Pāda Yoga: How a regular yoga practice can improve your foot health

Jul 6, 2021

All the common foot (or Pāda in the ancient yogic language of Sanskrit) problems we see in podiatry - plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, bunions, bursitis, clawed toes - can be improved upon or prevented with a regular yoga practice.

Yoga is often misinterpreted as stretching for naturally bendy people! The most common response I get from patients when I suggest that yoga may help them is “I’m not flexible enough.” Of course, that’s the whole point! 

But in addition to stretching, an EQUALLY important yoga concept is to STRENGTHEN the body. This includes the feet, which certainly get a subtle yet solid strength workout in an average yoga class. 

In yoga, we have a central theme of yin and yang, feminine and masculine, push and pull, strengthen and stretch that helps us achieve balance (or in Sanskrit, Tula). As we delve deeper into yoga practice, this balance can be applied to everything - from the way we talk, think and interact with others, to the way we walk, stand and move through the world.

When we look at biomechanics and gait patterns, whether you have high arches or flat feet, knock knees or bow legs, feet that stick out or in-toe, we are really searching for the middle ground, that balance point (or Tula), where our body can move most efficiently from point A to point B.

Regardless of body type, efficient biomechanics share some key common traits:

  1. Strength in the locomotives- big toe joint, arches, calves, spinal muscles and glute and hip stabilisers.
  2. Flexibility in the axles - big toe joint, ankles, hip flexors and thoracic spine.

Nearly every major yoga pose - from downward dog to tree pose - either strengthens or stretches, providing numerous benefits to the way you walk. Plus, with regular practice and perseverance, you might one day become one of those bendy people!

See you on the mat.