ChiWalking practice can help with your ChiRunning and plantar fasciitis

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I was working with a client this morning who has had a little flare up of the dreaded plantar fasciitis.

We practiced running with soft feet, landing midfoot, circular foot motion and hip rotation. In order to prevent a flare up of PF, it’s really helpful to focus on not pushing off with your toes, not holding any tension in your lower legs.

In order to really feel what it’s like to keep your lower legs completely relaxed, it’s easier to stand and begin walking, practicing the heel lift: Stand with correct posture, and imagine your psoas muscle (the deep, vertical muscle that runs between your pelvis and your middle spine) doing the work of lifting your leg. It’s a very strong muscle and can lift up your feet all day long without getting overused.

Walking around on the track this morning, my client had a moment of “ah-hah!” practicing the simple exercise of lifting his feet off the ground: he was really Body Sensing his ability to let his lower legs relax completely and rely on his psoas muscle to do the work. I explained that the more he can practice that all day every day: walking around the house, in the grocery, to the mailbox, even up and down stairs, the more easily it will become for him. Then, when he goes out to run, the ankle lift will be like second nature.

For those of you who have bouts of plantar fasciitis:

  • Use tennis balls on the plantar tendon, and really push down hard with your foot to stretch and passively activate that tendon.
  • Don’t walk barefoot at all! In fact, if you can wear sandals in the shower and as soon as you rise in the morning, that helps enormously.
  • Keep walking and running, if you can stand it. PF gets worse the less you move and the more you sit still, because it gets stiff.
  • Ice your tendon after exercising: frozen veggie bags or Dixie cups of frozen ice work well
  • Stay Positive! You’ll get through it, you just have to listen to your body!

It was very fun to help my friend and client have this ah-hah! moment of recognizing a completely relaxed and passive lower leg by practicing ChiWalking: it will help him recover from PF and it will also help as he continues to run, recognizing the difference between toeing off VS lifting the ankle.


Posted in Technique

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