Yoga for Heel Pain: Plantar Fasciitis (Video)

Treat your feet to easing stretches

woman's feet

Contributor: Judi Bar, Yoga Program Manager

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Can’t wait to head off to your vacation in the Rockies and try out those new hiking boots? The day is beautiful, the weather’s great and you feel lucky to be alive. That is, until the next morning, when you feel a stabbing pain in your heel.

This pain, known as plantar fasciitis, can be caused by a number of things, but typically our footwear is the culprit. Yoga postures that stretch and strengthen the legs and feet can help reduce and even relieve plantar fasciitis.

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Watch the video for a demonstration of these poses, which can be done sitting or standing. Below, find descriptions for reference:

  • Basic seated posture — Sit at the front edge of your chair with your spine lengthened, chest lifted, shoulders relaxed down and away from your ears, feet on the floor and knees directly over ankles. Breathe gently and evenly.
  • Basic standing posture — Standing straight, feet hip width apart, feet pointed forward, chest lifted, shoulders back and dropped away from ears, gaze forward, crown of head lifted, neck and spine lengthened. Breathe gently and evenly.
  • Seated straight leg foot and ankle warm-ups — From your basic seated posture, extend your legs straight in front of you, heels on the floor. Start by wiggling your toes. Next, warm up the ankles by flexing and extending both feet, pointing your toes toward you and away from you. Loosen the ankles further by drawing circles with your feet. First one direction, then repeat in the opposite direction.
  • Seated straight leg hamstring stretch — Return to your basic seated posture but with legs extended out in front of you. Keep knees soft and make sure feet and toes are pointed up and not to the side. With a flat back, gently lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your legs. Hold while breathing gently and evenly. Helps loosen tight muscles and gently stretches the connective tissue in your back and legs.
  • Prancing feet — Now take your basic standing posture. Gently lift your right heel off the ground and roll onto your right toes. Place heel back on ground and repeat movement on the left side. Alternate sides. You may hold onto the back of a chair to aid with balance. This builds flexibility in the toes and stretches the arch of the foot.
  • Calf and Achilles stretch – Stand tall, extend your right leg back behind you and gently bend the left knee. While keeping the right leg straight, gently lower the right heel until it is flat on the floor. Be sure to keep your back foot and toes pointing straight ahead. Activate a stretch of the Achilles tendon by bending the right knee. Repeat on the left side.
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