Thomas Hanna defined Sensory Motor Amnesia as the habituation of a stress response. We reflexively withdraw inward to protect (Red Light/Startle Response), move forward (Green Light/Landau Response), or twist and rotate to avoid or compensate (Trauma Reflex). These reflexes are full body; the most basic principle of Hanna/Clinical Somatics is that when there is tension in the center of the body it can often be felt in the periphery (legs/feet, arms/hands, neck/head).

Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot condition accompanied by heel pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia. Most current “fixes” for this condition address the foot in isolation from the rest of the body: stretching, different shoes, ice, shock wave therapy etc.

The old children’s song, “the foot bone’s connected to the knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the leg bone…” says it all:

We are connected as a system; pain in the foot reflects an imbalance in the center of the body.

Those suffering from plantar fasciitis generally show up with a habituated Trauma Reflex (one side of the body is tighter than the other; this muscular imbalance hikes and rotates one side of the pelvis) and tension on one side of the back.

When these reflexes become habituated the gait changes. We walk like a car with one flat tire: the legs function differently from right to left and one foot lands more forcefully and heavily on one side than the other.

This gait pattern contributes to heel pain and tight fascia.

The solution is to learn to release the tight, shortened waist muscles on one side (as well as the co-contracted waist muscles on the other side), release the back muscles, and restore balance and symmetry through the pelvis.

When you do this, the legs and feet will be able to function more evenly and efficiently from right to left.

If you currently have plantar fascitis, consider your history: have you ever had an accident, one-sided surgery, or a fall? Do you engage in a repetitive one-sided activity? How might this contribute to your gait and your experience of your feet?

Helpful Somatic Movements for plantar fasciitis are: Arch and Flatten, Back Lift, Arch and Curl with Psoas Release, Side Bend, and the Walking Movements. Explore our YouTube channel for videos on these movements and plenty more besides.