People take for granted their ability to move around on their own during an emergency. Their most reliable means of transportation and removing themselves from harms way is walking.

The importance of healthy functioning feet, knees, hips and lower back during emergencies and crises helps to facilitate the most reliable and safest form of transportation. Experts in Disaster Preparedness such as Dr. Irwin Redlener from the  Earth Institute at Columbia University concur as well that the ability to ambulate and walk efficiently is essential to coping with emergencies and crises.

911 taught us that the inability to walk/move would have been more catastrophic as people relied on their feet to flee the WTC. It’s an excellent and extremely important consideration especially during these times.

Mayor Giuliani was concerned that had there been an emergency in the city during the New York City transit strike people could no longer rely on public transportation but they could rely on their ability to move around freely because of their feet.

The silver lining here is that people will be forced to increase their walking which will positively affect their general health: ie- blood pressure, diabetes and blood sugar, weight reduction, stress reduction and of course mental health.

Bottom line- the ability to walk is tantamount to surviving any crisis as it has safety, health, state of mind, well-being implications. Healthy feet, knees, hips and lower back are the “ secret weapons” we can always rely upon.


  • Director- Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service Hospital for Special Surgery Clinical Associate Professor/ Chronic Disease Epidemiology/Musculoskeletal Disease Prevention Yale School of Public Health
  • Dr. Rock CJay Positano

    Director, Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service, Hospital for Special Surgery