Foot pain is one of the most worrisome and irritating of running injuries. Typically the runner has either plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis or some other nuisance type injury. Then the dreaded news, no running or ratchet down the mileage. That’s tough news to hear in the middle of training. The following pose helps relieve the pain as well as prevent future flair-ups. It’s important to not ignore that dull throb of tendinitis or inflamed bunions or achy soles of plantar fasciitis as these seemingly nuisance injuries could ultimately change your running stride and could eventually side line the runner.
Broken Toe Pose
Broken toe pose targets stretching the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and calves as well as dealing with bunions.
Getting into the pose: Start on all fours (table pose), curl your toes under, then slowly lowering your hips toward the lifted heels. As you lower the hips you’ll feel the bottoms of the feet stretch. Some folks will be able to sit on their heels; resting their entire upper body weight resting on the toe mounts of your feet. If that’s you…awesome! From my 5 years of teaching I have found most runners take a few weeks to get the point where they can comfortable sit on their heels. If you are in that range, then it is best to keep the hands resting on your yoga mat, that is staying in table pose. Over time, as you gain flexibility in the feet try practicing broken toe pose by moving the hands closer to the knees, then on top of the thighs and then finally placing the hands in your lap or in namaste mudra (i.e. hand gesture).
This pose is tricky because your feet will try to find ways to make this pose comfortable, it is important to align the heels with your sits bones. Start with sitting in broken toe pose for about 8-10 even breaths, then eventually work toward 1-2 minutes.
Without a doubt broken toe pose is challenging. To mitigate further injury consider sitting on a yoga block and/or placing a blanket between the calves and back of the thighs. Using these props will ease some of the pressure felt in the feet. Good news, with regular practice that take your breath away reaction does go away.