Plantar Fasciitis: How to Heal the Sole

Gwen Lawrence by Gwen Lawrence | January 13th, 2012 | 8 Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Yoga

For athletes, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common sources of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes. Strain to the fascia weakens it, causing pain and swelling in the heel. It is a problem that plagues regular exercisers as well as football players, tennis players, soccer players and basketball players every day.

Causes:

  • High arches or flat feet
  • Working, running or standing on hard surfaces
  • Being overweight
  • Tight Achilles tendons
  • Tight calves
  • Weak inside edge of foot, causing roll-in (pronation)

Fix:

Aside from rest and ice, you can take anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin (consult your doctor first) to help with an acute case. I take a standpoint of prevention. There are several defensive approaches.

First, it is important to do several stretches every day.

  1. Hero’s Pose, toes tucked: Kneel with your toes tucked under and sit back on your heels. If you have tight knees or injuries to the knees, roll up a towel behind the knees to keep from stretching the knee joint too much. This will open the plantar fascia under the toes and deep into the Achilles tendon, as well as the calf. Hold the pose for two minutes.
  2. Hero’s Pose, toes untucked: Kneel with your toes untucked this time, the same as above. Doing this variation of the pose will help to stretch the top of the foot creating balance in flexibility, as well as opening the muscles of the shin. Make sure your heels point straight up to the sky to protect the knees. Hold for two minutes.
  3. Downward-Facing Dog: Put your body in the shape of an upside down “V,” hands shoulder-width apart, fingers spread, hands flat, feet hip-width apart and parallel. Once you get a flat back, focus on sinking into each calf and holding the stretch for several breaths.
  4. Perfect lunge forward shift: In a lunge position with right knee forward in a 90-degree angle and left leg shooting back straight, make sure your left heel points straight up to the sky so you are on all five toes and are not putting strain on the knee. Keep your arms out to the side like you are walking a tightrope to help your balance. Push off the back toe, shifting your body forward (keep your front knee in a 90-degree angle) 20 times to stretch and strengthen the toes, foot, ankle, Achilles tendon and calf. Don’t give up. You will LOVE IT! Repeat on the other side.

A secret yoga technique I recommend to many of my professional players is Healthy Toes. It is a gel-like piece of equipment that you put between each of your toes to stretch the toes apart. It does not hurt and makes a huge difference. Sleep with these every night. Trust me, it works, and you have nothing to lose by trying. Shh! It’s a yogi secret.

These easy yoga moves and tips will help you prevent plantar fasciitis and keep you strong, flexible and powerful.

Watch Gwen Lawrence’s Fit Body Yoga workout online at GaiamTV.com.

Comments

  1. Thank you Thank you Thank you!
    I’ve had Plantar Fasciitis for almost a year now and am constantly looking for natural ways to relieve the pain. Orthotics from my Chiropractor have helped quite a bit but I still wake up very sore in the morning.
    Can’t wait to try these stretches.

    Margie | January 13th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  2. Thank you thank you!!

    Christine | January 13th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  3. All excellent recommendations to help reduce the inflammation associated with PF. Additional options include: anti-inflammatory meds, night splints, corticosteroid injections, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, and surgery. In order to correct the cause of the inflammation you’ll need to completely support the corrected arch of your foot from gravity with a true custom orthotic. A restored arch significantly reduces the daily pull on the plantar fascia by relaxing the “bowstring” function of the fascia. It is the only practical way to address both the symptoms AND the cause of your problem.

    Dave | January 15th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  4. Check out Katy Bowman/Santiago’s foot health kit here on Gaiam. The calf stretch literally changed my life.

    Lucy | January 18th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  5. The Boot!!!! Sleep with that plastic velcro wrapped boot on and be patient – it works and don’t throw the boot away – if you feel a twinge coming back – get the boot back on that night!!!!

    Alicia | January 19th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  6. I have tried anti-inflammatories (temporary relief), heat- and cold-packs, various stretching exercises, but here’s what worked for me: Heel-raises and squats while holding some fairly heavy dumb bells. Holding equal size weights in a hands down to the side position, I do 15-30 heel raises, up on my toes as high as I can go, 3 times a day. I also do squats, with the weights held at shoulder-height, but I believe it is the heel-raises that helps the most. I was nearly pain-free after 2 weeks, this after suffering for 2 years. Frankly, I don’t why it worked, but I never argue with success, especially if it doesn’t requiring buying something!

    Patrick | July 31st, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  7. I’ve found that blood flow stimulation works well. Any thoughts on that?

    This is the one I use http://www.kingbrand.com/Plantar_Foot_Treatment.php?REF=Boris1011

    I simply put it on my foot daily and it healed it right up within two weeks.

    Thanks.

    Mr.W | December 10th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  8. Hi! Check out my website on free heel pain help: http://www.pfsurvivalguide.com :D Take care!

    William Prowse | February 7th, 2013 | Comment Permalink

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