How Can Pilates Help Your Feet? Tuesday, 14th August 2018

Did you know the foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and over one hundred muscles, ligaments and tendons? 

The ankle is composed of three joints.  The talocrural joint, the subtalar joint (also called talocalcaneal), and the inferior tibiofibular joint. 

The ankle joint (or talocrural joint) is a synovial joint. Functionally, it is a hinge joint which allows dorsiflexion (upward bend) and plantar flexion (downward point)  of the foot.  It is formed by the bones of the leg and the foot – the tibia, fibula and talus. 

The subtalar joint is formed by the talus and calcaneus while the midtarsal joint is formed by the articulations between the calcaneus and cuboid bones laterally and the talus and navicular bone medially. These joints are responsible for inversion (sole of foot tilts inward towards midline of body) and eversion (sole of foot tilts away from the midline of body) in the frontal plane.

There are two types of muscles in the foot, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic muscles are the gastrocnemius and soleus (calf muscles), tibialis anterior (muscles in front of the shin bone), peroneals (muscles on the outside of the lower portion of the leg) etc. Extrinsic muscles are the big movers.  They act on the ankle and other joints within the foot. These muscles are larger, more powerful and much more frequently used than the intrinsic muscles. Intrinsic muscles, however, are small and they originate and act only on the joints within the foot. Intrinsic muscles are stabilisers and are also responsible for moving and wriggling the toes.

Our feet have such an important role!  We use them all day long for most things that we do yet we do not give much thought when it comes to our feet and exercise programs.  We walk daily, go to the gym, run for kilometres, dance the night away in ill fitting heels, stand at concerts for long periods of time and sometimes our shoes are so ill fitting that I have heard of people getting a cab just to go out a few hundred metres down the road because they were unable to walk in their toe cramping, high heel shoes….all in the name of fashion......and pain!

Foot weakness and imbalances can lead to poor foot mechanincs and poor foot mechanics can lead to knee, hip and back pain and other issues stemming throughout the kinetic chain. 

Pilates focuses on the body as a whole, including the feet.  Depending on the exercise and what the person needs, Pilates exercises will work our ankles, feet, arches and toes on the mat and against the resistance of the springs which can help to strengthen, stabilise and mobilise the feet.  It is important to keep these muscles and joints in good working order and a well balanced Pilates program will help to keep the feet strong, balanced and healthy.

To keep a step ahead (pun intended) in your health, always look after your feet.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at Art Of Pilates, Neutral Bay.

Belinda x