Do you have a functional foot?
Feet are really the foundation to so much of movement, but we don't often treat our feet well-tight narrow shoes, sitting too much, heels, cleats... think of how a beautiful toddler foot looks:
And then what happens as we age? Weakened intrinsics and an underused medial foot column lead to bunions, flat feet, and pain in the foot, and bad mechanics up the leg and kinetic chain.
Here's a fun little exercise you can do to see how your foot stacks up.
1. Get two pieces of paper, each big enough to fit your entire foot, and get a pen.
2. In standing, draw a line around your entire foot, one on each paper.
3. Now, we're going to draw a Meyer's line on each foot. First, mark a dot on the center of your heel on each foot. Then draw a dot on the center of the big toe joint (the first metatars0phalageal joint, as illustrated below).
Now use a ruler to connect the dots, and extend the line through your big toe.
What should happen? In a functional foot, that Meyer's line will extend right through the big toe. If your big toe is turning into hallux valgus, or crossing in toward your second toe (toward bunion territory), the line will extend on the inside of the toe. This means that weight is not distributing through that big toe when you walk, which makes the rest of your foot (and thus your leg) move incorrectly.
I'll post about a great basic foot exercise next time! And if you've thought about overhauling your shoes, even just your sneakers, there's no time like the present. Let me know if you have questions.