I made this video for a client of mine who recently sprained her ankle, and thought I would post it here as well. It's a great series of exercises to do to strengthen your ankles for dance or sports conditioning, or if you've been wearing too many heels this holiday season! Because ankle and foot flexibility play a key role in allowing the knee to move in a healthy range of motion, these exercises can also help with knee pain. I recommend doing this set of exercises daily (if you're a runner or a dancer, do them before you move).
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I was working with a client today, and she was mentioning how Pilates was helping her feel that her core was getting stronger, but it she still had knee pain when she was walking. We started our usual workout, then after some exercises on Cadillac, I asked her to walk across the floor, and what I saw on Cadillac was I also saw in her stride right away. When she was working on Cadillac, her springs were veering right, and so was her right foot when she was walking. So we started adjusting her gait by paying attention to how she was placing her foot, and guess what? It. changed. everything. Suddenly she had better posture and weight transfer as she was walking.
So what does this teach us about our Powerhouse? Change starts at the center. If she hadn't put the time in to strengthen her Powerhouse, it wouldn't have mattered how we placed her feet. But her strong center let the change happen. Without the lift in her core, we wouldn't have been able to adjust where her placed her feet. Without stability in her hips in leg springs, I wouldn't have been able to see that her feet were veering right, it just would have looked unstable over all.
Change in Pilates is systemic. It will start with one thing - some strength at center, some elongation in the torso, and then slowly change will happen. Not all at once. This client has been taking Pilates for about a year. She started her lesson saying that her knee pain hadn't gone away yet, even though she's stronger. But with a trained eye, a teacher can watch and see, and then gradually guide more change.
Pilates can change what we've done all our lives. The new foot placement was so unfamiliar, so odd to feel, my client thinks she's been walking out of alignment for years without noticing. A fun project is to look at pictures of yourself as you've grown up and watch for posture changes. When did your feet start to turn out? When did you start to slump? Do you see the same posture mirrored in your parents or siblings?
But no matter what you see, honor the journey that your feet have traveled, then take a closer look. What have they been up to down there?
So as you can tell by my feet, I'm getting excited for my brother's wedding because my toes never look this good, I've done some dance with my baby bunion, and been getting some sun with the kids. Some good space between the toes now, thanks to Pilates. What about your feet? What story do they tell?