Do you want to know if your kids will grow up strong and healthy?
What’s the big deal? Well, if you think about how well your car would "turn" if you were driving on tires that were slightly on an angle, you start to get an idea. The feet, being the base of support for the whole body, must be aligned for the rest of the joints to also be aligned.
The reason this is so important to check for your children is that the earlier the correction the less damage, the shorter time to fix and better aligned the entire body will grow and develop.
Be your own researcher and take a look around. You might look all day before you see one person walking with their feet straight. However, that is only in “developed” countries. If you take a look at the feet of floor sitting, unshod, less sedentary communities you would probably need to look most of the day to find the feet pointing out.
Why? Well, walking is the most fundamental movement humans do and the ankle joint is the pulley system that activates the entire back chain of the body in this basic move. With the foot turned out, the ankle is working at an angle (see the Alignment Matters image) and the entire back chain is off. (Can you see which foot is straight and the ankle angle vs. the one that is not straight and how the ankle is working?).
You can then see the images on the bottom row with the hamstring tendons marked. Notice the the hamstring tendons are not on the back of the knee, but are instead on the outside of the leg in both the 7 year old and the 70 year old. However, in the 7 year old after image, we are able to sort of line them back up with some small adjustments.
Do you see the image of the feet with the grass? Those are strong, aligned feet yes? Without any training, it is somehow easy to see that these feet are the type of feet you’d like to have under your frame!
Studies have shown that the alignment of the feet are the most important piece for alignment of the pelvis (the base of your spine and your body’s center of gravity). So, really with the feet out of alignment you are like the leaning tower of Pisa and can only be so strong, so balanced, and so stable.
To best help your children grow up with the most strength, most stability and reduced chance of injury — teach them to align the outside edges of their feet to straight. It requires a ton of mindfulness and that is hard. But model it yourself, let them watch you, and work and remind each other together to have your strongest frame! If you need extra help, a Restorative Exercise Specialist in your area can help, perhaps your Physical Therapist, this handout, one of Katy Bowman’s books or get in touch with one of us at Pilates After School.
Get a marker and check your kids' hamstring tendons for a fun project today! To health and kindness for everyone!