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can you practice yoga with plantar fasciitis?

can you practice yoga with plantar fasciitis?

We recently stumbled upon a discussion with Yetta McGovern at the Yoga Curious blog about how to practice yoga while suffering from Plantar fasciitis. The first respondent from the evolation collective hadn’t had a personal experience of the problem, but after talking to one of the senior yoga teachers, and leader at our immersion teacher training, we realized there was an opportunity for a more complete answer about yoga for plantar fasciitis. We hope the following gives you a good idea of how to adapt your practice for this problem.

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practicing yoga with plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a very troublesome and painful inflammatory condition of the plantar fascia and ligaments on the plantar (underside) surface of the foot. There are many different things that can cause this condition. Sometimes it can appear due to overuse or improper use of that part of the body. Sometimes it can be chronic (longstanding) other times it can be acute (quick onset and then dissipates). To understand what can help this painful condition, it is necessary to think about the tissues that are affected. Fascia and ligaments are avascular tissues (tissues without blood vessels) and are also fairly dense and less hydrated than muscle tissue.To affect these tissues with stretching, and with yoga, one has to go about that in a different way compared to when targeting a muscle or muscle group. Tissues that are more dense, less hydrated, and have less circulation need long, sustained stretch and stress on them for change to take place.

target the fascia with yin yoga

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So, in my own personal experience working with plantar fasciitis in my feet, the type of yoga that has helped me most has been yin yoga.

Yin yoga targets the fascia of the body, with each posture lasting much longer than other styles of yoga: anywhere from 3-10 minutes per pose. A yin posture that specifically targets the plantar surface of the feet is called: toes pose.

You sit in a kneeling position, with the toes curled under and let more and more weight settle onto the heels as time passes. It may be very difficult at first, but try to work your way up to holding this for 2.5 to 3 minutes, visualizing the bottoms of the feet letting out, getting soft, gaining length. Using the breath is absolutely necessary to be able to hold the pose for a long time, especially when it gets tough.

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Besides directly working the bottoms of the feet, focusing on opening the calves is extremely important in treatment of plantar fasciitis. The tendons of the deep muscles of the calf wrap around and under the foot so extra tension or overuse of those muscles as well can put extra stress on the bottom of the foot. So any yoga poses that put a deep stretch to the calf muscles will be helpful as well.

Torrey Trover

Torrey fell in love with yoga when she was a student at Colorado State University. She is a Bikram Yoga Teacher Training graduate, completed a traditional hatha yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India and a Yin yoga training in Whistler Canada. She is also a certified Rolfer, in which she completed her training at the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Her many hours of study make her the evolation anatomy expert. Over the years, Torrey has taught in various studios in Colorado, New York, Costa Rica, Maui, and Australia. She is very excited to now be a part of the evolation family! She lives in Santa Barbara, but travels around with Mark and Zefea to help expand the ever-growing evolation team. Wherever Torrey finds herself teaching, it is her goal to empower students to use the process of alignment to open up the vast potential that lies beyond the purely physical practice.

  • http://Canupractiseyogawithplantisfaciatis Maryanne

    When u say let more and more weight onto the heel, do you mean let the foot go flat to the floor or lean back on them more . I’ve had this condition for weeks and its worse first thing in the morning. I’ve also been stretching my calves every day whenever I remember to and been seeing an Accupuncturist . I’ve also been wearing a foot support and shoe supports. I’m over it and in pain. Can u offer any other advice other than chop it off ? Tee hee her . Cheers Maryanne

    • Torrey

      Hi Maryanne :)
      Don’t chop it off!! :)

      When I said let more weight into the heel, I meant lean into/onto them more and more. Not let the heels go flat to the floor.

      I totally understand about the pain. I dealt with this condition for many years. Yoga (especially the poses I mentioned in the post) in combination with receiving the Rolfing 10-series is what has helped me the most. I no longer suffer from this pain! If you feel inspired, I would look into both of those.

      don’t give up!!

  • Michelle

    I have been trying deep shock therapy as well as wearing a night splint. The moment the treatment is finished I FEEL NO PAIN and it lasts a while ( gets longer periods of pain free as the treatments progress). I will warn you it is a painfull treatment, but worth the freedom to walk again! I look forward to trying the toes pose.

  • Irene

    Is this one pose sufficient. I am suffering from this for the past one and half years. I’ve started yoga and im hoping it will help me.

  • Betty

    Thanks Torrey for the information. I learned toes pose in my yoga class and it is helpful. Any recommendations for stretching and strengthening the calves? This is a weakness for me that contributes to my foot problems. Thanks

  • Tentickledtoez

    Thanks for the tips so far. I find deep stretching of the the calves before bedtime and ice/golf ball rolling helpful too. My physiology has also suggested the fit flops for comfort and walking exercise too. I will let you know how I get on?
    Mandy

  • Captain Jeff

    I am a very active male & have been suffering from PF for 8 months now. Extreme pain. I bought the Strassburg Sock (find in running stores)…it keeps your foot flexed when you sleep.it is helping. I roll my foot over a frozen mini zephyrhills water bottle, I stretch with towel and I practice a lot of yoga….avoid warrior poses when doing opposite foot (ie; I have PF of right foot, I cannot do warrior I, II or III on left side….when the right foot is back parallel or 45degrees)….there are other asanas I skip or modify, but its all a learning process.
    I recently had someone tell me to put my foot in a bucket of ice for 20mins…..I’m trying everything

  • Stephanie Trujillo

    I have a torn PF that is healing but I can no longer be barefoot. I used to practice yoga barefoot but that’s not an option. I know most studios require no shoes… What do you suggest doing in this situation??? An at home practice is difficult for me and I still need guidance and correction from an instructor…