Introduction | Heels & Hamstrings | Ankles Shins & Calves | Knee & Hip Joints | High Heel Healing
femur head compression into hip socket - deepening femur for hip joint health


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.

Knee & Hip Joints

lunging stretch using stability ball - runner's stretch for tight hip flexor relief

Backbone and Wingspan®

New York City & The World

Herald : 212 - 647 - 8878


We all know that our legs are connected to our hips with ball and socket joints. The spherical shape of the head of the femur - or thigh bone - is the ball of this ball and socket. For resilience in the hips - so you can run and jump efficiently and safely - the ball must be plugged into the socket. It’s a fitted connection like plugging your charger into your cell phone. It’s certainly not jammed into the socket, but there’s a certain amount of compression. The way the ball and socket sustain the proper plug is by levering back the heel. Most people perform sports and exercise - and sit all day at their desks - without realization of this resilience-giving aspect of the hips, and miss out on hip joint stability for sitting and movement with this integration of heel, femur and hip.




“...Backbone and Wingspan’s... program designed to restore your posture.


The stretches, done with a fitness ball...

are equal parts full body massage and toning session.”


- Gotham Magazine


Because most of the time we are moving forward, it becomes conditioned within our bodies to lead from the knees, which bend in a forward direction. But when you take a step, the first part of the foot to touch ground is the heel, which is in the back of the body. Using the heels as little levers really lessens the stress on knees.


Knees are for mobility, but being in the middle of the legs are very vulnerable to hyper-mobility. People know not to lock the knees and are often advised to keep the knees soft, but the real key is in levering the heels back away from the ankle when standing and walking. Then the knees will not be buckled or locked, but lengthened.

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stability ball bridging core strength exercise - femur bone head deepening into socket

Shooting from the Hip


In years of teaching people from many varied lifestyles, I always heard similar concerns about everyday actions affecting proper knee and hip joint function or the same desires for relieving knee joint pain and assisting hip joint health.


Regularly a client might begin a session by saying "I have a pain in my knee from walking up stairs," or "I have pain in my hips from sitting all day long.” Much of my time was spent giving advice on how to walk up and down stairs using the knees properly or how to lift heavy boxes without straining the back or even how to lug around toddlers or play on the floor with babies for hours.


The well-known “bend at the knees and use your legs to lift - not your back,” really means to not lock the knees so that the femur bones can deepen back into the hip sockets. Then you can extend the lumbar-sacrum-tail inorder to be able to access the core strength connection between legs and lower spine.


It is true that you need to bend the knees when lifting. But knowing just a bit more about the other joints makes a big difference. Most of what will support and help to heal the knees, hips and the spine is deepening the femur bones into the hip joints. So much of this section will talk about how to “get hip.”



pelvic bones - ball and socket joints of pelvis  - femur heads

“Working with Herald has shown me how to better integrate the structural support of my upper and lower spine into my daily activities. As a result I can more regularly release the ‘holding patterns’ I developed over time. Particularly when I walk, bike or jog, I now am much more naturally aware of the relationships between my foot (toes, arch, heel), the ‘footing’ of my femur into my hip socket and the connection with and support from hamstrings / back of the hips / spine. The alignment and posture principles I’ve received from him have allowed me to continue - even increase - my regular jogging and biking activities - including my first ‘century’ ride - with far better, injury-free body mechanics and enjoyment."

- Andy Lewis | Age: 64 | Avid Traveller, Cyclist & Jogger



stretches for sacroiliac joint mobility - movements for pelvic girdle stability

Heel-to-Femur Head-to-Hip Relations-hip


I have written extensively on every page about the heel-to-hamstrings workings, however, if you want all the help you can get with low back pain relief, including sciatic nerve pinching, lack of sacroiliac mobility or need for sacroiliac stability, then you should really learn how the femur bones deepen into the hip joints.


You can get some hip pain relief from using the hamstrings more effectively, but the underlying skeletal structure of the ball and socket hip joints really needs to be understood. Because the femurs are the largest single bones in the body, their weight needs to be supported into the sockets but also connect to the core as well.


When the femurs relate to the hip sockets, you access the inner thighs as well as the hamstrings. The inner thighs then connect to the psoas, the deep core stabilization muscles directly attached to the lumbar vertebrae. The heels-to-hamstrings is the backside strength; inner thighs-to-psoas is the deep core central strength.

inner thighs lesser trochanter psoas connection for core stabilization-femur bone to pelvic joint compression for sacroiliac joint stabilization

You can learn how to use your own hands to help the femur bones find the release away from the tightness of the quadriceps muscles. Then the head of the femurs will nestle into the resilient hip sockets more easily.


Once you feel the weighted-ness of the bones deepening into the joints, you’ll become agile at putting a tiny inner spin on these femur bones to activate your inner thighs on lesser trochanters.


This will connect to the deep psoas core muscles attached to the spine.

lesser trochanter - inner thigh muscles to psoas core strength connection

What the Heel ?


