Sneakers or high heels for the pelvic floor?
The effect of foot position on the pelvic floor muscles
Can the position of the foot influence the pelvic floor muscles? Sounds strange at first, but it is exactly the case. Researchers have taken a closer look at this interesting connection in women1. They distinguish between three positions. Plantar flexion describes the bending of the foot in the upper ankle joint towards the sole of the foot - downhill. The opposite movement is dorsiflexion, in which the foot is positioned uphill. The last variation is the neutral position.
The research resulted in the following recommendations for the Training the pelvic floor and interesting tips for everyday life:
1. when the feet are positioned uphill, the maximum tension of the pelvic floor muscles is greater than downhill.
If it is difficult to tense the pelvic floorduring training or to achieve the desired training results, it can be helpful to do the exercises not only lying down. By changing the position, for example standing or standing with a slight elevation under the front foot (uphill), it can be easier for patients to train the pelvic floor muscles. Especially for people with stress urinary incontinence, training while standing (neutral position or dorsiflexion of the feet) can be helpful.
3. people who wear high heels (plantar flexion) may experience more involuntary urine leakage when standing. It is therefore recommended to avoid shoes with heels and especially high heels for these complaints. If possible, replace them with flat shoes in everyday life and incorporate posture training into pelvic floor training. This is especially true for people with stress urinary incontinence.1Kannan, P., Winser, S., Goonetilleke, R. & Cheing, G., 2018. Ankle positions potentially facilitating greater maximal contraction of pelvic floor muscles: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Disability and Rehabilitation.
1 Kannan, P., Winser, S., Goonetilleke, R. & Cheing, G., 2018. Ankle positions potentially facilitating greater maximal contraction of pelvic floor muscles: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Disability and Rehabilitation.