Plantar fasciitis begins in the center of your body and works its way out to the periphery.
In this post I described the Clinical Somatic approach to plantar fasciitis. It's not simply a condition of the feet, but a lack of control in the muscles of the lower leg as well. Let's recap the steps to eliminating plantarfasciitis (and other general pain in your feet):
- Determine whether or not you have imbalances in the large muscles of your core: the back, waist, abdominal muscles. (Scroll down on this blog post for an awareness exercise that will help you.) Remember: accidents, injuries and stress can cause Sensory Motor Amnesia, which alters your sensory awareness of how you stand, walk, and move.
- Begin learning how to relieve muscle pain and regain your sense of self-awareness. Restoring muscle control in the center of the body allows the periphery - the feet, knees and lower legs, to move more easily.
- Here are some basic movements that will begin to teach you to release the muscles of the core for more ease of movement. A hiked hip or twisted pelvis can result in a leg length discrepancy, an altered gait and lower leg muscles that work too hard. The most common pattern of muscular contraction with plantar fasciitis involves tight gluteal muscles, a tight lower back on the same side as the painful foot, and tight lower leg muscles. In this post are links to several movements that will to slowly reverse some of the painful muscular tightness that adversely affects one's gait and contributes to plantar fasciitis.
- Wear thinner footwear (or go barefoot, if possible). Lems Shoes and SoftStarShoes are terrific and comfortable shoes. Read this article about shoes, in which orthopedist Philip Lewin describes how there is a sensory foot/body, foot/brain connection vital to body stability, equilibrium, and gait.
- Learn to stand straight in a relaxed, tall posture.
- Lastly, try the movements on this video to directly release the muscles of the lower leg. The best way to approach muscle pain is to release muscle imbalance in the center of the body first and then release the muscles of the lower leg for easy, smooth movement. If you attempt to fix your pain by addressing just one area of the body it often doesn't work for the long term - just like attempting to spot reduce those thighs (or buttocks or belly).
Stretching does not eliminate pain. Pandiculation is more effective and safer than stretching.
The technique I demonstrate in this video is called pandiculation. It is not stretching! Stretching is passive and can cause muscles to become tighter. Pandiculation is active and teaches muscles to move more efficiently. It resets the brain's sensation and control of muscles and movement and is the most rapid and effective way to reverse chronic pain. Stretching is passive and does not reeducate muscles that have learned to stay tight due to overuse, stress reflexes or accidents. If you want more efficient muscles that can be recruited rapidly, learn to pandiculate.
Click here for my easy-to-follow instructional DVDs.