Olympic Lifting & Beyond: Preventing Plantar Fasciitis


Like any other part of the body, the feet are multilayer and complex, functioning as systems inside systems; not in isolation — They’re comprised of bones, nerves, muscles and blood vessels.

Holding and transporting the weight of the body and then some, feet are especially significant and biomechanically complex, with 26 bones and 33 joints.

Olympic weightlifting of course is a demanding load-bearing activity, with explosiveness and impact. And although the following recommendations apply to that somewhat extreme end of the spectrum, they can be applied to anyone.

First, the shoes have to fit well. If they’re too restrictive or inadequately supportive, that can cause pain — not just in the feet, but also the ankles, calves and on up the chain. Joint pain often has a direct cause and ready solution, though it’s often mistaken for some kind of intrinsic defect or age related reason.

Secondly, the self care has to happen. Just like maintenance on an automobile, the body requires upkeep for optimal function. When it comes to foot care, different forms of regular massage work well, from standing on a vibe plate to booking a reflexology appointment, to as simple using ones hands or a ball. Another favorite — walking barefoot on grass or sand.

Consider the amount of work placed on the feet, and manage the care accordingly. Respect the body as your cohesive, vehicular self.

Another recommendation — specific to Olympic lifters — is to avoid excessive slamming or stomping on impact. This is the bodily equivalent of spiking the barbell. This can feel satisfying in the moment, but over time the extra impact and nerve stress can add up.

I saw a video somewhat recently on Chinese lifter’s Deng Wei’s channel about not jumping and there being no need for it. When it comes to elite weightlifting on stage in competition, perhaps whatever gets the job done — however, as overall habit, avoiding excess impaction is important for foot and ankles, and avoiding problems like plantar fasciitis.

Get serious about self care as an enjoyable investment in wellbeing and performance optimization. That includes getting serious about comfortable shoes. All of the above is easier to find now. So is reflexology massage, which addresses the many nerves endings in the feet for relaxation and deep stress relief. That one you can DIY to a certain extent.

Relief of tension in the feet and keeping them happy is a great strategy for longevity in lifting and in life.

Published by sarah ikerd

@sarah.ikerd / owner

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