[You guessed it. With Yoga.]
That sharp, stabbing pain at the base of the heel straight after you get out of bed in the morning.
It probably hurts most at the start of your run but gets better as you warm up, only to come back when you finish.
If you’ve ever suffered from it, you’ll know Plantar Fasciitis is a tricky one to heal and it tends to stick around… It takes a while to develop due to the lack of blood supply in the plantar fascia, that thick band of connective tissue fibre that runs from the heel into your foot. Though for that same reason, it takes just as long to recover from it. Think 3-6 months kinda long which seems endless if you’re in pain…
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the top running injuries and shows up in runners across all ages and abilities. Why it happens is not fully understood, but there are connections to poor ankle range of motion and/or calf tightness.
As Yoga teaches us: “Everything is connected”. If you look at the plantar fascia, you’ll see it’s really just a continuation of the Achilles tendon a little further up. So it seems obvious that any tightness within the calves or Achilles would directly impact the plantar fascia as well.
The amount of time spent on your feet and footwear are also obviously important factors that could contribute to this injury. So making appropriate shoe choices can help minimize this frustrating condition.
Let’s see what we can do to prevent it in Yoga terms
3 TOP TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
1) Find a neutral standing position
If you’ve taken my class before, it is likely that you heard me talk about the feet a lot. It’s super important for us to find an awareness of how we place our feet when standing, walking or running. We want to cultivate awareness in distributing the weight evenly through the feet. Look at the simple running gait, with its intelligent weight transfer, and the intricate force-generating process! I’m endlessly amazed at the miracles our bodies create!!!
Knowing all that, we also have to recognize that there’s a lot of room to create new or amplify existing imbalances, by simply not being aware of what’s happening when you stand, walk or run. Also, consider the chain reaction up the kinetic chain of the body. It matters whether you heel strike or midfoot or even forefoot strike – all of the options have a direct effect on the rest of the body.
So what can you do now? Continue to learn how to be present. Start noticing things, sensations – not just in your yoga practice, but in your running and your daily life. How do you place your feet? Are there any differences between left and right? Are there any sensations? Pain? Weakness? Notice any changes after you warm up when you go out running and any difference towards the end of your runs.
2) Stretch! Your feet, your calves and stretch your hamstrings too!
You were waiting for me to say that, weren’t you? But you also know that I’ll say there’s no need to stretch the heck out of your hamstrings. We simply want to move back to that OPTIMAL range of motion of our muscles and tissues.
The natural range of motion (ROM) our bodies could move through before we put ourselves in tight, restrictive shoes and sat down at our desk all day hunching forward over our phones. So to cut your plantar fasciitis some slack (literally), work on stretching calves and hamstrings too – the whole backline of the body which includes the lower back, and which will give you some ease there too.
In my Yoga for Runners Course, you’ll find a ton of great static and dynamic stretches that will feel like heaven when you’re done with it – more ease and lightness – especially beautiful after your long runs.
3) One easy Yoga pose to do right now.
It’s Marathon season. For all of those who already ran (#manchestermarathon), for those of you who are in their taper (#londonmarathon and #brightonmarathon), here’s one delicious restorative Yoga posture I’d love to give you on your way.
It’s a restorative pose called “Legs Up The Wall” or “Viparita Karani“.
And here’s how to get into it:
* Sit sideways to a wall, the side of your hip almost touching. Now roll down onto your side and then onto your back as you lift your legs up the wall.
* This might be a lot for the hamstrings, in that case, simply shuffle away from the wall a little so you can stretch your legs a bit better.
* Options: Bend the knees as much as you need to whilst still feeling a gentle stretch, but your spine wants to feel natural and at ease. Also, try to widen your legs a little which may give some relief and a slightly different stretch for the adductors and groins.
* Stay here for 5 to 10 minutes. Maybe use an eye pillow, or just use your sleeve, that always works fine for me. Keep warm with a blanket. And Bob’s your uncle.
It’s a fantastic pose in so many ways! Bringing your legs up will reverse your circulation which supports the lymphatic system which then no longer has to move up against gravity. Hence it’s making its job easier, transporting away any toxins or waste products it’s gobbling up. Any pressure that may have been building up in the legs and/or feet during the day can more easily be released and it also helps to relieve any built up inflammation.
Give it a shot and if you want to dive a little deeper into the world of Yoga, come join me in my Yoga for Beginners – a course for active runners who’d like some movement and strength and mobility-based Yoga with a healthy dose of restorative work to allow us the balance we need in our busy lives …
Now over to you!
Did you ever suffer from Plantar Fasciitis?
How long did it take you to recover?
What exercises worked for you?
And what’s the ONE piece of advice you’d like to give anyone going through the same thing?
I’d love to hear from you, go ahead and leave me a comment below!
Thanks ever so much for taking the time to read my blog, and spending some time hanging out on my site. It’s great to have you here 🙂 Be kind, stay awesome!
Yoga For Beginners - A Course For Runners
A course for active runners who want to run stronger, be healthier and feel better by cultivating a strength and mobility-based Yoga practice, with a healthy dose of restorative work to allow us the balance we need in our busy lives …