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acupuncture for plantar faciitis foot pain

6 Unique Ways to Relieve Foot Pain

exercise foot pain posture

We don’t think about our feet that much ... until they hurt.  

Tight or unsupportive shoes, cold feet (in the literal sense), inflexible toes, tight calves, or weak arches can be at the root cause of most types of foot pain:  plantar faciitis, morton's neuroma, neuropathy, and heel pain. 

Here are some tips that have worked for my patients' various foot pains and my own tight arches. 


Have you ever seen a baby’s feet?  They’re almost always perfect – bean-shaped, arched, and with strong reflexes.  The baby’s foot reflex (when you lightly stroke the bottom of a baby’s foot, you’ll see the gripping action of the whole foot) is what you want to reactivate. 

person holding baby's feet

Chances are, you’ve done it before, but it’s been a while.

What we want to do when we’re sitting, standing, walking, or moving around, is think of your feet actively gripping the ground.  Try this without shoes at first to get used to the sensation.  To me, it feels like an inchworm in motion.  Your feet pull in toward the arches, which will give your arches more support too.  

This will give you what's called "Kidney Bean-Shaped Feet," according to Esther Gokhale, a posture expert who studied indigenous cultures who live mostly without modern aches and pains.  

Your foot is the root of your body:  if the foot posture is off, it will throw off the posture of your knees, hips, back, and shoulders.  You want your “roots” to be fully engaged with the ground.  Make sure when you're sitting at work or at the dinner table that you're able to reach the ground with your feet.  If not, grab a low stool to prop your feet on.  


Once you get the hang of your feet engaging with the ground, when you step, think of the front foot as landing on the heel, with a bent knee, and the back foot pushes you away from the ground.  The reason you want to land on your heel is because that’s what it’s there for.  It’s the insertion point of the plantar facia.  It’s a strong bone designed for the impact of your body.  

When you’re stepping forward, the back foot pushes, and as it does so, you’ll disengage from the ground, obviously.  I’m slowing this process way down so we can rethink the postural components happening here.  The disengagement from the ground happens first from the heel, then toward the toes. 

As you’re rolling forward, this movement acts as a massage for the plantar facia! 

Once your toes leave the ground, if you’re fully engaging the feet muscles, you’ll feel a little “flick.”  Kind of what a horse does as it’s prancing.   


Budgets are good, but if you're going to spend a little extra on yourself, let it be for some good, comfortable, quality shoes.  Personally, I gave up heels several years ago.  I guess it comes down to:  do you want to be comfortable, or do you want to impress someone?  Another type of shoe I’m starting to not like anymore are flip-flops.  They don’t allow for proper toe-gripping.  But for one day of splashing around the pool, what’s the harm?  

If shoes hurt, don't wear them.  For me, it's as simple as that.  


I've used orthotics in the past and found them helpful.  If you’re having pain, they can help you in the healing process.  

Ideally you can strengthen your foot to where you won’t need them anymore.  The best ones are designed from impressions of your feet done at a doctor's office...and they're not cheap.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, many illnesses and pains are caused from "cold qi."  Cold causes contraction, and contraction causes pain.  

Always keep your feet warm.  Wear socks or slippers on your hard floors at home instead of walking around barefoot, especially in the winter.  If your feet are always cold, get a moxa box to use regularly.  



Get a small towel or washcloth and put it on the floor.  "Grab" one end of it with your toes.  Scrunch your toes in as far as possible, like making a fist with your foot.  Then, root your heel, stretch your toes out far, and set the towel down.  Repeat, slowly moving your way across the towel like an inchworm.  

"Rolling the Feet"

Get a lacrosse ball and set it on the ground.  Start under the balls of the feet.  Let your foot relax on the ball, point and flex your toes, then move to the next spot when you're ready.  Work your way across the arches.  Go slow, spending as long as 3 or 4 minutes on each foot. 

"Toe Spacers"

You know those things that separate your toes when you're getting a pedicure?  Use them at night to stretch between your toes.  Eventually, try to get enough comfortable space between your toes to where you can slip your fingers in there.  Then, you can move your hand around (while it's cupping your foot with your fingers between your toes) to flex your toes back and forth and side to side.  

"Calf Stretches"

There's a million and one ways to stretch your calves, so pick one and do it regularly if you have foot pain. 

Things to remember when activating your calves (or any muscle for that matter):   move slow and breathe!  Take at least 30 seconds and up to 2 minutes on each muscle.     

I go into WAY more detail on these exercises and more in my detailed course Pain Relief Masterclass.  

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