Yoga might be the hottest trend in health right now, but it’s hardly the newest.
The practice–which is a fusion of stretching, exercise, and mental awareness, is one of the oldest known forms of exercise and can be an excellent form of heel pain relief and low-impact exercise for people who suffer from plantar fasciitis.
What should you know about doing yoga for heel pain, what are some of the benefits you can expect to enjoy, and what cautions should you keep in mind?
The Benefits of Yoga for Feet
Two of the most critical tenets of yoga include getting in tune with your body and strengthening your body–which are both great ways to approach plantar fasciitis! Recognizing when your body has been pushed too far as you exercise or go about your life is one of the biggest keys to avoiding and healing plantar fasciitis, since many instances of the condition are caused because the body has been pushed too far–leading to tearing or inflammation.
Yoga also centers heavily on stretching–which is one of the most effective ways to heal and strengthen damaged fascia! Stretching and strengthening the plantar fascia allows your arch to support weight and impact more effectively, reducing the likelihood of injury.
Another benefit of doing yoga for heel pain is that the stretches and poses can be done from the comfort of your own home. An incredible 90% of plantar fasciitis cases can be healed without painful and invasive surgeries, procedures and medication. Meaning, it’s time to give yoga–and other natural remedies–a second look!
The Best Yoga Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis
The best yoga stretches for plantar fasciitis will be those that are low impact (most are!) and don’t put pressure on the arches of your feet.
Stretches and exercises that strengthen the calf muscles, the achilles tendon, and the hips are great places to start. Standing poses are another good option for strengthening the legs and feet, stretching tight muscles, and relaxing.
Many people find that joining a class is the easiest way for them to learn the best yoga stretches for plantar fasciitis; Groupons and other deals abound and provide a low barrier for entry to getting started with this healing form of exercise–but if classes don’t appeal to you, you can also find great instructional videos online!
Things to Keep in Mind When You do Yoga with Plantar Fasciitis
Don’t be afraid to let your teacher know that you suffer from plantar fasciitis or another form of heel pain if you decide to join a class! He or she will be able to help you know which exercises may be the most helpful, and which ones you should modify or avoid. All kinds of people practice yoga–with a variety of mental and physical conditions.
When doing a stretch or pose, don’t be afraid to stop if you encounter pain. Let your teacher know, and determine whether you should simply stop the stretch, or in some cases adjust how you’re doing the stretch. For beginners, it can be great to have some guidance!
It’s also important to keep in mind that not all styles and practices of yoga are the same. Yoga types that favor longer, slower poses (such as Yin Yoga) can be more beneficial for plantar fasciitis than more athletic types of yoga that include high-impact, sudden pose changes. The best way to find a style or a class that suits your needs is to ask around–and visit a couple of classes to see what you can expect.
If at all possible, use a cushioned mat to give your feet the most padding possible and reduce the amount of impact to your plantar fascia. It’s also a good idea to ice your heels and feet in combination with yoga, to gain the maximum benefit and reduce any inflammation.
Whether you’re new to yoga or rediscovering the benefits of this helpful practice in a whole new light with plantar fasciitis, you’re taking a great step toward healing. Namaste!