A few years ago I developed a nasty case of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of connective tissue that connects your heel to your toes (bottom of your foot). The pain was debilitating; as it progressed I wasn’t able to put much weight on that foot upon waking in the morning. It took several minutes of “warming up” in order to walk down the street to the gym.
After several weeks of foot pain, I booked an appointment with a recommended foot doctor. He prescribed me expensive orthotics and said that I needed to tie my shoes. At the time my shoes were loose fitting and didn’t hug my foot properly when I walked.
I got the orthotics and used them as prescribed and tied my shoes. The pain didn’t go away though. I mentioned my pain to a colleague and he recommended that I start stretching. In my mind I thought, no way will that take away this horrible pain but I felt like I didn’t have many options so I began stretching regularly. I started to notice that it was actually helping my foot pain so I started stretching a couple of times a day and eventually progressed my routine by incorporating splits. Every stretch session brought more relief.
When the pain was completely gone, I discontinued the split routine but I now religiously stretch after every workout, no matter how long I spent exercising. Regular stretching is like meditating; it is initially challenging because the rewards are often not immediate, but in time, and usually after every attempt, you are glad you did it.