In October 2006 I moved in with my boyfriend (who is now my husband). It was a stressful and complicated move for various reasons. In the space of 2 months I put on 15 lbs – yes I can do that very easily when I’m stressed. Sometime in November I had to go shopping for a suit since I had an interview coming up. I had been practically living in my comfy clogs but since I thought I might be out shopping for a long time, I decided to wear a pair of flats. It was a god awful shopping trip because I could not find anything that looked or felt right and I was out there shopping for 6 hours straight.

By the time I ended my shopping trip I was in excruciating pain – with every step I took it felt like I was stepping on hot coals. I iced my heels, elevated them and finally went to the podiatrist who told me I had plantar fasciitis. I could get orthotics and/or steroid shots, but that was about it. So I got orthotics and kept on going. Since then the pain has come and gone, but for the most part has been a constant presence.

Now here’s the thing, for about a year I did nothing other than ice my foot and wear my orthotics because I firmly believed that this had happened because I had gained so much weight so quickly, that essentially my poor itty bitty feet just gave out. It never occurred to me that there might be something else I could do – and I’m a firm believer in yoga, massage, stretching and their ability to solve most muscle related problems. I didn’t even know I was doing it, but I was buying into the fantasy of being thin: If I lose weight, my plantar fasciitis will go away.

One day I decided to reinvigorate my yoga practice. I went through my usual practice – some standing poses, downward dog, some forwards bends and that’s all. I got up after shava asana and stepped off the mat waiting for the usual foot pain and… nothing. My feet felt almost as good as they did before the Great Weight Gain of Naught Six. Hmm…

I looked up a book on trigger points and sure enough, the heel can have referred pain from the calves and from other smaller muscles in my foot. Wonder what happens to muscles in the calves and foot when they are used to being in clogs, with a hard surface and heels and suddenly are in squishy flats? Maybe they tighten up, maybe they get trigger points and make my feet hurt? I felt like an idiot for not thinking about it sooner – shoes have got to be one of the most common causes of foot pain. Had I not been so willing to blame the foot pain on my weight gain, maybe I would have discovered this a long time ago. In hindsight, I can see how it happened. There I was trying to find clothes to wear to an interview, couldn’t find a damn thing that fit me and looked good, I had gone up a couple of sizes – it was very demoralizing and all I could think was ‘this is all because I got fatter’. And now my feet hurt ??! Dammit that’s another thing that’s because of being fat.

This is an important reminder of how easily one blames fat for all sort of physical ailments that may not necessarily have anything to do with fat. This is going to be important for me to remember especially as I progress through this pregnancy.

I try and do the following poses twice a week. If I keep to that schedule regularly, I find that my ‘plantar fasciitis’ is pretty much non-existant. Please remember I’m not a doctor or even particularly knowledgeable about Yoga so follow at your own risk. I practice Iyengar style yoga with a lot of attention to alignment and holding positions. This is the sequence I use when I have foot or lower back pain – and I make no guarantees that this sequence is correct. I usually come up with sequences when I’m on the mat based on which part of my body feels the need to be worked on and stretched.

Tadasana, Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana II, I, III, Ardha Chakrasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Dandasana, Janu Sirasana, Parivrtta Janu Sirasana, Shavasana.

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