PILATES, PODIARY AND PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Dr. Sheryl Strich
We have been hearing about all kinds of athletes who are sidelined due to Plantar Fasciitis. How do you know if you have it? Your heel hurts!! The heel pain is the worst when you take the first step in the morning and then subsides after you walk around for a few minutes. However, a dull ache usually returns later in the day after sitting or standing for a long time. The pain can be very limiting. The plantar fascia is a strong ligament that is attached to your heel bone and extends to the base of your toe joints, and plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia. Causes of plantar fasciitis include strenuous sports, high arches or flat feet, walking on hard surfaces for a long time, and unsupportive shoes. HINT: DON’T WEAR FLIP FLOPS TO DISNEYLAND – DEFINITELY A SET UP FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS! Interestingly enough, plantar fasciitis is the one foot problem where high heels are not the evil doer.
When a patient comes in to my podiatry office, there are various treatments available; anti-inflammatory meds, strapping the foot in a neutral position, orthotics and shockwave therapy. At home, patients are instructed to ice in order to take down some of the inflammation.
As a Pilates Instructor, here are two of my favorite exercises to help prevent and/or rehab for plantar fasciitis. Since the heel bone is connected to the leg bone, the Achilles tendon must be included in the exercise regimen.
1. Using the Reformer: The balls of both feet are placed on the bar as though you were
wearing stiletto heels. Maintain the stiletto heel position as you press the carriage
away. When your legs are fully extended, drop your heels. Hold it. Then go back to
the stiletto heel position as you bring the carriage back in. Repeat 8 x.
2. Inchworm: With your mat against the wall, place legs in tabletop with the soles of
your feet against the wall. Your knees are directly over your hips. Begin by “doming”
your feet, allowing your heels and toes only, to touch the wall. You will flex and extend
your toes as they drag your domed feet up the wall and then back down the wall.
Repeating for one minute.