Plantar Fascia on the sole of the foot
Plantar =relates to the action of plantar flexion, which means to point the foot
Tight plantar fascia makes it difficult to bring the toes towards the shin
Fascia = connective tissue
Itis = inflammation
Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the tissue on the sole of the foot. The Plantar Fascia is a thick connective tissue that extends from the heel to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. When walking this tissue is under tension and helps create a spring action to conserve energy and propel the body forward. When the tissue becomes inflamed it may be more difficult to Dorsiflex the ankle, which is to draw the toes toward the shin bone. Pain may be felt in the heel or in the arch when taking the first steps of the day.
Making sure your ankle, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles are flexible can help prevent plantar fasciitis so here are a few poses you can use.
Sitting on the feet/ Vajrasana
To decompress the front of the ankles you can sit on your feet. Start by bringing your feet underneath your sit bones while keeping the heels together. If this is relatively comfortable you can sit here for a couple of minutes. For those who are a bit more flexible you can place your hands on the floor behind you and lean back allowing the knees to lift off the floor, stretching the front of the ankles. Slowly lower the knees back down. If you ever feel discomfort in the knees then either place a blanket in the knee crease to keep the joint open or you can elevate the hips by sitting on a block or other prop.
Hero's pose/ Virasana with a block
The higher the hips, the less pressure on the knees and ankles. If there is still discomfort in the knees then come out of the pose. Next, curl all ten toes under on the mat and bring the heels together. See if you can sit on the heels. This will stretch the toes and the plantar fascia. If it is a new stretch for you, you may only be here for a breath or two. Eventually it will feel more comfortable and you can stay here for several minutes.
Curl the toes under and sit on the heels
Lastly, come to table pose on hands and knees and lift the hips up to the ceiling in good old fashioned Downward facing dog pose. Hands are shoulder width apart and feet are hip width apart. “Walk the dog”, by bending the right knee and press the left heel to the floor with a straight leg. Then bend the left knee and press the right heel to the floor with a straight leg. Continue to walk it out side to side to stretch the calves and Achilles. Straighten both legs and come up onto the tiptoes and then slowly lower the heel towards the floor. When your done with this sequence come down into child’s pose to rest and feel the effects of your practice.
Downdog/ Adho Mukha Svanasana