In this weeks microdose we're covering the relationship between feet and hips.
"I've never seen a foot that a hip couldn't fix"
That quote is by Charlie Weingroff (paraphrased, not exact) and after years of learning about foot health, I've found it to be true. It highlights that feet and hips are deeply interlinked and that a foot problem is almost always a hip problem in disguise.
While switching to natural footwear has an immediate positive impact on toe alignment and joint mobility, it's only half the equation when it comes to restoring a functional, resilient lower body and stable feet. The other half of the equation is our hips.
Rotation at our hip joint controls the orientation of the bones in our feet. That means that our hip function ultimately determines our ability to create an arch at the foot. Once that arch is created, our foot muscles can then activate to stabilize the bones.
If our hip joints are stiff and can't rotate naturally, our ability to optimally orient the bones of our feet to create a stable, dynamic arch becomes disabled.
What causes hip stiffness? prolonged periods of time spent in a single, fixed position when sitting in chairs.
An easy way to see first hand how your hip rotation affects the arch of your foot is to try this:
- Stand barefoot, hip width apart
- Bend your knees slightly
- While observing the arches of your feet, and without letting your feet come off the ground, push your knees outward and then inward
- What you will see is the arch of your foot lift and drop based on the rotation happening at your hips
(click HERE to watch a video if you're a visual person)
If our hips control the arches of our feet, then "flat feet" (and associated issues like plantar fasciitis) are in fact mostly a hip issue that shows up at the feet. Any plan to restore healthy feet must therefore consider hip function as a primary consideration. I see a lot of people trying to work on the foot in isolation but unless we treat the entire lower body as an integrated system, it's really hard to make meaningful progress.
- Natural footwear can significantly improve our local foot health but to restore strong, stable arches at the feet we need to look upstream at our hips
- Chair sitting creates stiffness at our hip joints which disables optimal foot motion and can lead to things like collapsed arches and plantar fasciitis
- Restoring natural mobility at our hips is an essential ingredient in the process of restoring a strong, stable, resilient lower body and a dynamic arch at the foot
Thanks for reading this microdose and for taking care of yourself.
In future microdoses we will cover simple daily habits that can help restore natural hip mobility and the importance of balance training for restoring optimal lower body health.