A couple of weeks ago I felt that me left foot was hurting when I was walking. It is mainly on the left side of my sole and it stopped once I did not put any pressure on it. But lately it even hurts when I am sitting and so I tried to find out yoga postures that could help ease the pain and even get rid of it – and guess what? IT HELPED!
In the following post I want to share my findings with you.
What causes foot pain?
Injury, overuse or conditions causing inflammation involving any of the bones, ligaments or tendons in the foot can cause foot pain. Arthritis is a common cause of foot pain. Injury to the nerves of the feet may result in intense burning pain, numbness or tingling (peripheral neuropathy).
Foot pain is a common problem. The foot is made up of 26 bones, 33
joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons. Each year we take on
average half a million steps, so it’s no wonder that things go wrong.
The good news is that most cases of foot pain will settle with simple treatment at home. But where should you start?
What are the symptoms?
Foot pain symptoms include anything from burning pain to swelling, instability to foot rashes.
It might be the top of the foot that’s affected, the toes, the foot arch or even the calf.
By thinking about your foot pain symptoms, you can work out what is wrong and how best to treat it.
symptoms may be an indication of a problem in the foot itself, a
medical condition or a problem further up in the leg or in the lower
Burning foot pain
Burning sensations usually indicate a nerve problem anywhere from lower back to the foot.
Running foot pain
Runners may get foot and ankle pain during or after a run. It often gets progressively worse. I can be caused by over-training, previous injury, flat feet, muscle imbalance or poor footwear. You feel pain, weakness or swelling.
Sharp pain in big toe
Sharp stabbing pain in, on top of or under the big toe when sitting, walking or running caused by overuse, injury, sprinting, tight footwear, gout.
Swollen feet and ankles
A build-up of fluid in one or both feet causes them to swell. The cause can be injury, inflammation, a medical condition e.g. gout, infection, heart problems, pregnancy.
Pain on top of the foot
Every step we take places a force 1.5 x body weight through our feet. Pain is usually caused by a damage to the bones and can come from injury, overuse, wear and tear or even ill-fitting footwear.
Food Arch Pain
Foot arch pain is a common problem, largely due to the amount of pressure going through our feet. The muscles and tendons that support the foot arches have to work hard to stabilise the foot and can quickly fatigue resulting in pain on the bottom of the foot.
Weakness and tightness in the foot muscles changes how the forces go through the feet and up the legs so foot arch pain is often associated with back and knee pain too.
How to check for yourself which kind of foot pain you have
Foot pain diagnosis is all about working out what is causing your pain so you know how to treat it effectively.
One of the simplest ways to approach foot pain diagnosis is to start by thinking where exactly the pain is.
From there you can hone-in on specific symptoms to work out what is causing your foot pain.
There might be a problem in the bones, inflammation in the tendons or damage to one of the ligaments.
There are over 100 muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments in the foot so there are countless things that can go wrong.
How can yoga help fight foot pain?
You have to look at your feet as the foundation of the whole body, like the foundation of a building. If this foundation is not strong, the building will collapse. By doing yoga regularly you work on this foundation, on your feet – they must be level to support all the structure above, legs, spine, arms and head. One of the causes of food pain are muscles getting too tight and yoga will ease this tightness.
Easy poses to combat foot pain
Standing poses are very good for becoming aware of your feet. You will feel where you put your weight, on the inner or outer edge, or evenly distributed.
Notice how your weight falls, and then play with it by rocking forward and back, lifting first your toes, then your heels.
Try lifting the arch of your foot while pushing down around the edges, creating both a sense of rooting into the earth and lifting energy up from the center.
Here are the steps to achieve mountain pose:
- Stand with your feet flat on the floor, heels slightly out
- Bring your hands in front of you, stretch your arms, palms closer together
- Inhale and stretch your spine. Raise your arms up above your head and stretch as much as you can, lift your ankles and stand on your toes
- Look up and take some slow breaths
- Hold for 30 seconds and exhale slowly back to normal standing
- Try to repeat 5 to 10 times and increase time as much as you feel comfortable
This pose enhances the strength in your ankles and feet.
- Stand on one leg
- Bend your other knee
- Put the sole of your foot on the inside of your knee
- Balance and keep your hands together in front of you
- Try to sway like a tree in the wind
This pose strengthens the feet, ankles, calves and thighs.
