Feet of woman doing exercises with stress ball in clinic

Essential Stretches and Exercises for Your Feet  

Your feet are the foundation of your body. They carry the entire weight of your body and can become easily strained from overexertion. For many people, persistent cramping, sharp pain, and foot fatigue are a few common complaints of their foot conditions.

Foot problems and foot pain can have numerous causes, but this pain can be eased in many cases without the need for medicine. One way to relax and alleviate pain in your feet is by doing both stretches for feet and exercises for feet. By keeping your feet strong, you can ease soreness and improve the overall flexibility and health of your feet.

Benefits of Stretching & Exercising the Feet and Toes

Range of motion exercises can also decrease your chances of hurting your feet and can help to limber them up. Gentle and slow stretches for foot pain will enhance flexibility while strength exercises help your muscles to offer better protection and support of your feet as a whole.

Maintaining flexible and strong feet can help:

  • Reduce muscle soreness in your feet.
  • Decrease both ankle and foot pain.
  • Keep you active.
  • Improve the overall health of your feet.

You can perform these gentle strengthening and stretching exercises a few days a week, or every day if you prefer, to increase strength and range of motion for lifelong foot vitality and health.

Foot Stretches for Mobility and Flexibility

A couple of mobility and flexibility foot stretches are:

1. Toe Lift

Perform this stretch using both of your feet together or one at a time:

  • Sit while placing your feet flat on the ground.
  • Now lift all your toes to the same height if possible.
  • Hold this position for five seconds and lower them.
  • Repeat this exercise on each foot 10 times.

2. Toe Flex

For this exercise, you’ll want to stand next to a wall or another hard upright surface, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart.

  • Steady yourself with your hands and while you’re pressing your feet against the wall, flex one of your foot’s toes, holding this position for five seconds.
  • Place your foot back, making it flat on the ground.
  • Repeat this exercise on each foot 10 times.

Foot Strengthening Exercises

1. Marble Pickup

This is a muscle-strengthening exercise for the bottom of your toes and feet.

  • With feet flat on the ground, sit down in a straight-backed chair.
  • Put a handful of marbles into a bowl on the ground next to you.
  • Using your toes, pick up each marble one at a time, and place them in the bowl. 
  • Repeat with your other foot.

2. Toe Splay

You can use both of your feet for this stretch or one at a time. To increase resistance and make the exercise more challenging, place a rubber band around your toes.

  • Sit down and place your feet on the floor flat.
  • Spread apart your toes as far as you can and hold them in this position for five seconds.
  • Make your toes relax.
  • With the other foot, repeat.
  • Perform this exercise on both feet 10 times.

Foot Exercises for Pain Relief

Here are some exercises for foot pain relief.

1. Achilles Stretch

You can easily strain your Achilles tendon which is the cord that connects your heel to the muscles of your calves. Keeping it strong can help with pain in your feet, ankles, or legs.

To perform this exercise:

  • Raise your arms while facing the wall so your palms are resting flat against the wall.
  • Placing one of your feet back, keep your knees straight. Using the opposite leg, bend your knee.
  • Keeping both your heels on the ground flat, push forward your hips until the muscles of your calves and achilles tendon stretch well.
  • Continue holding this position for 30 seconds and then switch sides. Repeat several times on both sides.

2. Tennis Ball Roll

You can treat plantar fasciitis and ease arch pain by rolling the bottom of your feet on a tennis ball.

  • Placing your feet flat on the ground, sit in a straight-backed chair.
  • Place a tennis ball near your feet on the floor.
  • Place your foot on the tennis ball and while rolling it around, massage the bottom of your foot.
  • Decrease or increase pressure as you need to.
  • Continue rolling on each foot for two minutes.

When to See a Specialist for Foot Pain 

By performing these foot strengthening exercises and stretches regularly, you will help to reduce pain and chance of future injuries. You may find that aches and stiffness will go away. These exercises can relieve arch and heel pain and even stop toe cramps and prevent hammertoes.

If these stretches and exercises don’t help or you continue experiencing pain in your feet, stop the exercises and stretches and consult with your doctor about how you should proceed. Call Red Mountain Footcare at (480) 568-3029, or book online, to schedule an appointment with our podiatrist, Dr. Spencer Hardy, DPM.