Presidential Posturing

PresidentLetterHere in the Unites States we are approaching full-on Presidential election season. 2016 will mark our next Presidential election, and the candidates are gearing up for a run at the White House. The Republican hopefuls are debating back and forth, while the Democratic side of things is a bit quieter…for now. As I was thinking about the Republic Presidential debates that are happening currently, it got me thinking: For as much as Presidential candidates posture and position themselves on everything from education to taxes to foreign policy, I wondered which of our most recent Presidents had the best overall posture.

If you have ever been a client of Egoscue, then you know that when going through the therapy process, you immediately begin looking at people differently. Whether you’re at the grocery store, taking a walk at the park, or working out at the gym, you begin to notice postural deviations. You’ll notice that guy’s elevated shoulder. You’ll notice his wife’s head is forward. You’ll notice their children’s feet point out. It’s a constant saturation of posture, and you are forever changed!

That’s what has happened with me since the mid-90s when I first came to Egoscue as a client. I notice. I evaluate. I speculate (playing a game of “guess that symptom” in my mind:  That guy HAS to have a degenerative hip!) It just comes with the territory, I guess.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our past Presidents:


Notice President Carter’s (standing in the middle) and President Ford’s (second from the right) foot positions. They are standing with their feet pointed almost dead-ahead! President Ford’s hands are hanging down by his side, although we’re seeing a little bit of the backs of both hands. President Carter appears to be rotated in his upper body ever so slightly from left to right. Both of their shoulder positions appear level. All in all, I’d say they look pretty good! Obviously, they’re wearing full suits, and those hide the overall big picture of what we are able to see, but just like noticing someone walking at the park, we are able to at least get a snapshot of their alignment.

President Ford, as you might know, was an outstanding football player for the University of Michigan. Carter was a basketball player in high school and a farmer. Both were active youths, and–at least when giving them the “eye test”–were aligned with good, balanced posture.

As for Bush, Reagan, and Nixon…well…let’s just say Egoscue would have been beneficial for them! All of their feet evert (point out), and President Nixon (standing on the far right) has a pretty severe left shoulder elevation. President Bush (above, left) has a narrow stance, and his feet point out. With President Reagan (second from the left), we can see that his right foot points out more than his left.

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Now, let’s check out their gait:


Again, notice President Ford (second from the left). His right foot is pointed straight ahead, while his left knee is lifting straight in front of him, driven by proper hip function (I think it’s safe to assume that his hip function contributed directly to his abilities on the football field). President Carter is shifting on to his left side, which can happen slightly when walking, but it seems as though he is really having to shift his weight to his left side in order to get his right side off the ground. Honestly, it’s more of a shift than I would like to see and I would assume is an indicator that something isn’t quite right.

President Nixon appears to have slight right knee valgus stress (or “knock-kneed”), and his feet point out as well. President Bush’s (on the far right) left knee is everting as he lifts it up. His feet are also both pointed out. It appears that President Reagan’s left knee is pointing out slightly as he lifts it up, and his right foot is pointed out. All of those deviations point to the hips not functioning properly.

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And, what about some of our more recent Presidents?


We see President George W. Bush (center) has a very neutral foot position, similar to President Ford (in the first photo above). And, not unlike President Ford, we’re seeing the backs of his hands, which indicates that his shoulders are hinged/rolled forward. President Clinton (second from the right) has a very narrow stance and everted foot position. President Obama’s right foot points out more than his left foot (and we know that he has struggled with knee pain in the past). Not much has changed with President Carter’s foot position from the earlier picture to the more recent picture. He, like President George W. Bush, looks pretty good!

Obviously, we at Egoscue believe posture is important. We believe it holds the key to not only eliminating chronic pain, but numerous other ailments as well. But, I also believe that posture is important, or should be important, to anyone holding public office, especially the President. Good posture is not only healthy for you, it also brings with it an air of confidence. Good posture exudes poise, assurance, and boldness. I think it’s safe to say that every President could (and should) benefit from Egoscue!

QUESTION: Who do you think has the best “Presidential posturing”?