Tutorial #2493

Foot Fetish

25 min - Tutorial


If you're a foot fanatic, then this is the tutorial for you! Rebekah Rotstein talks about the common issue of pronation and the reciprocal problems that often occur as a result. She also shows some of the methods that she uses to assist her clients and help her own feet and ankles to be able to continue the activities she loves.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Feb 14, 2016
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Hello, I'm Rebecca Rotstein and I'm here today with my friend Ruth Alpert to talk to you about the feet. So for all of you who are foot fanatics, this is the tutorial for you. We could go on many different paths talking about the feet, but to keep this brief, I thought it would be interesting to talk about a common issue of pronation and some quick fixes that can be helpful to all of us and also some reciprocal problems that can often occur as a result. So Ruth is here today and having no idea what I'm going to speak about because I think that is the best experience when it's very much a real life situation and real time. So we're going to take a look at her feet. I do know that she was explaining that as a former dancer, she's had some problems with her feet and I can also speak very personally to this. As a former ballet dancer, I've basically, um, destroyed my feet and also as a current tango dancer, I'm constantly abusing them more than I probably should. I've had my fair share of arthritis in the big toe. Um, neuromas, uh, that actually are now under control when I take care of my feet.

So I'm going to show you some of the methods that I do to keep my feet working and allowing me to continue to dance and to move as I like to. So before we start looking at Ruth's feet, let's talk about the bones of the foot. So we have the bones of the forefoot, which are comprised of the Phalanges, Metta tar souls. We have the bones of the midfoot, which are comprised of the three cuneiforms, number one, two, three. And people will consider the cuboid to be part of that as well.

Then we have the bones of the rear foot or the hind foot, which consists of the calcaneus as well as the Talus. So that might be familiar territory to you, but I'm going to try and offer some new insights into this. So Ruth, let's see your left foot. All right? You know what? Let me have you stand up and let's first just take a look to see what's happening with your feet. Are you, do you have the tendency to pronate or supinate? If you were just to totally relax, you're actually pretty good. So the reason I'm going to say that she's pretty good is I'm going to show you a little bit of my feet. It looks rather nice right here. Actually.

Let's see. Tell me what you see, Ruth. It looks, it looks pretty aligned. Okay. This is me trying hard because I want to see where I really am. Oh, and you notice how there's a whole spiral that occurs to the rest of my body as a result. So I'm, I'm a true pronator. But that's not to say that your issues are invalid. So I'm going to have you sit down again, we're going to take a look at some of these bones of your foot and how you can locate them on yourselves as well. So why don't you, let's do this. Actually, why don't you put this foot up here? Yeah.

So we're going to take a look at this foot. I don't want to spend too much time locating all of these bones, but I want to identify something that I think it's under-recognized. So we have these different bones of the feet. Right now there's actually 26 bones in the feet because I didn't actually mention the sesamoid bones underneath that many of us dancers are familiar with that can get bruised underneath it, that fat pad area. But we have these different arches.

So the bones comprise three different arches of the foot, which I like to say makes a vault because it's a three dimensional arch system. So we have this Longitudal Longitudinal medial arts here and you can see it in this foot. So the here we can see at the apex right at the top here is when we lose that apex, I should rather state is when you start to have the pronation occurring. Yeah. So I don't want to get too technical at this moment, but then on the other side, we have a lateral longitudinal arch. This is what I think often gets neglected. This the, the uh, keystone or the highest point of this arch, like they would say in architecture, is known as the cuboid. So this is the cuboid bone right here.

So if you were to lift your toes up, I mean it works actually a little, it's easier to see here. So if I were to lift my toes up here, you can see a little popping up directly underneath that. It's a little pocket, I call it. That's the cuboid. Yep. And relax your toes again and lift them again. So it's interesting, it doesn't pop up too much on you, but it's right here and it's, it's this little little area where there's a little space. So that's the cuboid bone. Now I'm going to give you a little story that I've, I uh, I'll share of my own experience of how significant the cuboid is to me. The cuboid is where I begin restoring the arches.

