Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis can be very painful. For a couple of years I suffered from foot pain. My foot would send a zinger upwards upon getting out of bed in the morning and then it would be pain free. For at least 10 years I worked on concrete floors and wore shoes that were on sale. Having lived with, studied and worked with foot pain for more the 20 years, I can tell you the two variables above do not matter. I never thought about my feet unless they hurt and that has taught me that paying attention to your feet is critical.

By changing the dynamic between the anterior and posterior of the leg you change the tension on your heel (calcaneus). Gaining more flexibility from the posterior leg and foot muscles allows the plantar fascia to stretch and release. It is the high tension coupled with weakness of the posterior muscles that create problems that result in plantar fasciitis.

Here is a solution: Make a loop out of a thera-band. Anchor the thera-band to something secure and low to the ground. Sit down and put your foot in the loop. Move back so there is tension on the thera-band when your foot is relaxed. Flex your foot up, with a straight leg, toward your knee (dorsi-flexion) and hold for 2 seconds. Repeat 8-16 times.  Repeat the exercise again with a bent knee. Lastly, bring your heel as close to your body as possible. Your knee will be bent. Repeat the foot movement. Use your hand on top of your foot to get good resistance.

These exercises release tension in the gastrocnemius, soleus, and Achilles tendon. It also adds tension to the tibialis anterior muscle. Do not wait for your feet to hurt to pay attention to this area. It is our connection to the earth and also important for our mobility. Try the exercises and let me know your results.

Thank you K-Lea Gifford for crafting this post into a readable form. 

K-Lea is a certified Iyengar Instructor and can be contacted at www.K-Lea.com


I have over 25 years of experience learning, tinkering, and experimenting with bikes and cyclists. My main conclusion is that if you don't know what you do then changing the bike is pointless. 

For years I suffered through "hotfoot". My first solution was to ignore it. The bike industry believes it is an equipment problem, I have only ridden Look pedals since the early 80's. That did not help. It is how I use my foot every day with every step that is the problem. Learn how to properly control your foot the pain stays away. There are a few basic exercises you can learn to change the habits you have while walking that will change how you ride.

The solution to hotfoot is learning how to engage tibialis posterior. In my opinion, we need to train using this muscle off the bike through a small series of exercises. With this, the only way you move is using tibialis posterior, so is how you will pedal on the bike.

How to get rid of hotfoot:  put your wrist behind your knee and move you heel as close to your butt as possible. Do the other side. 2. Dorsi-flexion with resistance. Anchor a 26" bike tube. Place your foot in the loop and move back so there is tension on the tube. Flex up, slowly release. repeat 8-16. Switch sides.

We can hone your skills so that you can have a great season

We are staying in North Scottsdale this Saturday and Sunday November 15 and 16.

Putting insomnia to work

It has been awhile since I have done a big trip, so the universe has provided. Scott Foreman and Scott Sherman needed a sub for their ill massage therapist in this year's Race Across America. With less than 2 weeks before the event I got the call from Scott Foreman, little compensation, no sleep for a week, see the country at 20 mph, SIGN ME UP! 

Russ Folger, Craig Streit, and the Scotts are doing this event to raise funds and bring awareness to ALS. Check out the team's website http://raamfps.org/ 

I start Thursday with a casual drive down to Albuquerque. Fly to San Diego. Prep with the team Friday. We move out Saturday at noon. Going through the deserts of California and Arizona should be spectacular at night. Sometime Tuesday we should be in Durango, cross the midwest, and finally in Annapolis Friday. Then sleep. Easy.

I will be posting updates on our adventures as we cross the US. 

Oh damn! why does that hurt?

Feet. Amazing how much we ignore the two things that have gotten most of us around all our lives. That is until our dogs start to yell at us. What I have learned is that they have been talking to us the whole time. We just aren't listening. Plantar fascititis never occurs over night, but one morning we feel that pain for the first time.

Heel pain occurs because the tension in the calf is so great that it limits the flexibility of your heel. The heel not being able to move the plantar fascia micro-tears from the front of your heel. The pain stops when you finished tearing last night's scar tissue. Repeat for days and weeks until you can't stand it any more.

Solution: stretch your calf and strengthen your shin. 

Creatures of habit

We are creatures of habit. The way we move, eat, breathe are unconscious. At some point we can get into trouble because of those habits. Particularly the muscles we flex constantly become short and then weak. The fun thing about this is that those flexing muscles cause an opposite set of muscles to stretch or stay elongated and then weak. Good times start now. With short flexed muscles and long stretched muscles on the same joint a third set of muscles jumps in and tries to make your body move. When the third set burns out is usually when we start paying attention to our bodies. Often the joint or muscle tendon is screaming at you. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.