Thanks to connective tissue, our bodies are intrinsically interconnected. The foot is the foundation for our lower kinetic chain, that is, the hip-knee-foot chain. This means that what is happening in the foot will affect the movements & positioning of the joints & muscles above it. Our feet are incredibly complex structures. As explained in Functional Anatomy of Yoga by David Keil, the foot is comprised of 26 bones & 32 joints interwoven with ligament structures allowing for maximized adaptability & balance as we go about our days walking, running, jumping, & doing yoga. Our feet dynamically respond to the angles, stresses, pressures & weight fluctuations in all of these movements.
Most people are familiar with the inner arch of the foot, but our feet are actually made of three distinct arches – the medial, lateral, & transverse.
- Medial Longitudinal (ML): Runs along the inside, or medial, length of the foot.
- Lateral Longitudinal (LL): Runs along the outside, or lateral, length of the foot.
- Transverse: Runs across the base of the toes.
The medial & lateral arches work together to span the length of the foot. They are a series of arches running parallel to each other harmoniously support our weight & structure. The transverse arch is also a series of parallel arches, only they span the foot from the back to the front in a perpendicular direction to the medial & lateral arches. All three arches work together & to distribute weight akin to how a three-dimensional pyramid distributes weight. This creates incredible strength & resiliency to accommodate our daily movements.