Plantar Fascilitis and the Alexander Technique

by Robert Rickover

I recently had a call about Plantar Fascilitis and the Alexander Technique from a journalist who had been assigned to write a short piece on the topic. I had to confess that I was not terribly knowledgeable about the topic, having had only a few students who mentioned it. In a couple of cases the discomfort improved quite a bit with lessons, but in a couple of others there was no significant change.

My general take on the topic is, first, I would never make any claims that the Technique would definitely help alleviate the pain associated with this condition but, second, it would likely reduce the amount of unnecessary pressure a student put on his or her feet when walking. And that could make a difference in the level of discomfort. And of course I would mention the other beneficial effects that lessons are likely to bring about in their posture (always emphasizing that I'm using the term as a verb) and movement patterns.

The actual article can be read here. It was not as bad as I had feared, given the somewhat bizarre requirements for this kind of piece - very short, key words repeated over and over for search engine optimization, multiple layers of editing by people how know nothing of the Technique or, indeed, Plantar Fascilitis itself!

In the course of preparing for the interview, I solicited ideas from other Alexander Technique teachers on the email discussion group, and with the kind permission of the contributors, I am including their comments below. I also found a nice short video which is certainly related to the topic by Eileen Troberman. I made a point of interviewing her on the phone for the Alexander Talk website on the topic - our conversation can be listened to here.

If you are an Alexander teacher or student who has something to add, please let me know by contacting me here, and I'll add your comments.

I had 2 episodes of plantar fascilitis, each 9 months, with about 9 months in between. Not sure why it subsided the first time, but the second time, I had been having AT lessons with Ilse Giebisch in the year before starting my training with Missy. I hadn't really mentioned the problem, and one day after several months of lessons, I did. Ilse kind of touched my knee a couple of times, and - yeah, it went away and hasn't come back since.

I have been told I have a bone spur on the foot where I've had the inflammation, and I have noticed that area swell and recede sometimes. I think the basic things - lengthening, heels to the floor, not locking the ankles -- all those things have contributed to its not coming into my life again. Ruth Rootburg teaches the Alexander Technique in Amherst, Massachusetts. She sang opera and performed in concerts and musical theatre before turning to teaching, and before turning to the Alexander Technique, she taught voice as a designated Linklater teacher at the Yale School of Drama.


I find my using the Alexander Technique, peoples fascial tissue generally gets lengthened all over, which will of course extend to the feet. If you look at some of the pictures of muscles and fascia lines from the feet to the top of the head, you will notice how a free neck and head can help the feet and vice versa. There are some nice diagrams in the book, Anatomy Trains, by Tom Myers.

Table work is lovely to help release the tightness around Plantar Fascilitis and chair work/toe stand are lovely to help re-educate how to use your feet. Carrie Wood, an Alexander Technique teacher in Whitby, Ontario


I had some clients with plantar fascilits and I was able to help them. Since it’s caused by wrong use (here bad weight commitment) which is overworking the tendon it can be changed by good use (here good weight commitment). In my experience these people often have a certain idea how they have to walk.|

The last person with a beginning heel spur I worked with was a German colleague who found out what she’s doing with her feet (and her weight) in walking. Since it was just at the beginning and not yet fossilized could use the pain for giving her feedback.

Margarethe Breuer, an Alexander Technique teacher in Mainz, Germany


The plantar fascia and the Alexander Technique (PDF Download) by Jan Eyskins explores this topic in some detail. You can visit his website here.


Robert Rickover is a teacher of the Alexander Technique in Lincoln, Nebraska and Toronto, Canada. You can contact him here.

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