Plantar fasciitis develops when the plantar fascia, a thick band of fibrous connective tissue on the bottom your foot, becomes inflamed and irritated. You may need to take a break from your yoga practice if the pain is acute. However, as you recover, yoga poses that stretch and activate your feet can help you to heal.
The plantar fascia runs along the sole of your foot, from your heel to your toes. Plantar fasciitis develops when the plantar fascia becomes damaged due to overuse and over-stretching. You're more likely to experience plantar fasciitis if you have problems with the arches of your feet, if you run long distances, if you are overweight or if your Achilles tendons are tight. The most common symptom is stabbing heel pain, usually first thing in the morning upon getting out of bed.
If your plantar fasciitis pain is intense, you may need to take a week or two off from doing yoga and other athletic activities. Wearing a cushioned insert in your shoes can help to relieve the pain. When you return to your yoga practice, avoid standing poses at first. Bearing weight on your feet for long periods of time can exacerbate the condition. Other types of poses, such as seated poses, may be fine, but avoid poses that stretch the soles of the feet.
Stretching and Strengthening
After you have been pain-free for a while, doing poses that stretch your feet may help you recover. Strengthening your legs and feet will help also. Seated forward bends stretch the entire length of the back of your legs, including your Achilles tendons, as well as the soles of your feet. Activating your leg muscles during seated poses will teach you to engage those muscles when you re-introduce standing poses.
As your recovery progresses, standing poses can help to strengthen and stretch your legs and feet. Standing on a wedge with your heels lower than your toes will stretch your calves. You can perform this stretch while wearing your shoes. Pay attention to the alignment of you legs and feet in standing poses. Distribute your weight evenly across your feet. Do not to collapse onto your inner feet. "Yoga Journal" also suggests placing supports, such as pieces of a yoga mat, under the arches of your feet.
Joe Miller started writing professionally in 1991. He specializes in writing about health and fitness and has written for "Fit Yoga" magazine and the New York Times City Room blog. He holds a master's degree in applied physiology from Columbia University, Teacher's College.