Foot Exercises for Runners

For athletes, keeping your feet strong and flexible is a must.

Exercises that improve range of motion and help limber up your feet may reduce your chance of getting hurt. Slow and gentle stretches will improve your flexibility. Strength exercises will allow your muscles to provide better support and protection for your foot as a whole.

You can do these gentle stretching and strengthening exercises three days per week or as often as every day to increase your range of motion and strength for lifelong foot health and vitality.

Toe raise, point, and curl

This three-part exercise will start to get your toes and feet moving.

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your toes flat on the ground and raise your heels until only the balls of your feet and toes touch the ground. Hold for five seconds.
  • Point your toes so that only the ends of your big and second toes touch the ground. Hold for five seconds.
  • Keep your heel off the ground and roll your toes under so that that tops of your toes touch the ground. Hold for five seconds.
  • Repeat each position 10 times.

Toe Curls – Variants

Toe Splay

This movement will help you gain control over your toe muscles.

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet gently resting on the floor.
  • Spread all your toes apart as far as comfortable. Hold for five seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

You can make this exercise harder by looping a rubber band around the toes of each foot.

Toe Extension

This stretch is good to prevent or treat plantar fasciitis, which causes heel pain and makes running painful.

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Pick one foot up and place it on your opposite thigh.
  • Grab your toes with one hand and pull them up toward your ankle until you feel a stretch along the bottom of your foot and in your heel cord.
  • Massage the arch of your foot with your other hand during the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times on each foot.


Big Toe Stretch

Keep good range of motion in your big toe with this three-part stretch. It feels good after having your feet crammed in dress shoes all day.

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Pick one foot up and place it on your opposite thigh.
  • Gently use your fingers to stretch your big toe up, down, and to the side away from the other toes. Hold the stretch in each direction for five seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times in each direction.
  • Repeat with the opposite foot.

Tennis or LaCrosse Ball Roll

Rolling the bottom of your foot on a hard ball can ease arch pain and treat plantar fasciitis.

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place a tennis ball on the floor near your feet.
  • Put your foot on top of the tennis ball and roll it around, massaging the bottom of your foot.
  • Increase or decrease pressure as needed.
  • Roll for two minutes on each foot.

You can also use a frozen bottle of water if you don’t have any tennis balls handy.

Achilles Stretch

Ankle Rotations

Sit down comfortably. Once you’re sitting down, lift up one foot and simply rotate at the ankle -- five to ten times clockwise and then counter-clockwise.

Slant Board Exercises to Strengthen Feet and Ankles

You can either buy or make a slant board. It is commonly used to treatment runners’ injuries, but if used properly can help to prevent these injuries.

Recommended slant boards on market

Click here or on photo for video

Click here for recommended exercises.

Remember, strong feet, strong runner!!!!


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