Got a pain in your foot? Chronic pain is never a good feeling, particularly when it occurs at the foundation of your whole body — in your feet. And plantar fasciitis is one of the more pesky circumstances of chronic pain, since it most often afflicts people who spend a lot of time on their feet.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the tissue that connects your heel with the rest of your foot. It’s common among long-distance runners, dancers, or any other kind of athlete participating in sports that impact the bottom of your feet. Symptoms usually include persistent pain and stiffness, and healing this condition typically requires lots of rest, anti-inflammatories (such as NSAIDs like Ibuprofen and Aspirin) and compression. In some cases, healing may require surgery.
It can take quite a bit of time to recover from plantar fasciitis but most patients heal within a year of onset. But if you’re the type of person who loves to stay active and play sports, that kind of recovery time can feel like an eternity. But there’s good news — you can help your body heal through a combination of the above treatments and other techniques like massage, RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), shoe inserts, and you guessed it — yoga.
Stretching your feet and legs can help relieve pain from plantar fasciitis by lowering inflammation, increasing flexibility, and bringing your feet into a more neutral position. However, it’s important to note that while yoga can help with plantar fasciitis, it can also make it worse if practiced incorrectly. Overstretching can cause the tissue in your heel to tear and become even more painful, lengthening your recovery time and doing more harm than good.
That’s why it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor if you’re thinking about practicing yoga for plantar fasciitis, and work with a certified yoga instructor. At MyYogaTeacher , you can book a private, 1-on-1 session with a yoga teacher who can structure a course for your specific condition. If you’re practicing yoga on your own, there are few things you should know before you get started.
If at any time a posture causes increased pain or discomfort, stop practicing the pose immediately and take a break.
Pay attention to the alignment of your feet and knees. Avoid standing on the edges of your feet or allowing your knees to bow outward or inward.
Yoga is not a quick fix. Regular practice over time will help heal the condition, but yoga alone is not a cure.
Keep it simple. Start with easy poses that gently stretch your feet and calves. Try not to overdo it and remember to be patient with yourself during the process.
Are you ready to get started? If you’ve been cleared by your doctor and you’re just starting on your yoga healing journey, you can try some or all of the poses below to improve your flexibility and reduce pain. Each pose stretches your feet, calves, and connective tissue to release tension and help your body heal.
While it may seem deceptively simple, Mountain pose is an integral posture for realigning your knees and feet.
Stand with your feet hip distance apart, with your spine straight and your gaze facing forward. Pay attention to the soles of your feet — are they firmly planted on the floor? Are you placing your weight unevenly on the outsides or insides of your feet? Concentrate on aligning your knees directly over your ankles, and grounding all four corners of feet into the floor. Breathe and maintain this position for 1-2 minutes.
This is one of the best poses for stretching your heels, calves and hamstrings. If your legs and feet are particularly tight, make sure to bend your knees and allow yourself to ease into this pose.
With your hands and knees on the floor, push your hips upward until you are balancing on your hands and feet, and your body resembles an inverted “v” shape. Reach your heels toward the floor, stretching your hamstrings and activating your thighs. Keep your head between your arms, lengthening your side-body as you stretch. Stay here for several breaths.
Like Downward Facing Dog, this pose lengthens your calves and stretches the muscles and ligaments in your ankles and heels.
Stand at the front of your mat, feet hip distance apart. Exhale and bend forward from the waist, with your knees slightly bent and touching your hands to the floor in front of your feet. Inhale and exhale, allowing your torso to extend without rounding your back. Lengthen and soften your neck, and let the muscles of your thighs and lower back open and release any built-up tension. Hold the pose for 1-2 minutes.
This pose directly stretches the muscles and tissue in your feet, but should be approached with caution. Start gently and slowly work your way into the stretch. Be careful not to overdo it, and if you feel any pain or discomfort stop and take a break.
Start by sitting on your knees in Thunderbolt pose, with your hands resting comfortably on your thighs. Next, shift your weight forward for just a moment while you tuck all 10 of your toes under. Slowly lean back so that your buttocks are rested on your heels, gently applying pressure to the balls of your feet. If this feels uncomfortable or too painful, you can use a folded blanket positioned under your knees for added support. Hold the pose for several breaths or longer if you can.
Along with stretching your legs and feet, it’s important to also lower the inflammation in your heels so that your fascia tissue can heal. Legs Up The Wall is a relaxing pose that calms your mind and body, and helps reduce inflammation. It can also bring some much-needed relief from chronic plantar fasciitis pain.
Place a folded blanket parallel against a wall. Sit sideways in the middle of the blanket, and turn yourself toward the wall, lifting your legs up and propping them against the wall. Lay back comfortably, rest your head and neck on the floor, and fully straighten your legs. Spread your arms out to your sides with your palms facing up. Allow your chest, abdomen, and pelvis to completely relax. Breathe evenly and mindfully while holding this pose for 5-8 minutes.
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