“Ah, don’t look at my feet!”
“I’m getting a pedicure later today!”
“I’m not taking off my socks and subjecting you to looking at my feet!”
These are phrases heard all throughout a Pilates studio. This is because Pilates is done with all those little piggies uncovered. They need to wrap around the footbar, hold firm during an up stretch, and grip the platform extender for side splits. We need to keep our feet strong and flexible as much as any part of our body. The ankle and foot are made to move in a great variety of angles to provide stability and dexterity so we can get ourselves over all sorts of terrain from hard rocky ground to pliable soft sand.
- Wearing flip flops mess with your posture because your foot doesn’t bend the way it does when it is bare.
- Wearing high heels can lead to painful muscle fatigue and strain already formed injuries in hips and knees. They also alter our posture and gait.
If we don’t get out of our shoes, the small muscles that keep us balanced and steady in our feet will be at risk for atrophy from disuse. If the smaller muscles are too weak to support your foot and ankle, your body reacts by increasing tension where it can, which is in your bigger muscles further up your leg in your ankle and calf.
My favorite Pilates Reformer moves for the feet include Running, Stomach Massage, and Develope. The next time your do them in a class, focus on fully moving through the plantar flexion and dorsiflexion.
If you MUST cover your feet, try some toe-less, heel-less options as shown in the photo, or at least have socks with some good grip on the bottom. But always be prepared to bare-all for certain moves so that you stay safe.
So, let’s take off our shoes and socks with gusto! Let’s not apologize for the condition of our feet! We are making them strong to take us where we want to go so we DON’T cry all the way home!