A Leg to Stand On

Throughout my many years of dance training, I heard countless teachers say that to do a really spectacular jump that had height, grace and stability, it was essential to line up your legs properly from beginning to end. Meaning that you want your hip to line up over your knee and your knee to line up over your foot. So what’s the correlation between alignment, support and function?

Today, I see countless clients who come in with hip, knee and foot problems that all stem from a misalignment of these components.

Let’s take a simple example: the foundation of a building. If you are going to construct a multi-story building and expect it to be safe and sound, you’d better build a proper foundation underneath it, so why would the fundamental concept be any different in our bodies?

Gravity is the same anywhere on earth, but the difference is that our bodies need to move around in space and do activities. The key is that our bodies must be aligned and adaptable. When the foundation of a building cracks, you can’t just leave it because over time, it will fall down. It’s the same with our bodies.

We need to have a sound foundation underneath us; our feet. They need to be able to move and change with our environment which allows for better support up the chain (knees, hips and on up). Our feet have as many bones in them as they do (26 bones!) for a reason. And that reason is adaptability. Imagine trying to run or walk up a hill with one big bone as a foot, it wouldn’t work very well. So we need those bones to be able to do their job, which they cannot do if the muscles, ligaments and connective tissue are twisted or constricted. In fact, this is one of the reasons that as people get older, they have a greater tendency to fall. They’ve lost adaptability and a connection to their feet.

Keeping our feet adaptable gives us a leg to stand on, literally. This helps the health and function of the knee and hip too. Of course, this can all work in reverse as well. A hip injury can cause instability of the knee and foot. But this concept applies not only in our example, but to the entire body.  Take away or injure one component of the structure and over time, you’re left with lack of function, stability and adaptability somewhere else.

The health and function of our bodies is essential whether we are trying to land a big jump or walk to the subway. We all can do a lot for ourselves to maximize our health but at times we need help to recognize what patterns in our bodies are harming us and could (or have) created injury. We need assistance is aligning the structure in a way that will prevent injury and wear and tear.  It’s a simple concept so if these misalignments present themselves in your body, take care of them now and you’ll save yourself years of pain, injury, replacements and falls. Even if you’ve already dealing with some of these problems, there is still hope because every body can find more adaptability, function and ease in movement with the appropriate intervention.