Are Bad Feet Hereditary?


It’s very common for people to tell me that they inherited their bunions and flat feet from their parents or grandparents.  They seem resigned to enduring progressive, painful conditions.

Any time you believe there is nothing you can do about something, is when that something begins to have a field day in your life. 

And so, my tale of feet . . . 

My mother had feet like you wouldn’t believe. 

She had wide feet and, as one of 11 children in a farming family, she took whatever shoes she could get. Then, as a young woman,  she jammed those wide feet into pointy high heels. 

As years passed, things did not go well with her feet. They had all kinds of bony malformations. I guess you call them bunions.  My siblings and I also have those wide feet with a tendency towards the same “bony malformations”. 

It might seem like I inherited that condition from my mother.

Sound familiar?

We inherit a genetic tendency towards structure—height, wide/narrow feet, the shape of our rib cage, the size of our skull, the shape of our fingers, etc. . . . It’s easy to look at a family walking together and see their common traits.   

Add to that, humans are very clever mimics, both conscious and unconscious. We tend to imitate the posture and gait of the family we grow up in. Even when we no longer live in that family, the movement and posture habits stay with us. That is, until we become aware of them. 

The combination of inherited structure and movement mimicry often plays out in the same painful conditions your parents or grandparents had. 

You can’t do anything about the genes you were born with, but you can do plenty to change the path that you may believe leads to inevitable pain and injury.

Having a Feldenkrais practice will help you become an intelligent mover.When you move intelligently, your feet don’t bear the burden of moving a body that’s limited by learned postures and movement habits.

When your body moves better, your feet feel better. 

And when all the working parts of your feet get plugged back into your brain, your feet will support you better.

When your feet move better, your whole body feels better. 

You have choice. I invite you to join a worldwide community of Feldenkrais students who are finding progressive, innovative solutions to problems they thought were permanent. 

Enjoy this short recording to help you wake up your feet. How hopeful to imagine there are possibilities you haven’t met yet!


I’d love to hear from you! Please leave me a message at and be sure to sign up for my mailing list here.

Love,   Linda