Daily Stretches to Improve Foot Health

Man stretching foot behind him

7 Daily Stretches for Foot Pain & Health

One of the most crucial parts of a workout is stretching. The same goes for preventing and relieving foot pain. Stretching your feet improves foot health and alleviates discomfort, giving you the mobility you need to move daily without pain getting in the way. Along with wearing the right shoes and a supportive running orthotic, foot stretches can even prevent minor injuries from working out.

Looking for the best foot stretches to mitigate foot pain and prevent injuries like shin splints or ankle sprains? Read on for more sole-saving information about:

What Causes Foot Pain?

Foot pain related to movement is usually a result of not warming up your feet before exercising. It can also occur after you over-exert yourself without taking time to rest and recover. This can weaken the muscles, joints, and tendons in the feet and make them more prone to injury. It might also lead to discomfort in other areas of the body such as your lower back or calves.

Man wearing athletic clothes stretching foot and leg

Tightness in the foot, ankle, and calf can cause you to change how and where you put pressure on your feet. Uneven distribution of weight in your feet may lead to foot conditions like metatarsalgia or flat feet. PowerStep® running insoles for ball of foot pain and overpronation can help prevent and relieve discomfort from these conditions.

The origin of your foot pain depends on the site of injury such as your arch, ankle, or the ball of your foot. Some common causes for foot and ankle pain are:

  • Overuse of the feet without rest
  • Flat feet
  • Medical conditions like diabetic neuropathy or sciatica
  • Arthritis in the foot such as gout
  • Wearing shoes that don't fit
  • Lifestyle choices which include wearing flat or non-supportive footwear
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity and sedentary life, leading to increased foot pains
  • Foot injuries such as tendonitis, sprains, or ankle twists

    By incorporating simple foot stretches into your daily routine, you can correct the pain caused by most of these conditions. Some foot problems require a visit to your doctor or podiatrist, who may recommend a running shoe insert for enhanced support.

    Does Stretching Help Foot Pain?

    Practicing proper foot care can impact your foot health as well as your performance in the gym or on the track. Warming up your feet through stretching and massaging the muscle tissues helps improve circulation, flushing toxins to prevent soreness and removing excess water that causes swelling.

    Small movements in the feet, toes, and ankles prepare your joints for the workout ahead, providing better flexibility and making it easier to focus on something other than foot pain. Massaging out that tightness and wearing a running insole with arch support that aligns your feet and ankles helps protect your body from movement related injuries like runners’ knee, shin splints, or sprains.

    Man and woman sitting outside and touching toes

    “Minor sports and running injuries like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints can be prevented with proper stretching and PowerStep® PULSE® running shoe orthotic insoles.”

    7 Daily Stretches for Foot Health

    Whether you’re stepping onto the treadmill or sitting on the floor playing with your grandchild, these daily stretches for feet pain can be done anywhere. If prepping for a workout, consider warming up by marching in place first.

    The following list includes general stretches for metatarsalgia and arch pain:

    Runner’s Stretch

    This exercise stretches the calf and the Achilles tendon, making it one of the best stretches for running:

      1. Stand at arm’s length from a wall and press your hands against it, keeping your feet together.
      2. Step back with your left leg, allowing the right knee to bend with the left heel on the ground.
      3. Feel the stretch along your calf and ankle. Hold for 30 seconds.
      4. Repeat with your right leg.

      Top of Foot Stretch

      Also called a standing toe curl, doing this exercise works the muscles on top of your feet as well as your toes:

        1. Stand with your feet together.
        2. Beginning with the left foot, raise your heel and curl your toes with the tops of your toes pressed against the floor.
        3. Feel the muscles on the top of your feet and the front of your ankle gently stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.
        4. Repeat with your right foot.

        Bottom of Foot Stretch

        Foot stretches for arch pain and the bottom of your feet can help flex and strengthen the foot arch:

          1. Stand with your feet together.
          2. Slightly step backward with your left leg so your heel is raised and your toes press against the floor.
          3. Feel the muscles on the bottom of your feet pulling. Hold for 30 seconds.
          4. Repeat with your right foot.

          Toe Raises

          Those experiencing mild to moderate pain from metatarsalgia can perform toe raises as stretches for ball of foot pain:

            1. Stand somewhere you can hold onto a wall or chair for balance.
            2. Raise both heels off the ground, leaving your weight in the balls of your feet.
            3. Slowly lower your heels back to the ground.
            4. Repeat up to 15 times.

            Arch & Ankle Stretch with Towel

            You can use a towel or exercise band to stretch the arch of your foot and ankle:

              1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
              2. Place a rolled-up towel or an exercise band under the arch of your right foot.
              3. Gently pull on both ends of the towel or band until you feel a stretch in your foot and ankle.
              4. Hold for 30 seconds.
              5. Repeat with your left foot.

              Toe Curls

              Curling your toes while sitting on the floor brings circulation to that area of the foot to relieve swelling and tightness:

                1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
                2. Scrunch up your toes by pulling them toward the bottom of your foot. Hold for 3 seconds.
                3. Release your toes and relax your feet.
                4. Repeat 5 times.

                Frozen Water Bottle or Rolling Pin Massage

                Along with other exercises for arch pain, this foot stretch for plantar fasciitis helps relieve pain and massage the tissues in the foot:

                  1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
                  2. Place a frozen water bottle, rolling pin or tennis ball under the bottom of your right foot.
                  3. Applying gentle pressure, roll it back and forth to loosen the muscle.
                  4. After two minutes, repeat with your left foot.

                  Helpful Devices and Wraps for Foot Stretches

                  Recovering from an injury or need equipment to support yourself while stretching? The PowerStep UltraFlexx Foot Rocker helps stretch and strengthen muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the foot and lower leg to increase flexibility, prevent injuries, and relieve common foot pain.

                  Another option for plantar fasciitis pain that works similarly to standing on a tennis ball is the PowerStep Arch Wrap. Instead of a daily stretch, you can use the arch wrap for long-term wear during activity or rest. The wrap features a contoured gel pad and adjustable strap, providing the right amount of compression and relief.

                  The PowerStep UltraStrech Sock is also a device that assists with foot stretches for plantar fasciitis. A comfortable alternative to night splints, the sock comfortably stretches the calf and soft tissues of the foot to speed up recovery from overuse injuries.

                  Leg wearing PowerStep UltraStretch Sock

                  Other Ways to Prevent Foot Injuries

                  Depending on the activities you do, there are several more ways you can be proactive with your foot health and prevent injury, including:

                  • Warming up prior to any sports
                  • Conditioning your muscles with resistance training
                  • Building up muscle strength gradually over a period of weeks to prevent muscle tears
                  • Avoid running or playing on uneven ground
                  • Listen to your body; don’t overlook any sort of foot pain that increases with activity and mitigates with rest
                  • Choose the right supportive footwear for the activities you do

                    Adding PowerStep Orthotics

                    Along with daily stretching, adding a running or athletic insole to your shoes improves your foot health. PowerStep PULSE running shoe insoles are recommended by podiatrists to relieve and prevent foot pain while running or participating in sports.

                    Women placing running shoe insert into gray shoe

                    Athletes wearing low-profile shoes like cleats or spikes can use PULSE Thin insoles or ¾ Insoles for extra toe room and support where they need it. Foot stretches can also alleviate pain from standing all day while the PowerStep bridge series is specifically designed to prevent and relieve that pain. Do your feet a favor and add stretching and a supportive orthotic into your routine.