Standing and damaged plantar fascia

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    Hi there,

    For the last three months of standing practice I have been working through a badly torn plantar fascia (done during a series of over played tennis competitions during the summer….inappropriate enthusiasm chasing a ball for a 55yr old, knowing injury was present, refusing to back down and, returning to play too soon after feeling better initially…only myself to blame). Now I have quite a noticeable weakness and truly understand the Plantar Fascia for lift, balance, springiness etc for the foot and whole kinetic chain up the leg to glutes. The physio I am doing clearly shows up issues of weaknesses in that kinetic chain, from Fascia through calf, and I am gently trying to address that to rebuild some strength.

    Despite all that had good progress in month 9 with beginners and intermediate work on legs and feet (which talks a lot about this area). I found I could, when getting a stab of pain, use upward movement of chi to release that area, but not always easy to fully sink on right leg due to the damage and inflammation where the fascia attaches to the heel. Had to really try and differentiate between dropping weight and circulating blood//chi- which has been a useful learning offshoot that occupies me. I have had to adapt the practice to not doing it always barefoot if aggravated, but with a sandal with good arch support, which feels a little off, but allows me to practice.

    I have u-tubed it to infinity, and the truth is, the type of injury is very individual, not all exercises and stretches are appropriate. Has anyone ever addressed this fascia with QiGong (beyond month 9 general approach for arches)…and have any advice experience to share….if Bruce has any, it would much appreciated (knowing the limits that specifics are not easily advised remotely)





    Hello Nick- best wishes, I just saw you post and felt driven to chime in.. as I recall working-with this (and finding some things).. [ This may not be directly applicable. ]

    You mention- barefoot, vs with sandal, but you don’t mention the surface you practice upon. (carpet, whether thin-industrial, or with an under-padding; even hardwood has some flex and isn’t “Flat”.. let alone, grass- etc).

    * I found that working upon a piece of slate (I had these side-tables that had slate surfaces that could be lifted out. one could be put upon the ground and just fit my feet). This allowed a surface that was even and solid, and actually allowed the tissue of my soles- and leg-upon it- to release in a different way.), whether that was upon carpet, or upon the kitchen-floor

    So that is just a comment of an option, but to consider any hardness and/or “flatness” as well as “any” wobble, vs stably-solid foundation (any wobble-shift requires your system to keep a tension in.. whether that wobble is in the surface-floor… or in the arch and/or ankle… -by elim-reduce the former, the later becomes more noticeable….

    (to work, for a while, on 100% (at 70%:) focus standing for short periods just feeling that in particular (perhaps even a few minutes) -ie separate from your regular practice.. as any let-go and change in this structural-support will destabilize (as it rebuilds), thus any let-go can then put you in a state to ache-it a bit.. so little tastes.. (and just as you can let-go a bit when focusing fully upon that, doesn’t mean the same let-go will happen longer, nor if you aren’t fully focusing upon it). [-above repeats a bit, but hopefully adds some.]

    Thus separate from other standing practice (as well as relaxed, un-forced easy walking, before or after, or later after fully rest.. just feel-aware as the weight changes upon- note changes? sore-spots? easy..)… (this, and the others, can allow the “5 rings” sort of unravel as they wish-can).

    to have above focused (even a few minutes) like wax-melting.. (surface upon being at issue)..

    and with this seated in a chair, feet unweighted, but still connected (all the internal-alignments of bones, and threadings) and have them release. (this seems to change release as well as awareness access, rather than the above (focused let-go, vs relaxed walk-shifting, vs the explicit standing practice ie the Training Circle).

    Both the seated in a chair (as well as the walk-shift release) — related to: how Bruce has mentioned walking barefoot in a thick-pile carpet, or grass, and having your toes lightly-grab the carpet-pile or grass.. and/or have a towel upon the ground that you step upon and sort of grab/move with foot, as if you palm were resting upon something- not just fingers, between fingers, but even across palm little finger-edges to thumb-web, even down near wrist..
    (~soles: how much movement in the soles- and feet “meat” -yet easy, as first frozen-locked, then as lets-go and starts to move, it can pull little parts :)

    (and any ouch will be like the trust your foot gave you hurt, so it won’t “trust you” to let it move let go) -the tightness- frozen-lock is a self-protection..

    (the letgo eventually will restructure and strengthen, but a while- just as all the standing-aligns above will.. is the WIP: work-in-process adjustment-as-progresses (change is destabilizing, even as AllChanges).



    Hi Taokua

    Thanks for suggestions. There is a lot there to process.

    If i understand correctly (and maybe not) you suggest short periods standing on firm surface barefoot to be aware of the ‘ouch'(which is pretty clear) and then follow/continue practice with unweighted ‘sitting’ to work on alignments., twisting, threading, down and up to release.
    All which I can certainly try…If I have not misunderstood…which is possible

    I am normally standing on hardwood floor which is stuck to concrete (as there is underfloor heating…but not hot). It is very firm not like a suspended wood floor.

    If I sink into that, i notice the ouch soon, and have to stop. The 9 nails becomes too real a metaphor only at one particular point on right heel

    If I try on carpet and that can be a little easier

    The Birkenstock sandals support the arch, but that means while there is less pain, there is very slight pivot, so as you say, less stable. I prefer stability of not using them, but after a couple of minutes standing without…I have to listen to the ouch

    I am less clear on the relaxed walk-shifting process, but one of the strengthening processes for the weakened fascia involves gripping towel with toes while truing to push up and raise & lower heel. From all I am told, the collagen of fascia is the slowest tissue in the body to repair itself, and the Plantar Fascia because of the continual use, from toe to heel in all aspects of standing from balance to push, means it is hard to reduce the inflammation.

