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For Julie: question about a yoga pose

Posted by nancy sc on 3/25/03 at 10:50 (114454)


I follow your suggested stretches and find them great. I am doing an additional stretch and wanted your comment on whether it could help or hurt PF. (I am a 95% recovered PF sufferer getting back to an exercise program. I am not currently suffering any PF pain, just occasional tenderness. I stretch & ice religiously).

The stretch I've been wondering about is the upside down dog. I remember a yoga teacher I once had telling saying to 'press your heels into the floor' while in this pose. I do this, and don't have any pain from it, and it feels good to do, especially in the AM, but just wonder whether this strikes you as a good thing or bad for PF.



Re: For Julie: question about a yoga pose

Julie on 3/25/03 at 16:48 (114535)


It's a good stretch for the calf muscles and the achilles tendons, as long as you don't force it, and as long as you don't push into pain or discomfort.

The instruction I give for this posture is

(1) keep your knees slightly bent while establishing the pose, so as to stretch the spine first, and then

(2) relax the backs of the legs, and allow the heels to sink towards the floor, rather than 'press the heels into the floor'. This ensures that you don't overstretch the achilles tendons, which pushing/pressing can easily do, and in fact it's more effective. Try it and see.

I'm glad the simple foot exercises have been helpful to you.

Re: For Nancy Sc - more about the yoga pose

Julie on 3/26/03 at 00:59 (114616)

I need to qualify what I said to you last night.

Downward facing dog isn't a pose I would recommend for everyone with PF, because it's a strong, weight-bearing stretch. But because you say you are 95% better, and because you say 'it feels good', I think it is all right for you. But if I had a student with active, painful PF, I would caution them to avoid the pose.

I make this qualification just in case others who are reading, and who are familiar with the pose, feel encouraged to try it. Like any strong weight-bearing stretch it can make things worse.

Do your heels reach the floor in the pose? If so, you have good mobility of the ankle joint: i.e. a good angle of dorsiflexion which indicates nice long calf muscles and achilles. In that case, lack of flexibility in the area wasn't a contributory cause of your PF (it wasn't in my case either) and as you are so much better, I expect that you've dealt with any biomechanical abnormalities.

Re: For Nancy Sc - more about the yoga pose

nancy sc on 3/26/03 at 10:15 (114648)


Thank you so much for your response. I feel that my calf muscles are fairly flexible now, but I'm not certain they were while I was having active PF. One of the podiatrists I saw said he thought my calf muscles were tight. I've always been a flexible person so I was surprised to hear that but I'd slacked off on the yoga before getting the PF so maybe my calves tightened up from running and I was unaware.

At any rate, I've been stretching my calves, etc., a lot in the past few months, since recovering, and I know my dorsiflexion has improved. My heels do touch the floor without effort in the upside down dog position.

With respect to biomechanical issues, the various doctors & PTs that I visited all agreed that I wasn't 'too bad' -- a highish arch, slightly collapsing/overpronating. I now wear orthotics and they've helped a lot, as have the night splint, frequent icing, stretching, all the usual 'modalities' as the pods call them.

Thanks again for your help.


Re: For Nancy Sc - more about the yoga pose

Richard, C.Ped on 3/27/03 at 07:49 (114746)

nancy...are you in South Carolina and not telling me. LOL

Re: For Nancy Sc - more about the yoga pose

nancy sc on 3/27/03 at 12:48 (114767)


I think you confuse me with another Nancy. I am in NYC and haven't posted much.

Speaking of that, though, there should be a special board for PF sufferers in NYC, where 'resting your foot' means WALKING ten blocks to the train, DESCENDING 5 flights of stairs, STANDING on the platform for 5 minutes, STANDING on the train for a half hour, CLIMBING 5 flights of stairs, walking another 10 blocks to get to work.


Re: For Nancy Sc - more about the yoga pose

Bev N on 3/27/03 at 13:06 (114769)

wow ! Is that what you have to do Nancy in NYC ? That sounds painful just reading it - ouch!!

Re: For Nancy Sc - more about the yoga pose

Julie on 3/28/03 at 01:00 (114809)

Running could certainly have shortened your calf muscles if you weren't also stretching to compensate, but you've obviously got your flexibility back now, and you're doing really well.

If you intend to return to running once you're 100% healed, you'll need to remember that it's vital to stretch thoroughly before and after - and not just for a minute or two. If you keep up your yoga practice you should be fine.

Congratulations on your recovery - it will encourage others here.

Re: For Nancy Sc - more about the yoga pose

Pauline on 3/31/03 at 12:41 (114993)

Great post. I think you got it right with this one. Love your description of a N.Y. Resting ones feet. I think the same definition could hold true for Toronto and S.F.