Say “Ohm” to your Toes!

On rainy falls days around Columbus, many exercise enthusiasts can be found barefoot enjoying a break from the elements at their favorite yoga studio. Yoga has been reported to have many benefits for the body, and the feet are not an area of exception for these benefits. However, as with any exercise program, you need to make sure that your feet and body are physically up to the challenge of yoga before beginning.

Much like barefoot running shoes are said to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the foot and relieve tension placed on parts of the foot by shoes, yoga has similar benefits without the repetitive pressures placed on the foot in barefoot running. There are many poses in yoga that stretch the toes, feet, ankles and legs in a way that is often suggested to relieve painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis. The popular downward-facing dog position, in which the person is in an upside down “V”, reaches the heels towards the ground and offers a great stretch for the commonly tight calf muscles. When calf muscles are tight, a condition known as equinus can result. Equinus is a decrease in the normal range of motion available at the ankle joint and can contribute to many problems and deformities in the foot including overpronation, bunions, hallux limitus, and hammer toes to name a few.

There are also some conditions you should let your yoga teacher know about before beginning your yoga practice that may cause pain in certain positions. A dorsal exostosis, or bony bump on the top of the foot can cause pain in positions such as child’s pose where the tops of your feet are pressed against the ground. If this bony bump is becoming irritated in shoes on a day to day basis, custom shoe modifications can be made to can alleviate pain or foot surgery can be performed to remove the excess bone. Certain transitional movements may also be painful in yoga if you have pain in the ball of your foot, or metatarsalgia. In the sun salutation practiced in certain types of yoga, participants jump from one pose to the next and land on the ball of their foot. In addition to avoiding this painful movement, those with metatarsalgia should contact their podiatrist. Fractures, neuromas and predislocation of the joints in the ball of the foot are all possible underlying causes of this condition. Yoga encourages its participants to listen to their body and its connection to the Earth, which especially means listening to your feet and calling your podiatrist at the first sign of pain!

Please visit for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia