When you suffer an injury such as plantar fasciitis, it starts out as a small tear in the fascia of your foot. Your body’s natural defense to injury is to protect it so it lays down adhesive tissue over the small tear. The problem is that people continue with their normal activities, which caused the tear in the first place, and now this new tissue gets broken down again and the tear becomes larger. The viscous cycle of tear – repair – tear forces your body to develop scar tissue. Now the scar tissue prevents the fascia from moving freely and as a result pulls and it’s this pulling effect that causes the pain and discomfort.
How it works: According to Dr. Edwards, stress produces chemicals in the body that increase inflammation. “With relaxation techniques, you have stress reduction and therefore decreased inflammation and less pain,” she says. Meditation also relaxes muscles that tense up with pain. Dr. Edwards suggests meditating for 20 minutes once or twice a day. For moments of acute pain, she also recommends “meditation minutes.” For example, take four to five deep breaths, counting to 10 with each inhalation and exhalation. “Just doing that four to five times a day can decrease depression and improve outlook,” she says.