Embryologically, the skeletal structure of each upper and lower limb begins as a unit. As the unit develops, joint spaces appear distinguishing the separate bones. As the unit grows, more spaces appear at the successive joints until the bones and joints of the whole limb are created, scapula to fingers and pelvic bone to toes.
When the skeletal structure is basically formed, the muscles, along with the nerves, migrate from the center of the body into the limbs to create movement.
When there is a problem in an upper or lower limb, going back to their embryological origins, including exploring how the joint spaces informed the development of the bones, can be helpful to recalibrate the length and cellular organization of the limb.
So often we use our muscles to try to create our form. We hear or give directions like, “pull down your scapula” and “tuck your pelvis”. We are taught to use our muscles in a compensatory pattern for alignment and joint issues rather than go back to the developmental process by which the innate structure emerged.
Returning to the processes by which we developed can help us embody ways our body can function more efficiently without straining or stress.
Explore along as we briefly go through the embryological development of the bones of upper and lower limbs.
This clip is from Bonnie’s online course Embodying the Embryological Foundations of Movement.