Ask a Yoga Teacher

Answers to all your questions on health, fitness and yoga

Planter Fasciitis. A Cure at Last?

Feb 16, 2024

Foot Pain? You Need to Read This

This unconventional treatment fixed plantar fasciitis in weeks

Plantar fasciitis is the painful inflammation of the connective tissues on the bottom of the foot. It's one of the most common ailments of the feet and can make work and exercise feel impossible and basic mobility a chore. Typical treatments for plantar fasciitis include massage, stretching, strengthening, taping, cortisone shots, but some researchers recently tested an unconventional treatment for plantar fasciitis with surprising results.

A 2022 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health tested the effects running barefoot would have on plantar fasciitis. 20 runners suffering from plantar fasciitis were given the task of running barefoot on grass for 15 minutes every other day. After only 6 weeks nearly every participant in the study reported improvement in their condition. After 12 weeks at least one participant reported 100% improvement.

The working theory is that running barefoot corrects the flattening and weakening of the arches of the feet created by modern footwear and modern walking/ running surfaces. The researchers point out that plantar fasciitis is almost unheard of in populations that typically go unshod. 

The study is relatively small and has a number of shortcomings. It doesn't account for the fact that several of the participants continued to receive other treatments and that plantar fasciitis often improves on its own over time. But treating plantar fasciitis with more running instead of rest is novel and worth exploring. 

If you have plantar fasciitis running barefoot is at least worth a shot. It’s simple, non-invasive and entirely free.

 

Ready to Run?

Ready to give barefoot running a try? This is a simple breathing meditation that works well for walking or running. Before you get started, keep in mind that running or walking barefoot is low risk, but not without hazards. Find a grassy field to practice and keep an eye out for sharp rocks, broken glass, dog droppings etc.

  1. Close your mouth and begin breathing through your nose. Take full exhales out and deep inhales into the belly.
  2. Begin walking and counting your steps. Be mindful of what part of your foot touches the ground first. Make your steps as careful and gentle as possible.
  3. Count an equal number of steps for the inhale and exhale. For example if you count two steps inhaling count two steps exhaling. A step or two pausing between the inhale and exhale is fine.
  4. Increase your pace from a walk to a shuffle. Land on the middle of your foot, with your foot directly underneath the hips.
  5. Continue counting an equal number of steps for the inhale and exhale, continue breathing through your nose.

So long as you can continue breathing through your nose, increase your pace from a shuffle to a jog. Continue landing on the middle of the foot and Increase your speed by stretching your legs out farther back behind you.

If you run out of breath and can no longer breath through your nose, drop your pace back down to a shuffle or a walk.

Continue to modulate your pace so that you can maintain an even breathing through the nose.

Walk, shuffle or jog for 15 minutes then take a break and observe how your feet feel.

Ask a Yoga Teacher Newsletter

Want Helpful Yoga Tips Every Week?

You're safe with me. I'll never spam you or sell your contact info.