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Plantar Fasciitis: How Yoga Can Help

Plantar Fasciitis MeRoYoga

Sharp and painful sensations at the heel of the foot can be a sign of plantar fasciitis.

Heel pain is one of the things that my clients complain about most often when they start yoga.

It appears quickly, and affects the movement of the body to a far greater extent than they themselves are aware of.

In very simple terms, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue that runs over the heel of the foot. The inflammation can occur as a result of a combination of causes, e.g. inappropriate foot/body posture, muscle tension, footwear and overload when standing and walking/running.

It can affect anyone, but is often experienced at the age of 40 and up. Athletes (especially runners) are affected more often.

The pain is initially experienced only with heavier loads, but over time you will also have pain at rest. They can be worst in the morning, decreasing during the day as the foot is moving. At times, you may also experience intense pain in the evening.

Because the symptoms of plantar fasciitis are experienced in the foot, causes that may lie outside the feet are often overlooked, e.g. tight hamstrings and calves. Since yoga works with the whole body and all poses challenge us from the feet up, yoga is an obvious choice to relieve plantar fasciitis.

How can yoga help?

1. You learn how to distribute weight through your feet and to take responsibility for how you use your feet in your daily life. By activating all the muscles in the feet in yoga, both flexibility and strength are practiced in the feet.

2. You learn to be present in the present, through your yoga exercises you learn to become more aware of how you move your body when walking and running. Excessive weight in the heel can worsen plantar fasciitis, and constant pain will over time cause you to create compensatory movement patterns, which in turn can help to create pain elsewhere in the body, especially around the knees and hips.

3. You create flexibility and strength in the muscle groups that are affected by/and affect plantar fasciitis. Which relieves stress and pain not only in the feet, but also acts as a preventative measure for damage caused by plantar fasciitis.

Stretches for plantar fasciitis.

1. Stretch.

Resting on all fours, hands and knees.

Extend one leg behind you, turn the toes under, then slowly lean back and push through the heel.

2. Hamstring stretch.

Sitting with a straight back and straight legs, cross one ankle over the other.

Begin to bend forward from the hip (not the waist), keep your back straight and try to avoid rounding your back, lean forward only until you feel a stretch along the back of your legs, supporting the floor with your hands on the outside of your thighs.

3. Foot stretch.

Resting on all fours, hands and knees.

Turn the toes under and begin to move your buttocks towards the heels.

Support yourself with your hands on the floor in front of you and move them further and further towards your hips, until finally you let go of the floor and raise your upper body vertically with your hands resting on your thighs, and your bottom resting on the heels.

4. Relaxation.

If you have been on your feet all day, finish by doing the legs up the wall pose.(Viparita Karani pose)

Sit with your legs bent and your side against the wall.

Lay your upper body down on the floor and turn your legs up along the wall, legs should be as straight as possible.

If necessary, place a folded blanket under your hips and lie down for 5-20 minutes.

When you're getting out of the pose, you bend both legs and let yourself roll onto one side.

The pose is good for draining fluid and inflammation from the legs and feet, and help to relieve pain.

More like this: Stretch the soles of the feet

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