I can tell you it’s been hard to witness so many runners discouraged and put out of the business of running because of plantar fasciitis.
Has it happened to you or someone you know?
Getting out of bed limping and hobbling, not sure if you will be able to run or really walk again.
Then I developed it as well, and I tried all the things below…
Running on a treadmill in front of a camera to check my gait,
Even a cortisone shot in my right heel.
I tried stretching my calves in special socks at night,
& could be spotted stretching in doorways and off of stairs.
Have you tried any of the above?
Then I could only run on a treadmill, which according to Katy Bowman uses the same muscle pattern as sitting. I couldn’t walk barefoot anymore. Finally the kicker was I got pregnant and had an early miscarriage, through that short window of hormone changes the cortisone shot wore off and the pain came right back.
At this point you can imagine that I was ready to change a lot of things in my life. I became really willing to slow down and work on the causes of my pain instead of just trying to just get my feet (& body) to stop hurting.
I can tell you it was my journey through yoga and Rolfing that started my true healing. My mentor and yoga teacher, Andrea Gunderson from Rolfing Arabia suggested I walk on the beach barefoot and just notice my gait. Which way were my feet angling out? Were my feet hitting the ground evenly? It was hard (REALLY HARD) to let go of the doing and just to observe. That observation began to build my proprioception skills. It’s so subtle but very powerful that awareness is the key that unlocks the way forward.
Then I was open to using different tools with no timeline on healing. The broken toe pose became my new torture device that felt so great after the fact. Tias Little has a GREAT foot opening class HERE that you can do at home. This video contains the broken-toe pose and so much more great ways to awaken, connect & stretch the feet.
The real fun started when I took up paddle boarding. At first, I couldn’t stand for long because I would cramp up in my arcs. SUPing really helps for building strength in my feet. I switch to on my knees paddling and tuck my toes under to stretch out the fascia in the balls of my feet. Then I will do staff pose and make sure to dorsey flex my foot with my toes spread to continue to release and strengthen my feet. Most of all it’s FUN, challenging and lovely.
Next, I chucked my tennis shoes in the bin. I ordered 5-toe shoes from Füt Glove which I found to be a great transition shoe for me as they have more padding than super minimal shoes but still fairly neutral in the heel and have a nice toe spread. I sported those ugly suckers to a reunion in Georgia, the Front Range of Colorado and even the Highlands of Ethiopia (caused quite a stir there). I threw out ALL shoes that didn’t allow for my toes to breath and that hurt my feet.
Further in my journey, I committed to 10 Rolfing sessions, because if I learned anything, quick fixes don’t work. I highly suggest checking out a Rolfing practitioner near you for this work.
I continued observing and accepting my body little by little.
After a year, I noticed something. I can walk barefoot again. I can run and it doesn’t hurt in my heels anymore (but it does still in other places & that’s okay because I am a work in progress). I can stand on the paddle board much longer without foot cramping and I have more strength and flexibility in my feet than ever before.
Not to mention, I love my big feet now.
Size 9 wide!
I am still learning about how our feet relate and align the rest of our body. In my yoga class, our instructor speaks of how the feet relates to a women’s health in her pelvic floor. Since my mission is all about helping women adore and nurture their own bellies and pelvises, then it makes sense to start with your feet.
Sounds fun right! Please keep reading before you go shopping!
Now it’s important to not just JUMP in and buy some Vibrams and think that’s going to work for you. Probably not! I had to transition into all of these various shoes and exercises. I also stopped wearing heals daily a really long time ago because of pelvis and leg pain. And I am STILL transitioning. Let’s remember how this is a journey not a destination.
Look dorky, do crazy things like not walking on the sidewalk or wearing your 5-toed shoes to Ethiopia so people can stare at you even more than they would anyway.
Please, if this small-town Iowa girl & her offspring can do it, then so can you!
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Have you ever tried some of the wacky things I have? Did this article give you an idea you would like to try?
Let us know in the comments below.