- Stand tall with your feet either together or 4 – 5 inches apart and parallel, knees slightly bent
- Shift your weight into your left foot and cross your right thigh over your left. See if you can hook your right foot behind your left calf
- Cross your left elbow over your right and bring the palms of your hands or the backs of your hands together
- Hug your legs together, and sit back as sitting on a chair
- Lift your elbows to shoulder height
- Stay there and reach your hands forward away from you to create more stretch between your upper shoulder blades
- Relax your face and your jaw
This pose stretches the top of the foot and elongates the arch.
- Start kneeling with the tops of the feet down on the mat, knees touching
- Come up to stand on the knees, bring your feet a bit more than hip-distance apart, big toes pointing in slightly
- Slowly sit down between your feet. You might need a bolster or block to place between your feet
- Bring your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen from the crown of your head, palms face up or down on your thighs
- Stay in this pose for up to 30 breaths
- To come out put your palms on the mat in front of you and come onto hands and knees and stand up
This pose gives your feet a very good stretch, if your heels try to come flat to the floor, it works the arches of the feet and eases foot arch pain.
- Start being on your hands and knees
- Hands in front of your shoulders
- Press back
- Raise your knees from the floor
- Lift your tailbone up
- Push your heels toward the floor
Hold for 5 to 10 breaths and repeat 5 times
Bound angle pose with foot massage
This pose lengthens the leg’s muscles and helps to stretch the arches of your feet.
- Begin seated and bring your knees wide out to the sides, take the soles of your feet together, about 1 to 2 feet in front of you
- Hold your ankles with your hands and inhale deeply to lengthen the spine, then hinge forward as far as you can
- Drop your head, relax your shoulders, and take your hands with your thumbs on the arches of your feet
- Gently massage the bottoms of your feet, take 5 to 10 deep breaths
Supported Bridge Variation
This pose again is good to stretch your leg muscles, ease tension and soften your feet.
- Begin lying on your back. Bend knees, placing feet on the ground hip-width apart
- Lift hips and place a block underneath you at whatever setting feels best for your back, then lower sacrum onto the block
- Once you feel steady, using your right hand for assistance, place the top of right foot on the ground next to the block. Keep reaching knees toward your midline
- Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths and then switch sides
Reclined Hero’s Pose
This pose stretches the thighs, knees and ankles and strengthens the arches of the feet.
- Start by kneeling down on your mat
- Get your sit bones on the mat between your heels
- Knees as close together as possible
- Bring your hands back until your forearms are touching the mat
- Bring your elbows down until you are lying on the mat
- Do not arch your back
- Bring our arms over your head and grap your opposite elbows
- Stay for 5 to 10 deep breaths
Reclined Cow Face Pose
This gives the soles of your feet a much needed stretch.
- Lie on your back and cross your right knee over your left, bring feet slightly out to the sides
- Hold your right foot with your left hand and your left foot with your right hand
- Keep your knees stacked, try with your hands to get shins in one line, keep elbows and feet flexed
- Hold for for 5 to 10 deep breaths and bring your thumbs into the arches of your feet and massage from heel to ball
- Repeat on the other side
This pose also is all about stretching your leg and feet muscles.
- Begin seated in with your legs long in front of you
- Bend your left knee and place the top of the left foot on the mat outside to the left
- Bend your right knee and hold the outer edges of your right foot with both hands
- Gently press your heel away and up, lengthening the right leg. Draw your shoulders down and lift your chest
- With your fingers massage the edges of your foot
- Stay here for 5 deep breaths
- Repeat on the other side
Legs up the wall pose
This pose provides a gentle stretch for the abductor muscles. Tight inner thigh muscles can overload the foot arch
causing pain or an imbalance in the feet during walking.
- Lie on your back and swing your legs up onto the wall, so the back of your thighs rest against the wall
- Allow your entire spine to rest heavy on the mat or floor beneath you, and relax your arms by your sides or on your stomach
- You might add some weight on top of your feet to feel even more grounded
- Stay there for up to 10 minutes
What else can help to reduce pain?
- Choose comfortable, roomy, and well-cushioned shoes
- Avoid shoes with high heels and narrow toe areas
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stretch before and after exercise
- Practice good foot hygiene
- Always wear footwear when you go outdoors to protect your feet
I hope that you can take up my suggestions but I know that this can be a lengthy process – so please do not give up and I would love to hear from you how you are getting along. Please give your comments, ideas and hopefully success stories!