The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Your Muscles Are Your Orthotics for Arches, Knock Knee, and Knee Pain

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David from Belgium has been a success story and valuable contributor. He frequently makes us photos and movies showing how to fix pain and unhealthful fitness using Fitness Fixer techniques. He first left a comment on a post in 2007:

"I'm training to be a yoga teacher and I'd love to teach the right things to my pupils such as good posture. Your insights are very inspirational. After struggling with minor but persistent knee pain for some years, I was diagnosed with seriously fallen arches recently. I'm not really flat-footed, but ankles that drop inwards too much. (I could clearly see that on the video my podiatrist made of me walking on bare feet). In a week I'll be getting new orthotics. Though, after reading a patient's testimony on your site I decided to try and use my feet differently. So now on my walks to and from my day job I'm trying to walk 'right'. Rolling on the entire foot, heel to toes, leaning more on the sides and using all five toes. It feels awkward though and I notice that I often forget it. I wonder if this will 'fix' my feet eventually? Anyway, thanks for sharing your knowledge!"


I replied that it "fixes" arch positioning as soon as you do it. It is natural to control how you stand and move - the whole intent of functioning in a healthy way in life, and the intent of yoga (supposedly). It seems at odds to say that yoga teaches body awareness, strength, or positioning, then let ankles slump without control, and purchase devices to do it for you. Once you understand the purpose, it will not be awkward. It is the same as any other good posture.

Since then, David has consistently made good use of these materials, and shared many success stories. He has fixed various pain producing habits for himself and his students, fixed his mother's herniated lumbar disc by showing her healthy bending around the house - Bending Right is Fitness as a Lifestyle, and developed a new yoga system of healthier movement - Getting the Right Yoga Medicine.

  • Orthotics are rigid shaped devices, fitted by prescription, that specifically move and hold your foot in a certain position.
  • Orthotics are different from over-the-counter shoe pads that can help by cushioning impact.
  • Orthotics do not do anything you cannot do yourself using your own muscles and sense of positioning (kinesthetics).
  • It is a myth that only a device can move your foot and leg leg. Click the label "myth" under this post for all Fitness Fixer posts on fitness myths.


Try these in relaxed way:

  • Stand and see that you can raise your own arches back to normal, taught in the post Arch Support Is Not From Shoes. It takes only seconds.
  • Understand more with Which Shoes Help Exercise, Fall Prevention, and Ankles?
  • Make sure you are also not pronating from higher up - Healthy Knees.
  • Remember, don't force. If it hurts, it's wrong. All you are doing is learning how to stand neutral, not tilted so much that you compress the joints.
  • The concept is to hold your feet in the same healthful position that shoe supports would. It is like an ice skater holds their skates straight at the ankle, not angled.

During walking and running, a brief and small inward drop (slight pronation) occurs right after foot contact that creates part of the "spring" and propulsion. The idea is not to prevent all foot motion, but to not let the knee twist inward. You can do that with your own brain and muscles.

Check back tomorrow, Friday January 23 2009, for: Fast Fitness - Fixing Arches, Knock Knee, and Knee Pain Without Orthotics - with a short movie by David of restoring arches and knee position.


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About the Author


M.Ed, PhD, FAWM

Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.

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