The foot is our base to our body and our direct connection to the world. But many people find themselves having foot problems or just do simply not know how to care for and control their feet. Well if you have feet, you need to learn how your hips directly affect your feet. The musculature around the hips (the glutes) helps rotate the lower extremity outward (we call it external rotation). Learning how to activate these muscles in the hips while the feet are on the ground will actually help the feet become stronger.
As PT’s, we see weakness in the external rotators of the hips quite often, and this weakness in the hips is often in combination with poor arch control or flat feet. It is important to note that foot shape alone does not dictate whether they are weak or inactive. However, the glutes can assist the intrinsic musculature of the foot to activate. Here’s how:
- Stand with your feet underneath your hips barefoot on the floor.
- Slightly sit your hips back and create a slight bend in the knees – this is a small hinge position.
- Start by gripping the ground lightly with your feet – think suction cupping your foot to the ground. (you should already feel some activation on the bottom of your foot with this technique). If you don’t feel it here, no worries…. Here’s where the hips come in.
- Without letting your feet move, think about rotating or “corkscrewing” your feet into the ground by driving your knees outward toward the side edges of your feet.
- You should see your arches rise. Be careful not to rotate the knees out too far where the base of your big toe comes off the ground. Then relax the knees.
By rotating your knees out, you activate the glute and the intrinsic muscles of the foot in conjunction with one another.
Check out our social media posts and videos of some other activities to help activate your feet and glutes together!