Understanding how to heal the heel : plantar fascitis unravelled: A personal journey- healing by Angi Bloom
I’ve had plantar fascitis 3 times in the last 15 years or so.
The first time around I was a 7 day a week runner and I chose to ignore the pain until it became so pronounced that I was wobbling around on my toes avoiding any contact with the ground and my heel. Running was out of the question so I started to cycle, used the elliptical and rower to make sure I was still getting my adrenalin rush and burning calories.
Orthotics provided an immediate relief, my foot exercises and icing helped and the plantar fascitis disappeared. This time around, I was convinced it wasn’t plantar fascitis as initially the pain was most intense after lots of walking, yoga and didn’t bother me at all in the morning. With time, that changed and the first few steps in the morning or after sitting were excruciating.
The good thing was - I was taking a course in therapeutic yoga and I looked forward to gaining greater insight on how to heal my heel and all the other sore heels that came my way. I diligently worked to release my psoas, did hundreds or ankle circles in both directions each day, flexed and lengthened my ankle, massaged my foot and worked the pressure points with balls, ropes, frozen juice bottles and anything else I could work my foot on. I explored what happened when I stopped taking daily walks- no difference. I swam and exercised in the water. This was soothing and often but not always gave me some short term relief.
I tried orthotics again but they seemed to increase the pressure on my inner heel and aggravated the situation. Heel gels made matters worse. I bought rocking shoes and was able to walk much more comfortably with them but still had pain. I purchased an ankle brace which I used while I was sleeping. It put my foot into a somewhat flexed position and felt remarkably comfortable. One night I forgot to put it on and when I awoke to go to the bathroom, I had even more pain than usual. I put the brace on and returned to sleep and next time around walking was less painful.
AHA! Here I had been working my foot diligently in all directions but the support limited the extension of my ankle. Perhaps I had been pointing my toes too much and aggravating matters. Maybe I had been overstimulating the muscles and fascia: over working, over stretching, over strengthening : not allowing healing to occur.
It was time to release my tight arch and stay away from my sore spots. I needed to take time to investigate. What would happen if I stopped extending the ankle and eased the tight arch? No more pointing the feet for now. No more aggressive pressure point massages. I don’t know if this will be the long term solution but I have had a significant reduction in pain the last few days. “ Delicious discomfort” is fine but pain is there to send us a message to back off, listen and adjust. Had I been too aggressively fixated on my heel? Had I aggravated it with all my deep work instead of allowing it to heal? I’ll keep you posted.
Pain has been one of my greatest teachers. I’ve been blessed with arthritis, a hip replacement, back issues, knee, neck and shoulder pain and have discovered so many beneficial strategies for self-healing. Many of them work for many students who are experiencing similar issues but no one solution works for everyone. Each of us has to get involved in our personal healing journey without letting it take over all aspects of our lives. We need to trust our inner wisdom and listen deeply to what we are experiencing. Pain doesn’t dissolve by adding another layer of pain on top of it: delicious discomfort which unravels the pain heals.
Could this be the way to dissolve emotional pain too?