And I didn't mention the third arch is the transverse arch higher up in the, in the foot. So we're going to look at restoring all these arches, but they're all related to different problems with the foot, including pro nation and including, you'd mentioned that you've had a history of Neuroma, so in the right foot. Interesting. So we're going to take a quick look at that foot because in my experience with minor Roma, it gets exacerbated whenever my cuboid in my calcaneus and my talus are not functioning properly. And as soon as I restore the proper motion and positioning of them, I don't feel the neuroma pain. So yeah, that actually, that could explain why when I'm flat footing and we have a lot of gigs and I'm dancing a lot, my foot actually feels better. The neuroma actually sometimes feels better where you would think it would be worse cause I'm pounding on it. So it's interesting. Ruth just mentioned that her foot and her neuroma feels much better when she's dancing in a flat footed type of tapping kind of motion as opposed to articulating through the foot.

And that that's actually what's working my ankle so much because she was just saying there's a lot more work that's occurring to her ankles at that point. So coming back to what I started to talk about with the cuboid, here's my interesting story. I remember years ago actually I was going through my plotty certification. Um, I was, I was going for a run out in the woods and it was beautiful and I experienced for the first time in my life that runner's high that I never had had previously, and I just kept going and going longer than I'd ever gone before. Well, the next day I couldn't walk. I was in so much pain, the excruciating pain that was up through the fibula, or actually it was really through the peroneal on the side of the fibula and I went to my osteopath. It turns out that my cuboid bone had dropped. So when you lose that arch, that lateral arch, it indicates then that you're not going to have that support through the rest of the foot.

And it also then pulls and cause an extra strain basically on the peroneal. So I'm going to show you some ways to restore the cuboid bone because I think that that's the first place to start when you're dealing with pronators. Believe it or not, even though everybody wants to start with the media lurch. All right. So let's take a look at, Oh, before I take a look at some of the feat exercises, I also want to mention that that cuboid is also very much directly related to the Talus bone and that when you roll in, it's a problem with the Tallis. And part of that issue with the Talus is it's the one bone in the foot that doesn't have any muscular attachments. Yeah.

So there's no, there's no muscular attachments there, which is what makes it really unique. And as a result it requires integrity of the fashion network as well as with the ligamentous structures in order to stay supported. So we're going to look at how we can integrate the whole foot in order to restore the positioning of the Talus and the proper gliding that has to occur. Um, the other thing that I also wanna mention about this Tallus is it, it has a very significant relationship to the fibula and for myself when this goes out, cause it goes out, unfortunately quite a lot and it doesn't help when I'm wearing heels dancing all the time. But when the fibula is not mobilizing properly, the talus basically is a lost cause. So I also very often believe that we have to start looking at the fibula.

So we're going to let, I'm going to show you a bunch of little exercises that hopefully will help your foot and give you a little bit more, um, attention to it. So let me ask you to stand first just to give you a baseline to see where you are and how you feel. Yeah, so this is great from this angle. Now let's look at it from a different angle. So why don't you face away and step forward [inaudible] and bend your knees here and straighten and do it once again. Bend and straighten so I can, I do see a significant, it's small, but a significant difference between the right and the left ankle.

And this is where these muscles come into play as well as the positioning of the ankle joint. So for instance, just for some anatomical background, let's give some names to some of these joints. So the ankle joint, true therapy, can Joe Harvey exactly. Well, we'll give them some other names just for the time being. So this is, this ankle joint is known as the tail curl joint. It's where the Talus meets the leg. So it's where the Talus bone comes and joins the Tibia. So that's the true ankle joint for Plantar endorsee flection. But then underneath that is the sub tailored joint, which is underneath the Talus.

And that's where the rotation comes in as well as the pronation issue becomes, um, a big concern, particularly because it, it slides off this little ledge. This is my favorite, one of my favorite landmarks. It's called the sustentacular taillight. It's just such a cool name, but I've seen some really, um, I almost want to say, uh, tragic situations with clients where the Talus is not resting on that sustentacular taillight at all. And literally the whole ankle is practically touching the ground. So that's in the worst case scenario. Fortunately we don't have that here, but we also want to maintain the integrity of all the arches of the foot. So Ruth, why don't you sit down again, first off, let's do what I call the squishy foot. So Cross your, your ankle over and we're going to just grab the bottom foot.

