Are you ready?

Ready for a simple way to enhance your clamshells for hip strength (remember last month’s clamshell extravaganza?) and help your knees?

Ok, here goes… roll out and move your feet.

Yup. Because it’s all connected!
Yay for fascia, connective tissue, biotensegrity, bio-intelligence… whatever you want to call it, it’ll make moving one part of your body change another one. 
Awesome, no?
Here’s the thing. The ground is flat. Your feet are not. There is no way the ground is going to change to accommodate the shapes of your feet. Tension, stiffness, weakness, whatever you have in those feet will have to adapt to the terrain you’re on.
If the 26 bones, 33 joints and associated muscles and connective tissues in each foot aren’t moving as much as they need to, then the adaptation to the ground that should be happening at that level of your body will default to somewhere else further up the chain.
For some people that will be the ankles, for some it might be the knees or hips or pelvic joints or lower back. Every body is different and everybody’s movement patterns are just as individual, so it won’t be the same across the board.

And to be clear, this doesn’t mean you are broken, or that you have pain, or possibly even that you will ever have pain!

But doesn’t it make sense, in a non-panic-stricken, non-fear-based way, to give your body as much strong, conscious, mindful, sustainable movement as you can? I think so!

And if you DO have pain or discomfort, let’s try to change that in ways that YOU control.

Ok, let’s break this down a bit.

Here, my feet are just resting on the ground in my habitual stance.

My feet are slightly turned out and my knees and femurs (thigh bones) are slightly turned in.

Looks pretty regular, every day positioning, right?

Let’s see what happens when I straighten my feet. I remove the turn out that helps to absorb some of my foot tension and get my feet meeting the flat ground.

See how I’m more internally rotated?

When I externally rotate my femurs to neutral (indicated by the ligaments in the back of my knees pointing straight back as we discussed in the last newsletter) so that I can get better purchase for my hip and leg muscles, I also improve the relationship between my upper and lower legs.

But there’s a catch…

If we bring our legs around to neutral AND keep our feet planted on the floor we create a potentially nasty torque at… you guessed it… the knee joints.

If I let my feet relax and follow the spiral from my hips all the way to the ground, I have strength in my legs, stability for my knees, and I reveal the tension in my feet that those other joints have to accommodate ALL THE TIME! 

Clearly, this isn’t how you’re going to move around in the world! But it’s a fascinating way to explore your body relationships.

(This is also a spectacular argument for pliable, minimalist shoes and lots of time on natural terrain. Always being on flat level ground in stiff shoes isn’t adding to the resilience of your feet. But that’s a subject for later.)

To release some of the tensions in your feet, strengthen the muscles, increase the flexibility and take pressure off your knees and hips, grab a ball and start rolling out your feet. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and make sure you use a pressure that feels good. A couple of minutes every day and you might be astonished at the difference.

 For some extra guidance, here’s a little video to follow: Help Your Knees by Rolling Your Feet


Although we started this little journey with the hip joints and muscles, we’re actually getting to the heart of your hip and knee issues by getting down to the ground.

Want to learn more? Join Alison for an online course all on these connections!

Alison Crouch

I’m the owner of Boomerang Pilates and creator of the Move SMART program. I teach teachers how to incorporate sustainable movement and authentic teaching in their classes.

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