Unless you’re upside down, your feet are your foundation. They do SO much work for us, yet they might be the most overworked and underappreciated part of the body.
Many people have pain and other issues that can be changed by working with the feet. Flat arches, bunions, weak ankles, knee pain – even conditions of the hips, spine and on up the body – all can benefit from awareness and optimal alignment in the feet. This may not be the entire solution to physical concerns, but it sure can help and is a great place to start!
If you think about your feet as your foundation, compare this idea to the foundation of a house. If part of the foundation is sagging or twisted or otherwise functioning with less than optimal integrity, the house might be in a compromised situation.
Because we wear shoes most of the time and, well, most of us have never even learned how important it is to align the feet, our society as a whole is suffering a foundational collapse (not just the economy, but each body walking around.)
Here’s the good news: it is possible to recreate the integrity and health of your feet. In fact, the concepts aren’t even all that difficult. It definitely takes work and dedication on your part, but it isn’t as hard as you might think.
Enter the “Four Corners of the Feet”.
The four corners are:
- The mound of the big toe (the ball of the foot by the big toe)
- The inner heel
- The pinky toe mound (the ball of the foot by the little toe)
- The outer heel
Here’s how it works; when you set up your feet in alignment with the sequential placement of the four corners, the muscles in the feet remember that they can in fact do some pretty cool stuff such as lifting the arch, spreading the toes, and otherwise making the feet much more fit to hold the body.
What does “feet in alignment” mean? Anatomical neutral is achieved by lining up the base of the second toe with the center of the ankle. You’ll also want to look at your feet and see if one foot rolls in or out more than the other, or if both roll in or out.
By setting the feet in anatomical neutral (sometimes referred to as parallel), placing the four corners of the feet, and then lifting the inner and outer sides of the feet to create balance, you can realign the ankles, fire up the calves, better support the knees, and make good things happen on up the body.
Try it in your seat (you may want to try one foot at a time till you get it)
- Make your legs parallel and line up your feet 2nd toe in line with the center of the ankle
- Lift your feet a touch off the floor and spread your toes
- place your big toe mounds down
- stretch from the big toe mound to the inner heel and place that down too
- stretch from the inner heel diaganolly to the pinky toe mound and place that
- lengthen from the pinky toe mound to the outer heel
- Now that you have all 4 corners of the feet placed and your feet are nice and awake, keep that and extend from your pelvis through your legs and out through your feet and toes. (This helps you not cramp up from working so hard in your feet.)