You might be thinking, “I thought these were not anatomy lessons!” I did not mislead you. If these were anatomy lessons, I would have had to used terms like anterior and superior, posterior and inferior. Not that those terms are out of range of the layman’s understanding, but my broad intention is to present information that relates the feet to the hips and spine. It takes time to explain from my standpoint and give yourself time to understand from yours.


Once this site is established, I will be able to write blog postings for many of these sections which require greater description. I’ll add more images and photos with drawings that have arrows and I’ll highlight the parts of the anatomy that are more difficult to understand. But the main thing I’d like to get across here is that the thigh bone deepening into the hip socket, while granting access to inner thighs and core strength can only be sustained using the subtle levering force of the heels. When experts write about sitting and standing posture support, the feet are often completely left out. It’s not readily understood that posture is not placing the pelvis or holding the abs in, but that posture is relating the forces in the body that will support the spine: heels, hamstrings, femur heads, hips.


Deep Core Strength is Accessed By Activating Psoas - Inner Thigh Junction on Lesser Trochanter will show you the location of the lesser trochanter and also includes a link to a video which shows three-dimensionally how the psoas and other deep core muscles attach to the spine.


Then for a photo-infused step-by-step guide to finding your own way to femur deepening (even though it was originally written for high heel shoe wearers), Release Foot Pain and Tone the Legs at The Same Time will show you how to use your hands to let go of the quads and find the hip joint stability.


Note: You can use either a stability ball under the knees, calves and heels (as shown directly below) or a roller under the knees (as shown further below). It all just depends on whether your lower back or hips are more in need of gentle release or if you’re ready to start performing bridging and core strength exercises. The roller under the knees is a very supportive position for heel rocks as well as gentle hip flexor stretching but with the connection it gives to the backs of the heels, even some very fundamental core strengthening. The ball supports more of the leg weight and can grant more ease, although it is typically used for more strenuous movements. Try them both and sense what suits you best.

heels of palms direct spin of femur inward to activate inner thigh to psoas connectionusing palms to release tension in quadriceps - femur bones weight releases into socketsheel connection to head of femur bone - stability ball for hip joint stability





I taught this femur bone deepening - hip joint stabilization to a woman who meditates in lotus pose for three hours a day and began to feel nerve pain. She practices it now for ten minutes as a preparation for the long periods of sitting she must sustain. I normally teach it with a roller that inflates, like a fitness stability ball does, so it’s much more easy on the backs of the knees than typical foam rollers are. However, if you have a foam roller that’s stiff, you can wrap it in something like a towel or yoga mat or you can buy cushiony material that’s usually used to line shelves with to protect glassware.


Massage therapists often use a bolster under a person’s knees to ease potential strain on the lower back, because most people’s femur bones hang out of their hips even when they lay down. You can also use a bolster-like roller to teach your own femurs how to ease lower back pain more actively, however subtly, by using the angle of the femur bone the roller creates for you, and the levering of your heels which will be in contact with a surface behind them.


For other ways to use a roller under the knees or soles of the feet to support deep core strengthening, read: Feel the Feet - Get More Core


or Those Heels Rock! A Simple Exercise to Assist in Activating the Supportive Power of Connecting The Heels to the Hips and Spine

foam roller or rubber bolster under knees to activate backs of heels for hip stabilitycalf and shin tension release out ankle for heel and ankle joint stabilizationfemur bones weight releases into hips for health of hip sockets and pelvis


Also read this on-line review of a client who I worked with only twice - she was able to change dramatically because she took the roller-under-the-knees - deepening-femurs - activating-backs-of-the-heels information and applied it not only to herself, but taught the movement and meditative mind-body process to her father - who benefits from the hip joint stabilization also...


“He showed me an alignment meditation/visualization using gravity and intention that not only helps my sciatic nerve get more room, but was just the ticket for my 90 year old Dad who suffers from sciatic pain and ‘uneven legs.’ A second session several weeks later added more information and sensory memory to include my outer hamstring in supporting myself while walking and how to use my heel and arch to maximize their effectiveness.”


Read the entire sciatica pain relief review and then press Backbone and Wingspan to read other reviews from clients I’ve worked with - who contributed to a 10 Rating - Highly Recommended Critic’s Pick Profile on New York Please note: The studio on 30th Street is no longer in operation. Call Backbone and Wingspan for locations available.


Never Too Late for Lunge


Once you understand the femur head -to- hip joint stabilization from deepening or plugging-in in a laying-down position, then you can continue to use the heel-to leg-to-hip joint stability in upright, more challenging and complex stretches.


Lunging - performed here on the Pilates reformer - but which can also be performed as an athlete’s or jogging enthusiast’s runner’s stretch - is typically thought of as a hip flexor stretch or tight hip flexor release.


Because you’ll have an understanding of how the deep femur bone gives you access to inner thigh length and inner thigh strength, plus a connection to the deep core muscles attached directly to the spine - the lunging you do - even if you keep the knee down - which I advise - will give you not only tight hip joint relief, but also core stabilization.

ball shape of the heel bone corresponds to the ball shaped head of the femur bone
lumbar spine sacrum tail bone extension as one arcing directional length


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