THE FOOT and TOE CORRECTORS
Have you seen these small pieces of equipment in the Pilates studio and wondered “What are they for?” Most of you have probably tried out the Reformer, the Tower and maybe even the Chair, but these little pieces of equipment can make a huge impact on how we carry ourselves throughout our daily lives!
Both devices were developed by Joseph Pilates. The Foot Corrector is used to help strengthen the feet, increase flexibility and lift in the arches, as well as help to correct deformities and relieve foot pain. The Toe Corrector is also a strengthening and correcting device and can even help with those nasty bunions! It is used to strengthen the toe joints and helps the alignment of the big toe and the foot to the hip. It actively restores the natural alignment of the big toe and helps with discomfort, pressure and inflammation caused by bunions. Both the Foot Corrector and Toe Corrector were designed to build a strong foundation in the feet while encouraging core stability and proper body alignment.
When our feet are “alive and tuned in” we live better. We spend most of our day with our feet in shoes and socks, which actually causes our feet to become “anesthetized”. Our shoes, slippers, and even our socks are like sensory deprivation chambers for our feet! Our feet are the most used and probably the least taken care of part of the body. We expect our feet to propel us through space and get us where we want to go every day, (kind of like we expect our car to start when we turn the key).
We are vertical creatures – our soles are the only part of our body touching the planet, which is a small part compared to our larger surfaces like our glutes and thighs.
We have 26 bones in each foot, ⅓ of all the bones in our whole body! 33 joints … 19 muscles … 10 tendons … and 107 ligaments, as well as an enormous amount of nerve endings! Our feet constantly need to adjust to what the rest of our body is doing – a constant adapting/rebalancing act. Our arches are designed to provide us with flexibility, help absorb shock, distribute the weight of our body and help us adapt to surface changes when walking, running or climbing. When our feet are out of alignment … so is the rest of our body!
Now we can see why Joseph Pilates thought that developing an instruments “solely” for our feet was so important!
With frequent use, the exercises listed below specifically developed for the Foot Corrector, will help strengthen arches, correct alignment issues and ensure weight is evenly distributed throughout the entire plane of the foot. It will encourage proper balance and create a connection between the lower body and the core! And we all love the core!
The exercises follow the same positions as our Footwork on the Reformer:
SET UP FOR EACH POSITION:
- Toes: stand tall with a staggered parallel foot position with forward foot centered on pedal – heel resting on the back of the frame – back leg straight and foot flat. Lengthen and wrap all 5 toes over the pedal with the metatarsal on top and front knee bent.
- Heel: Center heel on pedal with toes and metatarsals resting on the platform.
- Arch: Place center of foot on top of the pedal with half draped forward and half draped backward over the pedal. Soft bend in knee.
ACTION FOR EACH:
Press the pedal and hold for 3-5 counts. From the powerhouse resist the pedal up. The foot remains on the pedal between repetitions and the pedal remains level.
After all foot positions stand tall and massage the foot forward and back across the pedal pressing the pedal evenly throughout the massage.
(*Can hold onto a pole or tower pole for support – think of the foot pressing the pedal down without the aid of the body weight, just the foot action – all foot positions require a stable, even pelvis above).
SET UP: sit tall, legs hip width apart, on the edge of the reformer/chair with feet on the floor or on the mat with legs extended, hands on mat next to hips- place toe straps around the most distal end of the big toes.
ACTION: press feet apart separate all 10 toes hold stretch for 3-5 counts resist the return of the springs.
The next time you are in the studio ask one of the instructors to show you these simple, yet effective pieces of equipment, try them out, and find a “spring in your step”! Regular practice using the Foot and Toe Correctors will help you learn how to control the springs just like you control the springs on the other equipment! They provide great feedback on working both sides of the foot evenly and helps us connect the lower body to our center, our POWERHOUSE!
Here’s to Fabulous Feet!