Exercises And Stretches To Improve Flexibility In Feet


Just as it's important to have flexible biceps, it's just as essential that your foot muscles are flexible. In fact, the muscle groups in both your feet constitute 25 percent of the muscles in your entire body. When your feet are inflexible, you're more prone to suffer from sacroiliac and hip joint pain or be injured. If you want more flexibility in your feet, check out these exercises and stretches.

Limbering-Up Exercise

Before doing any exercises, you need to limber up your feet so that your joints and muscles are warmed up and loosened. This is particularly crucial when engaging in aerobics, tennis or other impact sports.

To limber up your feet, sit in a chair with your feet planted on the ground. Next, lift your left leg and circle your foot in the air in a clockwise direction. After doing about 20 clockwise rotations, change directions. Going counterclockwise, make an additional 20 rotations. Repeat the same routine on your other foot.

Toe Exercises

  • After placing a small towel on the floor, use your toes to curl the towel toward the ball of your foot. Towel curls are ideal for toe relieving toe cramps, hammertoe and pain in the balls of your feet. To increase resistance, put a weight on the towel.
  • Use your toes to pick up marbles and then drop them in a bowl. This can help with pain from toe cramps, hammertoe or pain in the balls of your feet.
  • Walk barefoot on a sandy beach. Besides massaging your feet, this helps condition your feet and strengthen your toes.
  • Point, raise or curl your toes, holding them in a fixed position for about five seconds. These exercises are also excellent for easing discomfort from toe cramps and hammertoe.

Big Toe Stretches

An inflexible big toe can affect how smoothly you walk. To increase flexibility in your big toe, use manual manipulation. Sitting in a chair with your right ankle crossed over the left knee, use your thumb to bend back the big toe. After holding this stretch for about 10 seconds, release your toe.

Next, move your thumb to your big toe's middle joint, pressing the toe forward. Hold this stretch and then release the toe. Repeat this three times and follow the same procedure for your other big toe.

Exercises for the Bottom of the Foot

  • Using a racquetball or a tennis ball, take turns rolling the balls under each foot. This helps to loosen and strengthen the plantar fascia.
  • Roll a golf ball underneath each foot. If you suffer from foot cramps, heel pain or arch strain, this foot massage is exceptionally effective.

Considerations and Warnings

  • You can easily work these exercises and stretches into your normal workday. For example, do them while sitting at your desk.
  • Use smooth, slow motions when exercising and inhale through the nose instead of through the mouth.
  • Don't hold our breath while exercising as this can cause a rise in blood pressure.

Regardless of your age, your feet can still become more flexible if you do these daily exercises and stretches. Just be sure to take it slow at first. If you still suffer from foot inflexibility or have diabetes, arthritis or other medical issues, see a podiatrist at a clinic like Center for Foot Care.  


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