Our feet are literally the foundation for everything else we do in our bodies, yet they get so little of our attention! That is, until they start really complaining. There are a few big reasons our feet can get achey, swollen, sore, or uncomfortable.
If you are someone who wears shoes all the time (especially extra-supportive shoes), there’s a fair chance your feet are actually pretty weak, which can be one source of foot pain or discomfort. Wearing heels or other “impractical” shoes – especially around the holidays, when we may be more doing a lot more party-going and being on our feet – can also cause swelling and discomfort. And lastly, pregnancy can contribute to foot swelling. Not to mention, at no point in our lives will most of us gain as much weight as quickly as we do in pregnancy, which can definitely take a toll.
The Calf Squish
Our heel bone is attached at the top to the achilles tendon and calf, and on the bottom to the plantar fascia of the foot. In other words, if the calf is tight, it can pull the heel bone back and up, creating more tension and pulling across the underside of the foot. Sometimes when people have plantar fasciitis or foot pain, it may actually be caused by calf tightness. Wearing heels and walking a lot can also contribute to that tightness.
This pose creates compression (or, basically, a really intense massage) on the calf to help ease tension there.
- Start from hands and knees.
- Place your right shin into your left knee pit.
- Sit your hips back toward your left heel, pressing your shin into your left calf. You can use your hands to support some weight to prevent this from being too intense. Feel free to rock around, or “milk” your right shin down your left calf muscle.
- When you’re done, uncross the legs and reach your left leg straight back, tucking the toes under on the floor and pressing your heel back.
You can use a tennis ball (my preference), lacrosse ball, or even a golf ball if you’re really tough for this.
- Stand up and place the ball under your foot.
- Picture the arch of your foot as the keypad on a telephone. You’ll start with the ball under your arch at the number 1 on your imaginary telephone.
- Roll in small circles around the number 1 for about 10-30 seconds. Then move the ball to the number 2.
- Repeat, moving through each number. You won’t be rolling your ball or heel. Just the arch.
- Repeat with the second foot.
Screaming Toe Stretch
Tuck all 10 toes under and sit back on your heels. The name of this stretch describes it perfectly! Use your hands to support some of your weight if needed.
If you’re curious how yoga can help support recovery from plantar fasciitis, drop me a line!