As the cold days set in I find my feet tend to get tighter as I wear thicker boots/heavier soles and generally the cold makes them feel stiff. Most clients come to me with issues of the knee and hip and I urge them to start from the foot/ankle. Factors that affect the ankle/knee/hip alignment are:
🔹Instep. Are you flat footed/distrubuting weight evenly.
🔹Toe alignment. Do you have bunions or do the toes align inward/outward?
🔹Tightness in the calves or shins. The most common tightness I see in the shin is the tibialis anterior.
🔹Tightness in the plantar fascia (the squishy or not so squishy bit under your foot). Tightness here can radiate all the way up your back fascial line to your calves, hamstrings and lower back!
🔹Tracking. Do your knees track over the centre toe when you bend and straighten (when the knee cap is pulled up, easier to see when doing plies seated)
🔹Do you have even strength in the quadriceps? Yes there are 4 muscles there even thought they are commonly referred to as one! (I am thankful that most clients do @barrecore because we work in parallel, turned out and inverted so this usually isn't a problem)
🔹Do you have tightness in the hip flexors/psoas? This can affect how your pelvis is aligning itself over the knees and ankles. Anterior/posterior tilts can cause short but weak muscles, so we often think that we are strong when really it is tightness we feel!
🔹Do you wear footwear that is appropriate for your foot? So many of us squeeze into shoes that are too small, too big, soles wearing away, boots that move around our foot with a life of their own! You can workout for 5 hours a week and STILL you spend more than 8 hours per day in footwear which affects your posture more than any pilates/barre class can.
🔹Bodyweight placement. As a dancer I was always taught to be on the front of the foot, so I can be ready for quick weight changes. A lot of clients I see, sit back in the heel which often causes the pelvis to excessively push forward to counter balance, creating long but weak hip flexors. Check your plum line!
How are your feet today? Try the above exercises to give your feet some TLC! 🤗