Windlass mechanics is an engineering principle used in moving heavy loads.
In yachting, the windlass is that level system used to pull in the sails. In a well, it is the pulley system used to lower and raise the bucket.
However, it is also important in foot mechanics.
The Windlass effect can be demonstrated by drawing the big toe (hallux) upwards (See Animation below).
"The windlass foot mechanism functions each time a step is taken. During the phase when the foot is rising of the toes, the toes are being extended by pressure against the floor."
"This new concept which emerges is that the arch-raising is not the result of action of muscles, but is a movement that must inevitably occur in every foot, even if dead or paralytic, every time the toes are extended." (Page 29, Section V)
Hicks JH 1954. The mechanics of the foot. II: The plantar aponeurosis and the arch. Journal Anatomy, 88:25-30.
Foot WINDLASS Mechanics
Foot Windlass Mechanics