If you ever have been to a yoga class, I am sure you heard the teacher mention things like “pushing the floor away with your feet”, “lift the inner arches of your feet” or just “notice how you stand on your feet”.
The reason for this is that our feet make the foundation for our whole body posture. You might have heard the kids song “The skeleton dance”, which goes “the foot bone’s connected to the leg bone. The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone…” etc.
If your arches weaken and fall inwards due to wearing unsupportive shoes or always walking on completely flat surfaces, this will cause your inner anklebone to collapse.
Once the inner ankle drops, the inner groin at the top of the inner leg often also collapses. In turn, the weakness of the inner thighs leaves the lower back vulnerable to compression.
The result of this will usually lead to knee, hip or back ache which will not be resolved through stretching out or strengthening those areas since that is not where the problem comes from.
An easy way to check if your feet are balanced and active is to look at the sole of your shoes. If the inside of your heel is more wore down than the outside, or vice versa, your foot is unbalanced and that might shift your entire posture giving you grief somewhere else.
How to fix it
Walking barefoot and being aware of the movement in your feet whenever possible is a good start. Also walking on uneven surfaces will activate the muscles in your feet again.
Some great exercises you can do daily which will only take a couple of minutes are:
Start with taking your shoes and socks off, placing your feet parallel to each other and straight underneath your hips.
- With the sole of your feet firmly planted on the floor, start rocking backwards and forwards, side to side, feeling the muscles in your feet compensates and keeping you balanced.
- Lifting your toes off the floor balancing on your heels and the slowly putting your toes down rolling over your feet and then lifting your heels up. Repeat five times
- Try lifting your big toe and keeping the rest of your toes on the floor. Then swap and try and keep your big toe on the floor whilst lifting the rest of them.
- Finished with rolling one foot at a time over a tennis ball (or similar) to give the sole of your foot a gentle massage.