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Kidney Bean Shape without having to re-form it?

craigfisher256's picture
Last seen:
5 years 8 months ago
08/04/2016 - 9:06am
Kidney Bean Shape without having to re-form it?

Does a toned tibialis anterior hold the knees and feet in the right position by default? If I strengthen them enough, will my knees one day externally-rotate without effort? Will I wake up and have the kidney bean shape in my feet? It seems like a simple question but I can't find an answer online.

It's very hard to re-form this shape while wearing shoes, and I can only practice walking so long before my externally-rotated knees give out and collapse inwards.

Last seen:
22 hours 9 min ago
11/09/2010 - 2:51pm

Dear Craig,

Thank you for your thoughtful question on the role of kidney bean shaped feet in the externally rotated position of your knees and how to attain that aspect of your posture.  As you mentioned, the tibialis anterior muscles do work together with the kidney bean shaped feet to keep your feet and knees in a healthy position.  However,  toned tibialis anterior muscles alone will not create kidney bean shaped feet.

The best way attain the kidney shaped feet you desire in walking is to work on developing and maintaining a kidney bean shaped foot in all your movements and postures during the day; i. e., when sitting, standing, bending, sleeping and walking.  As you have noticed, attaining a kidney-bean shaped foot takes some work and practice, since most of us have not been using many important muscles in our feet in our daily lives. There are some excellent exercises in the back of Esther Gokhale’s book, “8 Steps to a Pain-free Back” that can help you to strengthen your feet.  In one of these exercises, the “inch worm exercise”, you get your feet into a kidney bean shape while sitting and then inch each foot a bit forwards and then a bit backwards. This is an exercise you can do in a meeting or while on the phone and it will really help to strengthen the muscles you need in your feet to make the kidney bean shape feel more natural. You mentioned having some difficulty kidney bean shaping your feet in shoes. One idea that might help is for you to use the arch support found in many shoes to remind and support you in kidney bean shaping your feet.  To do this, think about kidney bean shaping your foot around the raised shape of the arch support in the shoe. 


Kidney bean shaping of the foot is an integral part of glidewalking, the walk our ancestors and young children use, that we teach in all our courses. A good kidney bean shaped foot helps to give glidewalking the power, balance, gentleness, and relaxation that makes this way of walking so practical and satisfying.  Learning to glide walk is a subtle and complicated process. Kidney bean shaping of the foot is one of the many ingredients in this process and must be integrated with the other elements in order to support a healthy and comfortable stride.  To get the guidance you need in learning to glidewalk comfortably with a kidney bean shaped foot, I suggest that you contact a Gokhale Teacher in your area. All Gokhale Teachers use personalized, hands on teacher techniques that could effectively evaluate your walking challenges, and support and guide you in developing a glide walk that is healthy and comfortable for your feet, knees and the rest of your body.

Good luck in your posture journey!

Roberta Cooks, MD

Gokhale Teacher



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