A house built on a solid, well planned foundation, will create a great base for the rest of the structure, and the same goes for our bodies. Feet are the foundation and most important component for optimal alignment of our entire body. Over a quarter of all the bones in our body are in our feet, which gives us some idea of how intricately they can move and adapt to the weight and force of the rest of our body in motion.
The slightest shift towards optimizing alignment of this base of support can translate throughout our entire bodies and help alleviate many issues. Finding proper foot alignment takes focus but as with any practice, the more intention you place on it, the quicker it becomes natural and intuitive. The goal is not perfection, but to optimize your walking, connect to your core, and improve your balance.
In Pilates we look at the rotation of the foot, the arches of the foot, the width of the stance and the weight distribution.
The Rotation of The Foot
The angle of the foot impacts the use of your hips. It affects the length of your calf muscle and forces within your knee.
Most often we see individuals walking with feet angled outward (like a duck), this is likely to create bunions and places increased pressure on the inner part of the knee also leading to a stiff foot and collapsed arches.
Toes should be pointed forward with the second toe in line with the middle of the knee.
Arches of the foot
The foot has a tripod formation comprising three arches which allow it to support the weight of the body efficiently. Often when we talk about arches we are referring to the medial longitudinal arch (A/B). The purpose of the arch aids in maintaining balance, distributing body weight and absorbing shock. Without proper arch support, your back and joints suffer from added pressure and strain, which can lead to back, knee, ankle and hip pain. A healthy arch will ensure the foot doesn’t over pronate or supinate, hence allows the strongest base of support.
Feet should be spaced pelvis width apart, keeping the knee in a direct vertical line with the ankle and hip. Standing and walking with the feet too narrow or wide creates an imbalance in the use of the muscles of your hips.
Your spine should be aligned over your pelvis, with your weight evenly distributed between your feet. Weight distribution should be 60% over the metatarsals of the foot and 40% on the heels. That way your core automatically kicks in!
So what can you do?
Be aware: of how you stand and walk
Be kind to your feet: Massage your feet to release tension
Come see us at One Pilates where we can personally guide you to understanding and correcting your feet using specific equipment including the incredible Foot Corrector!
This small device literally corrects your foot – creating stability, mobility, a lift of the arch and connection of the foot to the core. Once you try it, you’ll be amazed and realize how important your feet actually are and what a difference a few personalized exercises make!