Foot Pain Exercises

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This leaflet has been provided by Arthritis Research UK, the national charity committed to preventing the onset of arthritis, developing a cure for arthritis and transforming the lives of those with arthritis.

This leaflet provides simple exercises that may help with foot pain.

  • The foot can be affected by many different conditions. Two causes of foot pain are plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.
  • Finding comfortable footwear and using insoles if needed can help with symptoms.
  • You can take painkillers to ease pain. Taking them before exercise can help you stay active without causing extra pain.
  • Try the exercises suggested here to help ease pain and prevent future injuries.
  • Your pain should ease within 2 weeks.

Sitting plantar fascia stretch

Sitting plantar stretch
  • Sit down and cross one foot over your other knee.
  • Grab the base of your toes and pull them back towards your body until you feel a comfortable stretch.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

Plantar fascia stretch

Plantar fasciia stretch
  • Sit down and rest the arch of your foot on a round object (eg, a tin of beans).
  • Roll the arch in all directions for a few minutes.
  • Repeat this exercise at least twice daily.

Towel pickup

Towel pickup
  • Sit down with a towel on the floor in front of you.
  • Keeping your heel on the ground, pick up the towel by scrunching it between your toes.
  • Repeat 10-20 times.
  • As you improve, add a small weight such as a tin of beans to the towel.

Achilles tendon and plantar fascia stretch

Achilles and PF stretch
  • Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and pull your toes towards your body, keeping your knee straight.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times on each foot.

Wall push

Wall push leg straight
Wall push bent leg
  • Facing a wall, put both hands on the wall at shoulder height and place one foot in front of the other. The front foot should be approximately 30 cm (12 inches) from the wall.
  • With the front knee bent and the back knee straight, bend the front knee towards the wall until the calf in your back leg feels tight.
  • Relax and repeat 10 times.
  • Repeat as above but bring the back foot forward a little so that the back knee is slightly bent.
  • Relax and repeat 10 times. 

Content used with permission from the Arthritis Research UK website: Exercises to Manage Foot Pain. Copyright for this leaflet is with Arthritis Research UK.

Now read about Pain Control in Palliative Care

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Arthritis Research UK
Peer Reviewer:
Arthritis Research UK
Document ID:
29100 (v1)
Last Checked:
25 September 2015
Next Review:
24 September 2018

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.