That made no sense. We're going to grab the foot from the bottom. Yup. But you're going to make it so that you can actually see the bottom of your foot. And I'll just move it around and notice how squishy it is. Actually, we're not gonna move the ankle, we're just moving the foot. So basically I'm going to take the two feet we have here in one is ridiculously hyper mobile. We're going to move the forefoot [inaudible] so we're just twisting it back and forth. [inaudible] and I like what you're doing of stabilizing the rear foot in the process and even the mid foot. Now try and do that with the rear foot.

And notice how there's not that much movement. It's much more rigid. And this is a biomechanical structure that is created purposely for gate, actually for mobilization and for ambulation. Now, first thing after this is to take your thumbs and just give yourself a gentle little spreading, a gentle little massage because this area can get really tight and B can become a little bit, um, congested. Let's say. Now try moving your foot around ankle to your foot and your ankle. Sorry, and compare it to the other one so everybody can try this as well.

Notice the difference, right? Yeah, actually you can, that's pretty fantastic. It's a really, really remarkable difference in the color in the foot that we were just dealing with versus the other one. So part of the reason that I wanted to do this is to acknowledge this relationship between the third and the fourth toes. All right, I'm going to take the non hypermobile foot. So a body worker that I worked with once pointed out to me something that I have found to be pivotal for my foot. That the third one, that should be the fourth and fifth toes here relate to the rear foot and it makes total sense. If you look at the foot, notice how they, they, uh, not only relate, but they attach directly into the cuboid bone. And that cuboid bone then becomes part of the rear foot, which is why I'm also some, I don't always like to call the cuboid as part of the midfoot.

I like to think of it as the rear foot because of this relationship to the cal canus. So the neuroma though is happening usually in that direct area. And that's exactly where I feel it. And sometimes you can feel it between the second and third, but this is where the irritation occurs. Whenever the cuboid, the navicular, excuse me, the navicular and the Talus are not coagulating, are not articulating well. So as we start to restore the movement here, I find that the neuroma just goes away. So we're going to see if that can happen. Alright, next exercise though.

Doming and I want you to just stay with that one foot. We're not gonna do anything to the other foot. So the, um, why don't you switch places with me here. The doming exercise. Well, actually that's great. You can do it right here. The doming exercise is pivotal because it works the intrinsic muscles of the foot. So we've got these muscles that are only, uh, let me rephrase that. We only have, we have muscles that are only going into the heel that are remaining within the foot. Those are known as the intrinsic muscles of the foot. Extrinsic muscles of the foot are the ones that begin within the toes or within the midfoot, but then go all the way up into the leg.

We have a lot of weakness in those intrinsic muscles, particularly the ones that are known as the, and those are the muscles that allow you to lift your arch or restore your arch without curling your toes because they don't attach into the toes. So if you start curling your toes, you're not working. Lumber, Coles. So try and let's a, have you faced this way a little bit more? There we go. Now curl up, curl up through your toes for a second, just curl your toes. There's a lot of validity to that and that's where we deal with our prehensile.

So that's, that's great. But it's not working. The lumber, Coles. So to work the lumber Coles, I want you to think of suctioning up underneath. Yes. Wow. You do a beautiful suction and relax and again, nice and relax and suction. [inaudible] that's a terrific way to strengthen the, the entire dome. Uh, and I would say the vault of the foot.

Now sometimes that might be challenging if the cuboid is not properly lifted. So this is a technique that I do to lift my cuboid. Let's have you stand up here. Well, you know what? Why don't you face this direction face away from me. [inaudible] I'm going to pee.

I take just a little a dish rag or to be honest, I often don't even have that. So I'll use something like a sock and I'll just take a sock and place it underneath that area where the cuboid is. Now this is a little too far forward. Let's scoot back a little bit. There you go. Do you feel that support underneath the cuboid here? [inaudible] Hey, let me try that again.

Um, what am I feeling? I'm feeling a lot more in the center of my foot. Not so much on the keyboard. So supporting, I just don't. Yep, that's fine. So I was just asking Ruth if she felt the support underneath the cuboid here. She was telling me she doesn't know if she's feels that so much there, but she does feel this whole base of support that is being lifted and elevated throughout the center of the foot and that's fine. So bend your knee now and straight and so it's a little plea a and straightening and again, plea a and straighten and I usually will do this maybe about five to 10 times and at the end of doing that it helps restore the natural height of my cuboid and it helps restore that lateral arch, which is the same thing that we're going to end up doing in our reformer workout shortly because the key to all this foot work is that it's wonderful, but it has to be integrating the full body as well. It's not enough just to do these exercises on the feet, but this is just to give you a couple quick little tips. All right, so we're going to take this out now. The next.

