Contributed by Wassana Lampech
We don’t always realize how much movement benefits our bodies, and this is certainly true for our feet. Those of us who are constantly on our feet or who suffer from painful symptoms of plantar fasciitis sometimes look for ways to make our feet feel as comfortable as possible, and one of the best methods for doing so is yoga.
Yoga teaches us that everything in our bodies is connected and deserves our attention. Our feet sometimes don’t receive enough attention, but we can make them feel exponentially better and keep them healthier by doing a few simple yoga stretches each day.
What is Plantar Fasciitis
Before we jump into our yoga stretches, let’s first talk about one of the biggest culprits for foot pain. So, what is plantar fasciitis?, you wonder? Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which pain is felt under the heel of the foot due to inflammation around the plantar fascia (a band of tissue in the foot that stretches from the heel to the end of the metatarsal).
Plantar fasciitis is caused by things like being on your feet a lot, starting to exercise on a harder surface, and wearing shoes with poor support. If you go the podiatry route and visit a sports podiatrist, chances are that they will look at your shoes and tell you to chuck ’em for a better, more supportive pair.
Plantar fasciitis is treatable with podiatry methods, and a sports podiatrist can help you find better footwear and develop exercises to alleviate pain.
Yoga Stretches For Relieving Plantar Fasciitis Pain
What a podiatrist might not tell you is that yoga stretches can be quite effective at relieving foot pain, especially if these stretches are done on a regular basis. Before you get started with your yoga stretches, take a few moments to rub the soles of your feet to get some of the pain out.
1. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
This standing pose can help with extension in the front of your foot and ankle. You will have to ground your big toe and gain extension through it. Triangle pose works to create a full-body extension, but for the best stability, you will have to use the strength in your feet to ground down.
2. Downward Dog Foot Peddling
Downward Dog is a full-body stretch that creates length in the upper and lower body. The pose is done on all fours with your sitting bone reaching up toward the ceiling. This pose helps alleviate pain from the wrists as well as the feet since you have to press your fingers evenly into your mat as you stretch. The best way to do Downward Dog if you have foot pain is to peddle your feet, bringing one foot onto the toes at a time. This helps to lengthen your Achilles’ tendons.
3. Bound Angle Pose with Foot Massage
This pose can be done while sitting on a yoga mat, on the ground, or even on the sofa or bed and is especially beneficial if you have finished a long day of working on your feet or exercising. With your knees bent out to the side, put your hands on your ankles and bring your torso forward. You create length in your spine while doing this move. While you’re in this pose, you can gently massage the soles, tops, and sides of your feet and in between your toes to relieve some of the stress that tends to accumulate in your feet throughout the day.
4. Heron Pose
This pose is a little more advanced than some of the other poses since it requires you to be able to fully lift and extend your legs skyward, which is something some of us struggle with if our flexibility still needs work. However, if you can get your legs to extend upward, the Heron is a great seated pose that creates length and strength in your legs and lower back. Once your leg is fully extended, use your hands to press your heel up and back. Spend a minute or so gently massaging your foot while in this position, then switch to your other leg.
Many of us have foot pain without knowing the extent of just how terrible it can be. When we take care of our feet, they can feel healthier and keep us mobile a lot better. Yoga doesn’t take much time. Even these four poses can be done in a matter of minutes and provide a good amount of pain relief when done on a regular basis. Consistency is key, and the more you are able to do, the better your feet (and the rest of your body and mind) will feel.