Plantar fasciitis & Yin Yoga: Supporting Healing

Plantar fasciitis & Yin Yoga

Plantar fasciitis (say: plant-er fash-ee-eye-tis) is a disorder that results in typically sharp and unilateral pain in the heel and bottom of the foot, which can worsen by bearing weight on the heel after long periods of rest.

The pain is usually caused by COLLAGEN DEGENERATION (Myxomatous degeneration which is sometimes misnamed “chronic inflammation”) at the origin of the plantar fascia at the medial tubercle of the calcaneus.

The function of the plantar fascia is to provide static support of the longitudinal arch (the “bouncy tent that connects your heel with the ball of your foot) and dynamic shock absorption.

First, let´s look at some factors that can cause Plantar Fasciitis:

Plantar fasciitis - Plantarfasziitis - Yin Yoga Wien
By Kosi Gramatikoff – used under CC0 1.0 Universal – Public Domain Dedication

INFLUENCING FACTORS THAT CAN CAUSE PLANTAR FASCITIS:

FUNCTIONAL RISK FACTORS such as tightness and weakness in the gastrocnemius, soleus, Achilles tendon and intrinsic foot muscles.

INCREASE IN WEIGHT-BEARING ACTIVITIES – repetitive, day in, day out standing on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time or excessive running – which causes microtrauma to the plantar fascia and exceeds the body’s capacity to recover.

LOW ARCHES or flat feet (pes planusor) or HIGH ARCHES (pes cavus) are at increased risk for developing plantar fasciitis.

Also associated with an inward rolling (or “PRONATION”) of the foot due to (or causing) an increased rotation of the tibia.

LACK OF CERTAIN NUTRIENTS in your body that help relax tendons: Magnesium, Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Omega 3 (fish oil).

ObBESITY – seen in 70% of individuals with plantar fasciitis – is an independent risk factor. Studies have suggested a strong association exists between an increased body mass index and the development of plantar fasciitis in the non-athletic population.

A lifestyle that involves LITTLE OR NO EXERCISE.

POSSIBILITIES OF TREATMENT & TRAINING:

To understand what can help with plantar fasciitis, 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 target and affect these tissues with stretching, we have to choose 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 stretches and stress on them for change to take place. Think Yin Yoga! (most certainly you already did! 😊😁)

Two Yin Yoga Postures that will strengthen the collagen structures in the foot, are:

  1. Toe Squat (up to 2 min.)
  2. Ankle Stretch (1 min.)
Plantarfasziosis - Yin Yoga Wien
Sitting on your heels will challenge the collagen fibers of your plantar fascia to rebuild and strengthen over time.

If Ankle Stretch is too intense at the moment, go for Half Saddle or Full Saddle with the foot straight to the back if your hip structures allow for it.

BERNIE CLARK recommends to flow through this cycle two times before continuing with:

Plantarfasziosis dragon pose yin yoga
Oversteppting Dragon targets beautifully tight gastrocnemius or soleus muscles and the archilles tendon that, if under too much strain, may be the cause for Plantar fasciitis.

These last Yin Yoga Postures will work more on your lower legs than on your feet, but they will target the areas that may be tight and may be the cause for Plantar fasciitis.

Of course if we work with the myofascial web and pathways, it’s never just one area that we have to target all the time: overall balance in “accessing the web” and providing various impulses for things to change and get better are required.

Recommended videos and further reading for you:

 
New Techniques for treating Plantar fasciitis – Especially for runners!
 
Can You practice yoga with plantar fasciitis? – Article
 
Plantar Fasciitis Survival Guide – Helpful Website
 
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis – Helpful Information
 
Plantar Fasciitis on Wikipedia