Introduction | Heels & Hamstrings | Ankles Shins & Calves | Knee & Hip Joints | High Heel Healing
tight shins and calves release downwards - open ankle joints


Foot Function for

Spinal Support and Pain Relief


How to flow the toes, ease the insteps & expand the soles

for posture, getting grounded and comfort in footwear


Understanding alignment for heel stability, ankle mobility

& arch support in exercise, walking and well-being.

Ankles Shins & Calves

ankle joint stability created with balance - heel leverage and arch ball toe forward flow

Backbone and Wingspan®

New York City & The World

Herald : 212 - 647 - 8878


The muscles of the legs work optimally when there is a balance between what’s above and below the knee. In other words, if the calf and shin are tight, it’s not possible for the full length of the hamstrings to stretch up to the stability of the sit bone which is how the leg is most powerful. But for the calf and shin to release downward so the hamstrings are able to lengthen in opposition upwards, the ankle joint must first be open.




“ when somebody can expand into the shoe, rather than letting the heel shove forward and up, then they can get relief, because then they can connect to the back of the leg instead of being pushed into the front of the foot.”


- WNYC Radio

best calf stretches to relieve foot pain - plantar fasciitis pain


An open ankle joint also comes with balance. A two-way balance must be created with the foot in front of the ankle and the part behind it just as there is balance above and below the knee. The front of the foot - tendons, instep, arch and toes - must be free of tension able to flow forward. Then the part behind the ankle - the heel - can draw back. The drawn-back heel is what creates stability and leverage.


An efficient body works in balance and relationship - and in the ease of this efficiency comes pain relief. Realizing relationships within the structure of the foot is primary to function of legs, hips, and spine.


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draw heel back away from ankle joint- support forward flow of arch toes

Taking a Stand


People often stand without realizing how much tension there is in the tendons on top of the foot. Foot tendons are meant more for mobility than stability. We’re conditioned to “stand up” - so these tendons unconsciously brace the body - and the actual stabilizing part of the foot - the heel - is jammed and cannot function.


The tendons in the top of the foot must release tension and the instep must soften so that all parts of the foot in front of the ankle - meant for mobility - can unbrace and flow forward out the toes - whether you are standing or moving or sitting.


Take your own heel, and with one hand, draw it gently back away from the ankle. Then use the other hand to release the tension in the tendons on top of the foot. While sitting, you’ll be able to start to sense how making the ankle joint spacious is how the shins and calves above the ankle can release and flow downwards. Only then can you begin the work of the hamstrings lengthening fully upwards.



“I have suffered on and off from plantar fasciitis pain for years. Before studying and incorporating Herald's foot function principles I only did typical arch and calf stretches such as hanging my heels off a curb to release tight calves, and picking up marbles with my toes to release tightness in my toes and arches. Because of Herald's work I now also include subtle and persistent attention to the heels. This has helped me create space in the ankle joint to release tightness not just in my calf but entire lower leg.


His approach has added an important dimension and focus for me. Releasing calf muscles in conjunction with an open ankle joint and focus on the heel has helped me create length and flexibility much more effectively. I am grateful for his thorough and truly dedicated approach - it has significantly helped to reduce my plantar fasciitis pain.

My feet feel a lot better.”


Sarah Land  |  Registered Licensed Occupational Therapist


using feet properly in exercise - releasing tight arches for plantar fasciitis reliefspherical shape of heel bone structural stability - ankle joint mobility

Unravelling the Calves


In exercise, people tend to flex or point the foot in ways that tenses the tendons and shortens the instep and the arch. If the tops of feet - where tendons for mobility are located - are tightened, then what is directly underneath and above is also adversely affected:

The arches of the feet get tight or ankles get shoved-up and shins grip. But if tension is removed from the part of the foot that’s trying to support weight it’s not meant to, then the truly supportive parts - the underlying arch and the backside heel - can begin to become supportive.


An expanded-back heel is vital and crucial for several things:

It allows tight arches to lengthen and arise for buoyancy. It creates a spacious ankle joint so that tight calves and shins can release downwards in order to access the full length of the hamstrings which tether up on to the stability of the sit bones.


You must realize that the larger part of the leg is always in dependentidal quality in corresponding flow of feet - retreating surf informs release of tight foot musclesce on the lower leg. It is in fact, much more crucial to release the tension in the shins and the tightening of calves than it is to work the muscles of the upper larger part of leg.


The most difficult parts of the leg to tone are in the backside under the butt and outside under the hip bone. But it will be a futile struggle to tone what’s up high without releasing the tightness of what is in relationship with it: the calves and the shins below and also the tops of the feet so the sole can flow.



The Principle of Correspondence


This principle, often put forth in spiritual endeavors, also applies to the body. It’s most easily understood and immediately relatable to the way the legs function. The principle simply states: “As above, so below.”


Whatever is going on in the part of the leg above the knee is reflective of what’s going on below the knee. If the shins are unwound and the calves are unravelled so that the flow of the entire lower leg - or this part of the leg that is below the knee - flows downwards through the ankle joint, then the part of the leg that is above the knee - the hamstrings and inner thighs - by this universal principle - can flow upwards just as well.


But another above and below relationship exists within another joint - the ankle. The part of the body below the ankle - the foot - must also be in flow in these corresponding directions so that what’s directly above the ankle - the shins and the calves - can be grounded along with the rest of the legs and pelvis.


Correspondence is as immutable as gravity or the tide. We just don’t realize it - because of our disconnection from the earth - that forces and flows that reside within the planet also reside in our bodies. Think of the whole heel as a sphere such as the shape of the earth. Think of the feet as never-ending flowing waves.


Think of the legs as open channels - able to extend in two directions simultaneously, like the special force of gravity which flows up from the magnetic core of the earth but keeps drawing our bodies towards it. Think of the feet as having tiny tidal forces such as the ocean with continuous waves in either direction.


Read about how the retreating surf of the ocean can be a sensory experience you can actually tap into - or which can be recalled or imagined in your mind -

to release the tightness in the insteps of the feet and fronts of the ankles and to feel how the heels expand back and wide - soft and powerful as the sea.


ocean retreating surf - tide releases tight insteps arches for foot pain relief tight frontal ankle tendons release for foot pain reilefheels expand back and down away from the arch and ankle for leverage and stability


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