Now she feels the support. Okay. Yes. So sometimes it's not immediate. It's afterwards where that support is now absent that you feel the change that has occurred within the body. All right, next I was talking about the fibula and how the fibula can be problematic. So here's, here's an example. We can sit down for a second. Yesterday, I'm walking here, I'm not walking here. I was flying here, flying here from New York City. I wasn't walking and I'm in the airport and I know exactly, that's why I have the feet problems. So I arrive at the airport at lax and I could just feel my, my Talus was very off, my cuboid was off.

I could feel it as it's shifted up into my hip and I could feel some back pain as a result. So I wasn't about to go in the middle of lax and take off my socks and start doing this, um, exercise to restore my cuboid. But I could feel it was also from my fibula. So of course there are exercises you could do where you could place the ball underneath the calf, which is a whole other thing. But we don't always have the luxury of time of being in a place that we can do that. So here's my alternative. Now this is also a little weird looking, but you can go into the bathroom to do this. So you're gonna turn around, let me go there and yeah, in Lex, I don't know, it might, it might be fine.

So we're going to take one knee and we're gonna place it right around the area of where that interosseous membrane is between the fibula and the tibia bones. Remember the Tibia is the weight bearing bone. The Fibula is the strut on the side, which has to move in all three dimensions every time we move our ankle joint. When it doesn't move in all three directions, it affects and inhibits the motion of the ankle. There we go. And part of it actually happens from stomping because you're not actually articulating fully through the bones.

So we're gonna do a little release that's going to restore some of the movement of the Fibula. So I'm going to do it on my left side, cause this is my problematic your side, you'll do it for your right one. So you're going to take, you're going to take your left knee and bend your standing knee and you're gonna place it directly there. B, this is for on your foot directly here. And this is the area around the Soleus, actually in part of the gas Strock as well. But nope, you're gonna place it directly in that icky area of the lateral calf. Can you feel that? If you go down a little bit further and you might want to even lift your free foot up [inaudible] so you're going to slide.

It's like you're giving yourself a massage. She goes, oh, that's it. Yes. So your, that's, that's the area. Let me get it on the right foot. Again, that's, that's the area that can inhibit that movement. And you're also releasing some of the Fascia. So you've got this whole Fascia Cra, which is the, it's like a sock.

It's a great big compression stocking basically of the whole compartment of the leg. The leg meaning this limb right here or this part of the limb. Lower limb. Yep. And go a little bit lower. Everybody. I hope you can try this as well. It's extremely effective. And now rise up though and see the difference in your foot. Move your foot around.

Let's see if she can walk though. The goal is not to do, not do the club foot. Uh, because the problem is that will, that is part of what leads to the restriction and the inhibition of the connective tissue and the muscles within the leg. Yeah. So now you can get that nice gliding sensation maybe. Yeah. Turn this way so everybody can see the difference. A little bit of that before and after. All right, we're not done.

We have a couple more exercises to do here. Next. Wow. Yeah. Right. Okay. So now sit in face me. Okay. We're going to look at this right foot and let me grab the right foot to mimic it. Just hold that there. The biomechanics there of the ankle joint in every time you point and flex your foot or like when you were doing a point in the exercise points in flex on the reformer is such that when you go into Dorsi flection, this talus bone right here is going to glide backward and it creates space for the Dorsey flection to occur with reciprocal movement through the Fibula.

But we're not going to go into the fibular action right now and that every time you plan to flex your put your, your foot, the Talis will glide forward and enable more of this support in the front of the foot. So there's a reason for this. It's called a mortise joint. Now Ruth happens to have very beautiful feet. I'm just going to move this out of the way for our viewers here. I like to give just a little assisted action on this, particularly for people who have trouble retaining and finding or I should say finding and then retaining that neutral position of the Talus. So I like to give a little bit of resistance.

