Collapsed Arches Fix

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Did you know your collapsed arches start in your pelvis? Shari Berkowitz explains what’s going on in your feet and a quick fix that will pull your arches up into their full glory. Visit Shari for teacher training, workshops and lessons at The Vertical Workshop. Our thanks to Shari’s student Roccio Cárceles and The Contrology Cohort in New York City where this was filmed.

What Others Are Saying


  1. Molly Niles Renshaw
    Molly Niles Renshaw 9 months ago

    Love how clear and almost simple this is. Thanks, Shari! Awesome as always.

  2. catedavies 11 months ago

    I’m a fan of Katy Bowman’s books but your explanation is so much more precise in terms of correct foot position in parallel. Katy says line up little toe with lateral malleolus but for me with a ridiculously wide foot, I just knew this was incorrect. Mid heel with 2nd toe makes sense as foot width can be ignored.

    Question: what is piriformis actually for & how does it relate to the other external rotators? It can provide both internal & external rotation of femur & yet you don’t mention it as being involved in correct orientation of knee in the above video. It’s often tight & I know it can be a cause of sciatica if the sciatic nerves pass through it. I’ve wondered what percentage of sciatica is actually caused by a tight piriformis but suspect there will be little in the way of data on this.

    Thanks for your time, Shari!

    • Author
      Shari Berkowitz 8 months ago

      Hello, Cate,
      My apologies for replying 4 months late. I have corrected how I receive notices from Pilatesology…and now I do receive them!
      Thank you for your patience!
      And thank you for checking this out. Indeed, with respect, I do not agree with Katy Bowman on her alignment. I am glad this will be useful to you!

      Your query is about the Piriformis:
      What is it?
      Well, over several of our most dynamic joints we have one muscle that crosses over two joints and then a set of smaller muscles that cross over one joint. Those smaller grouping of muscles is supposed to do the heavy work while that larger two-joint muscle does additional work. Often times, when the smaller group is weak and not getting the tensional support they need, the larger two-joint muscle has to overwork. We need to get that smaller one-joint group to step up to the plate, as it were. We see that here with two-joint piriformis, two-joint rectus femoris and two-point tensor fascia latae + iliotibial band. Their one-joint muscle groupings aren’t getting the soft tissue support that they need to work well and then the two-joint muscle has to work twice as hard.

      So, what does the piriformis do? Evidence supports that it helps in stabilization of the femur to the pelvis as well as movement of the femur: external/lateral rotation and hip extension.
      Notice that I said “helps.” It’s one of the deep external rotators and must work in conjunction with those one-joint muscles: quadratus femoris, the obturators (internus and externus) and gemelli (superior and inferior). These 6 muscles work together. And…of course with larger muscles: Gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. (Not to mention in coordination with every muscle in your body.) They all work together to create your action of external rotation and extension.

      Of course, that’s their most obvious set of actions. But in coordination with the medial/internal rotators they work to position and stabilize your femur during any heel strike or single-leg balance…or any time your foot is planted and accepting force. We need the middle of the knee joint to be in line with the middle of the foot in order to have a healthy set of forces through our legs to pelvis and, therefore, proper biomechanics. Proper biomechanics leads to effective strengthening, full range of motion of joints and reduction of the chances of damage from outside forces or inside forces (the ones that lead to osteoarthritis).

      Why is the Piriformis often tight? Because it is having to do a lot of the work of those two joint muscles when they are weak. And… often Piriformis is having to do the work of gluteus maximus, too! All the rolling and stretching in the world isn’t going to get Piriformis to become healthy. We’ve got to get these other muscles to strengthen. Now, that doesn’t happen from spot training. You can squeeze your buttocks and do all the leg lifts you want, but they will not strengthen without a series of deeper connections. Ones that I can’t possibly write into this comment…it wouldn’t serve you. But I’ll encourage you to read two of my blogs and take my Rotated and Twisted pelvises webinar or workshop when they are available to you. The blogs are these:
      Abdominals. Spine. Why? Biotensegrity.
      Buttocks – Seemingly Every Fitness Person’s Favorite Subject…

      I hope you’ll find those useful. If you want information on Rotated and Twisted Pelvises, please reach out to me privately and I will provide you with that.

      Thank you for reaching out to me about this and, again, my apologies that it’s taken me too long to respond. I’ll get better!
      – Shari
      P.S…Surely there is date on piriformis syndrome being the cause of sciatica pain. I can’t promise it will be any time soon that I can delve into the literature/studies that exist on that, but I’ll look into that as soon as I can! Don’t hesitate to remind me! Or…please remind me!

  3. Martin 11 months ago

    Love! I’m all about anything that helps keep my buttocks lifted while correcting my alignment!

    • Author
      Shari Berkowitz 8 months ago

      Oh, has it really taken me 4 months to remember that I have messages on Pilatesology. Martin! You know I hate when I miss messages…
      Thank you so much for checking this out…and getting your buttocks lifted while getting lifted arches!
      I hope you’re well!!

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