lot, Legos.