Your Feet!

Let’s talk feet!  What are your feet looking like?

Next time you put your feet on the foot bar, lift your head up and check them out!  Where are your ankles?  Are they rolling to the outside (towards the toe that went wee, wee, wee, all the way home)?  Or to the inside (towards the big toe that went to the market)?  We are striving for a position that aligns the ankle to be directly over the ball of the foot, with the weight of your body evenly pressing into the middle of the ball of your foot in a neutral position, without supinating or pronating.  Now what the heck does this mean?  And what does a neutral ankle position mean?  Check out the picture below of what a neutral ankle position looks like so that you have a point of reference.
Note how the ankle is over the ball of the foot and the client here is neither pressing into the inside or outside of of foot.  This alignment is important because we are developing strength and stability in the supporting muscles of the foot, ankle, and calf to support the ankle in a healthy position.    
Pronation refers to the inward rolling of your ankle (towards the big toe and instep).  This is very common if you have a flat arch.  In the picture below, the client’s feet are in an excessive amount of pronation.  If you pronate, you will feel a lot of pressure into the big toe and the first and second metatarsals when pressing into the foot bar.
Supination refers to the outward rolling of your ankle (towards the pinky toe).  This is a common tendency if you have very high arches in your feet.  Check out the client’s feet now in the picture below.  Note how there’s not a lot of contact with the big toe on the foot bar here in this position.  If you supinate, you will feel a lot of pressure in the fourth and fifth metatarsals of your feet as you press against the foot bar.  In supination, the muscles and ligaments of the outer ankle become overstretched and lengthened, making it susceptible to sprains or twists.
Once you understand what supination and pronation of the ankle is and the difference between them, have a look at your own feet next time you are on the reformer.  Do you tend towards one way or the other?  And if so, can you self correct to line up your ankles in a more neutral position?  It is especially important to be in a neutral ankle position when doing exercises like footwork on the reformer, because you want to develop strength and stability in the surrounding muscles and ligaments of the foot and ankles so that you have a strong foundation to stand on.
Without our feet, we can not stand!  So take care of them.
Katie

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3 Responses

  1. Great article, Katie. Feet are my nemesis as you know. Due to (now we know) permanent nerve damage in one foot I cannot feel the sole most of the time. Weird. So I need to take all this advice and more. Definitely have been looking at my placement since one is going rogue!

  2. Do you have beginner instruction ? I’m a 67 year old ex professional equestrian . Looking for gentle but effective core strengthening and flexibility .have stayed fit and active all my life until recently. Have heard great things about reconstructive Pilates . Thanks patty walkup

  3. Hi Patty!

    Yes, Pilates of Charleston can most certainly be of assistance! I think Private sessions will be of most value to you! May I have your permission to email you privately through our studio email?

    Elizel and Katie

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