Our feet are the foundation of our body. Full stop.
Sure, we may be spending more time than ever stuck at our desks, but our feet carry all of the load of our body weight when we’re upright and moving around. Because of the kinetic chain—aka the muscles, joints, and body segments that work together to initiate movement—the health of your foot and ankle joints directly affects the alignment of your knees, hips, back, and neck.
There are few different reasons our alignment can be compromised: pronation or supination of the foot (the arch caving in or out—check the wear at the bottom of your shoes to see if this is happening); overexertion and fatigue; and even the type of footwear you use. This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard that heels are terrible for your alignment, but flip-flops and slides can be just as bad since they require the foot muscles to be “on” the entire time, which causes a lot of strain.
In addition to treating our tootsies to more supportive footwear, there’s something else you can do to ground and relax the foot muscles. Let me introduce you to two strategies: practicing proper alignment, and treating yourself to self-myofascial release work (aka foam rolling). Supporting the feet with restorative exercises can help ease chronic aches and pains in the rest of your body—even in places like the pelvic floor. It can also lead to better core strength, along with better muscle tone and activation in the foot itself.
Ready to put these techniques into action? Below, I demonstrate how to find your proper alignment and how to roll out your feet for some relief.