I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet
– Helen Keller
Each foot has approximately the same number of bones as the entire spine and over 100 muscles! Thats a whole lot of work and plenty of reasons to look after those twinkle toes!
Does this make our feet twice as important as our spine?
Your proprioceptors grow within the joints, muscles and tendons. With each bone joining the next, your foot is chocca block with proprioceptors. What are they you ask? Proprioceptors are sensory receptors that tell us where we are in space when we are moving. With so many proprioceptors in our feet, this may be the key to cueing from the feet first!
Feet are the antennas to the spine. Want to learn more curious facts about the lower limbs that will make you a better Pilates teacher?
- Every step we take is a communication opportunity from the foot upwards. As our foot strikes the ground, messages are sent to the body telling us what the surface is like, how safe we are and how we should proceed. The foot communicates directly to a muscle in the body called the psoas and when they get talking we can move with confidence and joy. The health of our feet and how our feet operate can have a positive or a negative feed back to the spine which in turn effects the way we walk, run and move around.
- Plantar faciitis is extremely common in 40 – 70 year olds and has a high recurrence rate without proper care. By strengthening and lengthening muscles from the skull to the achilles, sufferers can get long term relief from the debilitating pain
- Plantar fasciitis pain is more prevelant in the morning when we first step out of bed. Wearing a pair of slippers or soft house shoes can help ease into the morning.
- Plantar fasciitis affects mostly women ages 40 – 70
- while plantar fasciitis can be managed through better foot mechanics, the underlying issue of poor posture and poor lifestyle is often overlooked. Pilates can play a pivotal role in long term management by correcting poor posture and improving movement.
- The first shoe dates back to 3500 BC. People have been having foot problems ever since! In fact, Tom Myers coined shoes ‘leather foot coffins’
Did you know that each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments, together, thats twice the amount of bones in your entire spine! That may seem like a lot of anatomy in a relatively small package, but then again, your feet are charged with the very important task of supporting the entire body and communicating to the spine during movement. In fact between each joint and within each tendon lives your proprioceptors. Proprioceptors are directly responsible for communicating with your body in movement so that you can run, jump and walk without falling over. Known as the antennas to your spine, your feet relay important information to your spinal cord with every step you take. You can thank your feet for that!
The cumulative weight of waking or running can amount to several hundred kilograms every single day which makes feet very susceptible to injury due to mechanical failure. Three out of four people suffer a foot injury during their lifetime and some of the more common injuries are preventable with good foot health including structure, mechanics and movement habits. Bare foot exercise programs can change the way your foot works simply by getting out of the very shoes that you thought would support you.
Part of what may make babies’ feet kissably cute is their structure: All babies are born with a pad of fat where an arch would normally be in an adult foot, which makes them appear flat and adoringly chubby. In fact, arches don’t usually show up until children are about 2 ½ years old. The arch of the foot develops as we start to walk, bearing weight and creating rebound for our whole body. But wait, there’s more…
The arch of the foot has a neurological connection to your pelvic floor, and is one of your 4 primal arches. In fact people with hypertonic (over-active) pelvic floor can often have a high arch and people with hypotonic (under-active) pelvic floor may have a flatter, softer arch. Both extremes result in weak pelvic floor tone. When the arch of the foot activates properly, our pelvic floor responds against gravity to support our pelvic bowl and pelvic organs when we walk, run, sit and stand. This makes our feet the very foundation of our core and the keystone to a strong, supported posture!
Are you seriously ready to immerse yourself in a learning experience like no other? Join us in Bali in 2020 for 2 full days of workshops for the savvy movement educator.