So I'm going to have your Dorsey flex and pull your toes up to your face, but begin with your toes. [inaudible] continue, continue, continue, continue, continue. And Ruth is doing a really good job because what you'll often see is a rotation throughout the forefoot in the process. And then you're going to push down and technically there is a rotation because I want to be really clear that the feet have a spiraling action. Everybody, by the way, should be stupid knitting and pronating. Every single time you take a step, there's a whole twist that goes on.

So to think that it's bad, your pro nade is silly. It just excessive pronation in certain positionings is where it becomes a problem. So again, pull up through your toes, pull your toes up toward your face and yes, and then think of reaching your heel outward at the same time to initiate that gliding action and then push downward through the forefoot. And especially through the big toe ball of the foot. Because usually people lose that action and continuing like that. One more time, pulling the toes up towards your face. And I usually you're, you're not too bad at this, but I usually will have to tell people to leave from the Pinky side because I'll see this action. And you can see that that is where we come into some of the ankle, um, inversion issues and then leading from the big toe as you go back down to maintain a level platform in front of you. Nice.

And then doing that can also start to help with the mobilization of and strengthening around the fibula, which a good point that we were just talking about is the new name that is referred to a of what was the, what were the perennials is now the [inaudible] longest, etc. So if you've heard of it in those terms, you'll know what we're talking about. Orange and poetic and poetic. And finally, if we want to take this into a weight-bearing situation, let's have you stand up. Stand in front of me here. [inaudible] and I'd like to see you do irrelevant. So lift your heels up.

Nice. You've done a beautiful job because the calcaneus are spiraling inward, which is what should happen as you come into this Relevate position, lower back down as opposed to, this is something that I see a lot and you may be familiar with this, is the ankles moving out from one another and so it's not just a matter of them tracking, it's a matter of movement through the calcaneus. So interesting. I feel very unstable because the foot, we didn't work. Ah, like out to one. That's so interesting. Ruth was just saying that hurts. She feels actually very unsteady, which surprised me.

But then she said the reason is because the foot that she didn't work, it just feels like it hasn't been worked and it, it's basically begging for the workout. No, at this point. So let's have you go up and down a couple times and just take a look at what's happening here. That looks great. So now I'm seeing really nice ankle tracking on her right foot as she bends and straightens the knee and lift your toes for a second as well. Yeah, and there's a big difference now in terms of equal distribution going on through the foot. So in a way, this could be an entire workshop, but instead we're just taking a couple quick little tips in an understanding of, of the structures of the foot, and a couple of things that you can do to help yourselves if you've ever suffered from issues related to perhaps pro nation or a neuromas or any kind of other similar situations. So thank you. Bye.


2 people like this.
Thanks, Rebekah, wonderful! Foot health is a big concern for both me and my clients, and I always incorporate foot articulation/mobilisation/strengthening in my classes. You have expanded further on this for me and I'm going to incorporate the interosseus fib/tib release prior to the releves from now on.
It was refreshing to hear the anatomical terms. When teaching and working with clients it is not practical to use these terms, most people have no anatomical education. So thank you for referring to them as a refresher.
What a very insitefull teotorial, thank you
4 people like this.
Thank you Rebekah. Your knowledge is presented so effortlessly. You are a great role model. I am proud to be one of your Buff Bones Instructors. Our culture of sitting and stiff shoes, brings us clients who need foot motion for healthy mobility.
1 person likes this.
Rebekah you rock! This tutorial was straight forward and understandable. I always learn so much from you, thank you and thanks "Pilates Anytime" .
Loved it loved it !!! Want more, want more !!!
Thank you you everyone! I only intended to speak for 15 minutes but there is so much to say about the foot and ankle and I wanted to keep going! Another time, another workshop, more fun for future... (And Kathleen - I too am honored to have you as one of our Buff Bones® instructors!)
Would love Rebekah Rotstein to do more tutorials!!! Really appreciated this one!
Thank you, Rebecca...you are speaking to the deep biointelligence of the body and I am so excited to see more of that on Pilates Anytime! I also love to use the interosseus membrane release that you did standing up with your knee pressing into the opposite calf...I gently pull the middle of the gastroc muscle as my client is straightening their legs on the reformer Footwork..it's delicious, and so awareness building for whole body integration! xwendy
1 person likes this.
Thank you! Feet are the base, many problems start here!! (Knee,Back…)
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