    Remembering a wonderful gifted Chinese woman, qi-gong practitioner, the sister of someone I was learning from in the late 1990’s who almost instantaneously healed a deep knife cut in my finger, just by holding the wound….ah for those Qi hands now.

    Wishing for an easy fix cure…but knowing it will be slow for me….lots of real lessons all the same.





    I set up practice with a stool behind me, so I could lower myself with little interruption. When I got pain in the heel, standing barefoot, I lowered to sitting. At first I did not ‘believe’ I could continue sinking below the waist while sitting…then slowly worked rings and points from waist down…first stuck at knees, then using month 9 lessons opened up knees with rising from back…totally different experience to standing. Not sure what to say…but got down to feet. Then raised myself from stool to stand again for a few minutes. definitely some adjustment in the feet, felt good for a while, then discomfort which I could not adjust out of, so, let go of standing & lowered myself to stool again and continued with practice, sitting- upper and lower body.
    Thank you….it feels like I am acknowledging the injury more deeply, letting myself sit and just see what I can do, up and down as I feel able- using twisting, spiral, points etc to help me get up and down.

    I will let you know if I can keep that up ! but there was a real difference to the sense of the foot/adjustment on the ground for the time when rising after practicing sitting….until the pain came …and repeat process – so that is something to work on, just adjusting postures as best I can.

    Thank you




    >>> Thank you….it feels like I am acknowledging the injury more deeply <<<
    Great to hear- thx for the responses (and yer most welcome).. Ack you situation, and your-parts (on their own terms) more deeply.. that’s part of what I was thinking, and as you mention the switching process allows a carry-over.. great

    (as you mentioned in your first response, the key is how to sense out and not push- and reeval what that means.. CTS is said to take up to a year to fully heal/recover/rebuild.. not that long to see improvement, and even to largely rebuild, but back to new-normal.. so day-by-day).
    [whether this, and other aspects mentioned in it (which may not have made sense, yet, like stepping..), later continue to unfold and reveal- for your-self and to perhaps encourage those others that might read here.]

    -The benefits you mention, and gain/new pathways received from what I might have mentioned, reinvigorate the time-thought I’ve spent posting here.. (always a wonder- espec as not directly communicating.. neat way to share and give-back, per my journey-discovering). cheers- all…



    >>> reinvigorate the time-thought I’ve spent posting here.<<<

    Bruce mentions that you can’t demand generosity in passing on hard won knowledge learnt over many years doing this sort of stuff- which is my experience too – many people seem to hold it tight, to what end I do not know, I often think people feel lack of language in sharing their experience or maybe just don’t want to. I am old enough not to expect perfection from anyone, BKF included….but sense of engagement is useful and hard to do remotely.

    You have been consistently generous in thoughts, time and content on this forum…it is much appreciated, at least by me.




    A thought percolated up, while practicing else, that related to this so I felt compelled to post- hope it might be of use to someone: The importance of not having ‘dead-flesh’
    (the sense that feet, can be disconnected, vs “engaged”.. espec as the CTS is reshaping in form, as well as in “fullness”) ex: you can place your hand on the table and let it rest (or even press it) and just feel the flesh compress to the bones, but no life nor liveliness in the palm,
    -vs- a sense of life in the palm-flesh so that has a springiness (and can develop a fullness in that flesh, which takes time and isn’t there at first)..
    so at first it can feel floppy (soles, palm, or any other soft-tissue) literally develop collagen, but also reestablishing the micro-capillaries, etc.

    but in short, a sort of engagement (nerves more than muscle-tension, but nearly a tension holding, to sort of get that tissue involved.) -most of all, getting the fluid-soak (like filling up a water balloon, or water-bed mattress..)

    anyway- just a thought




    The most interesting thing for me since I first posted re my Plantar Fascia pain and since your sensible advice to sit for periods during my standing practice, was an increase in the sort of engagement you describe. I don’t know if I would have quite understood, if I hadn’t incorporated sitting when necessary, – but to get flow going in that position I have to bring life and attention to tissue in a way and bringing an ‘aliveness’ that I may have missed in a standing position with gravity and weight more dominant in the sinking.

    In order to keep internal fluid and chi moving past the seated position right angles of hip and knee and then to sink through the unweighted feet, I definitely found an increased sensitivity and internal gripping for rotation that allowed me to move internally down and up past these more literal angular obstructions to flow- so in fact the ‘injury’ has lead to markedly increased sensitivity and embodied understanding of the teaching so far- a subtly stronger & different internal engagement, which I then carry through in the standing position, which is mostly more comfortable now.

    I am happy to report that this, combined with the ongoing strengthening physio I have been doing has seen quite noticeable improvement in the PF over the last week. It is hard to know how much to attribute to my Qi-gong practice – but it feels significant and surprisingly rapid, also allowing me to load more on the strengthening exercises with greater awareness and confidence in the tissue itself and its process of self-repair.

    I hope useful for others too, as a lesson in letting go. such simple & obvious advice (sometimes the hardest to see on your own) when struggling with pain standing- “to sit down”…Aha! and see what you can do or how it affects the activity, using what we are learning to observe closely.



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