Our parents shoved them into boxes sooner than we could even walk or talk. We continue that trend by enclosing them into work boots, high heels, away from the sun, away from the grass and mud, deprived of stimulus and well deserved TLC. I’m talking about your feet. They take us everywhere, and for the majority of humans, we give them little attention . . . . Unless they’re screaming with the symptom of pain.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not demonizing shoes at all, so don’t expect an exclusion diet of footwear to help your health. Instead I’m recognizing that shoes are not going anywhere anytime soon. Nothing we can do about that. What we CAN do something about is the feet we BRING to our shoes and our walking, and working out, climbing, jumping, sitting etc.
If you’ve never heard of it before, lets get up close and personal with:
For this move you’ll be lying on your back as pictured. Leave one leg straight on the floor and hug the other knee towards your chest. Some of you can’t do that (yet) so if you need to, grab a belt and take it behind the knee, holding one end of the strap in each hand.
Before you start the movement, lets check your alignment. Your straight leg should have 4 load bearing joints in a straight line. Ankle, Knee, Hip and Shoulder. The knee and foot should be pointing straight up as best you can, that means stay active in your hip, gravity will want to draw a relaxed leg outward. Resist that with a little effort and keep the leg straight with toes up.
The leg you’re hugging in has to be aligned too. The shin is parallel to the floor, that means don’t let your heel come close to your butt. Also you want to keep the same straight line between your ankle knee and hip. Your hip will tend to rotate outward the deeper you pull it. This angles the knee out. Don’t let that happen. Again, resist that outward deviation with a little effort. Use your muscles and hold it in line.
Keep your head and shoulders on the floor relaxed. If you can’t, then go get the belt I mentioned above. Your biceps will do some work, but this shouldn’t be like an abdominal crunch.
Now the movement.
Let your toes become the initiators. Give them some stimulus and let them lead the whole ankle and foot in a complete outward circle 40 times. NO MOVING YOUR KNEE! If you notice your knee ‘bouncing’, keep it still. Its movement is a clue to what is compensating in your body, and getting this move dialed in will change those muscles. After you finish 40 one way, go for the inward rotation.
Feeling tired? Burning? Thats ok. Welcome to muscles that don’t work. I’m kidding of course, but seriously they’re not used to actually working in concert! Thats why it feels so challenging. All of the tissue is working, fascia, muscles, nerves you name it, YOU FEEL IT!
One more move before you switch legs. Point and Flex. Its in the title. Through the ankle, point your toes as far away from your body as you can, (plantarflexion) then pull them as close to your shin as you can (dorsiflexion). Do that 40 times.
Great Stand Alone Move
Reduces Thoracic and Pelvic Rotation
Addresses Pelvic Disparities
Teaches the Hips and Shoulders to Align
Encourages Hip Flexor Engagement
Encourages Pelvic Separation
Addresses Hip Knee Ankle Foot Pain
Pain is not something to be feared, it is something to be understood. For most of us we already understand that we don't move enough, or with necessary quality. This is one way to add that stimulus to your daily routine. You brush your teeth, wipe your ass, get dressed (sometimes). . . To live well, we must also MOVE WELL.