Yoga Exercises to Heal Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is the micro-tearing or inflammation of the soft tissue along the arch of the foot (the tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes). Plantar fasciitis causes pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. In most cases, Plantar Fasciitis heals on its own, but in some rare and severe cases, surgery might be needed.

Did You Know!

One in ten adults suffers from plantar fasciitis during their lifetimes, with it usually affecting people between the ages of 40 and 60.

Plantar Fasciitis(1) can cause tightness in the calves and hamstrings due to the limited movement of the ankle when walking. Yoga for plantar fasciitis(2) helps relieve pain and helps in stretching connecting muscles like the calves and hamstrings.

Yoga Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis

1. Runner’s Stretch at Wall

Why use?

This exercise helps stretch the Achilles tendon and the calf muscle, both of which tend to be affected as a side effect of Plantar Fasciitis.

How to use?

  •   Stand facing a wall, about a foot away. Place your hands on the wall at belly height.
  •   Now move your left foot 2-3 feet behind, still keeping both feet firmly grounded.
  •   With one foot back and hands on the wall, lean forward with your back forming a diagonal. Ensure your back is in a straight line. Your left leg which is placed back should also be straight, with the heel firmly grounded.
  •   Bend your elbows and continue to lean forward. Your right leg will bend as you do. You should feel a stretch in the calf muscles of the left leg.
  •   If you don’t feel a stretch, move the leg further behind.
  •   Hold this position for a few breaths.
  •   Without moving or lifting your feet, straighten your right knee, while bending your left knee and lowering your back to compensate. Your buttocks will push out.
  •   Hold this position for a few breaths.
  •   Return to normal position.
  • Repeat by switching the legs.

How much to use?

Perform this exercise for 10 reps on each leg once or twice a day.

2. Calf and Plantar Fascia Stretch

Calf and Plantar Fascia Stretch
Image:ShutterStock

Why use?

Along with stretching the Achilles tendon and the calf muscle, this exercise also works out the plantar fascia. It one of the best yoga poses for plantar fasciitis. You will need a stepping stool or a block (about 6 inches high) to perform this exercise.

How to use?

  •   Place the block against a wall. Stand facing the wall with your toes about an inch away from the block.
  •   Place the ball of your left foot on the upper edge of the block, while keeping your heel grounded.
  •   You should feel a stretch in your calf muscles and the muscles in your feet. If you don’t, lean forward slightly using your hands on the wall as support
  •   Hold for a few breaths.
  •   Bend your left knee slightly while leaning forward.
  •   Hold for a few breaths
  •   Return to the neutral position.
  •   Repeat with the other leg

How much to use?

Perform this exercise for 10 reps on each leg once or twice a day.

[Read: Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis]

3. Foot Stretch (Vajrasana Variation)

Why use?

This exercise directly targets the plantar fascia.

How to use?

  •   Get down on a yoga mat on your hands and knees.
  •   Curl your toes by pointing your heels upwards and slightly forward. Your toes should continue to point forward.
  •   Slowly drop your hips back towards your heels. You should feel a stretch along the soles of your feet.
  •   Hold for several breaths.
  •   Return to the neutral position.

How much to use?

Perform this exercise for 10-15 reps once or twice a day.

[ Read: Effective Natural Remedies to Cure Plantar Fasciitis ]

4. Straight Leg Raise (Supta Padangusthasana)

Supta Padangusthasana
Image:ShutterStock

Why use?

This exercise helps stretch the Achilles tendon, hamstring and also targets the plantar fascia. Keep a strap or a towel with you to perform this pose.

How to use?

  •   Lie down on a yoga mat on your back with both feet placed against the wall. Your entire foot must be flat on the wall with our toes pointing upward.
  •   Bend your left knee and bring it closer to your chest. Strap the towel around the arch of the left foot. Continue to keep your right foot firmly placed.
  •   Slowly straighten your left leg upward-pointing the sole of the foot upward, pointing your toes backward. Continue to hold the towel to support your legs it’s OK if your shoulders bend forward.
  •   Ensure your right foot is still firmly placed.
  •   Hold this position for a few breaths.
  •   Return to the neutral position.
  •   Repeat with the right leg.

How much to use?

Perform this exercise for 10 reps on each leg once or twice a day.

[ Read: Essential Oils for Plantar Fasciitis ]

5. Big Toe Pull from Thread the Needle

Why use?

This exercise helps stretch the Plantar Fascia and relieves pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis.

How to use?

  •   Lie down on your back on a yoga mat with both knees bent and feet planted on the ground.
  •   Fold your left leg with the left ankle placed over the right knee.
  •   Raise your legs keeping them in the same position towards your chest. Cup your left foot to help raise our legs.
  •   In this position, use your left hand to hold your left toe. Inhale and slowly stretch your left toe backward, toward your knee. Repeat as many times as needed.
  •   Return to the neutral position and switch legs.

How much to use?

Perform this exercise once or twice a day.

6. Savasana With Feet Against the Wall

Why use?

This pose serves to stretch the calf and hamstring muscles.

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How to use?

  •   Lie down on the floor and raise your legs against a wall. Move as close to the wall taking your buttocks closer and against the wall. Your feet should be facing up towards the ceiling.
  •   If possible get close enough to touch your buttocks to the wall. The back of your legs will be touching the wall as well.
  •   You will feel a stretch in your entire leg.
  •   Hold this position for a few breaths.

How much to use?

Perform this exercise as needed.

7. Malasana (Garland Pose)

Garland Pose
Image:ShutterStock

Why use?

This exercise helps to stretch the muscles in the ankles and the connecting muscles in the foot. This is an advanced move, do not perform it if you find it hard.

How to use?

  • Squat down bearing your weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Keep your knees at a comfortable distance.
  • Raise your hands and bend forward, with your upper body in between your thighs.
  • You should feel a stretch on your ankles and thighs.
  • Stay in this position for a few breaths.

[ Read: Natural Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis ]

How much to use?

Perform this exercise as needed.

Recovering from Plantar Fasciitis

Take a good amount of rest, use ice to reduce inflammation, and perform the exercises mentioned here or prescribed by your doctor. Buying custom made shoe insoles designed for plantar fasciitis will help you get relief from pain during day-to-day activities. It could take anywhere between 6-18 months for plantar fasciitis to completely heal, so be patient and do not perform any strenuous exercise. With rest and proper exercise, you will be back to normal faster.


FAQs

1. How long does plantar fasciitis last?

It depends on the severity, but for completely healing it could take 6-18 months.

2. What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis occurs because of the overuse of the feet, as in when you run for long periods too often.

3. What if plantar fasciitis does not heal even after 18 months?

If the prescribed medicines and exercises are not working, you may need surgery.

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