Foot pain has many sources: long flights, hiking, running, and even just moving around during your workout can all cause pain and discomfort in our feet.
Swollen, painful feet can throw off the kinetic chain and lead to pain in your ankles, knees, hips, back, and even your neck. It can also lead to debilitating injuries in the feet, like plantar fasciitis, or inflammation in the fascia that lines the bottom of the foot.
This is why it is essential to stretch, massage, and care for your feet regularly – especially if you notice that they are tight or in pain. These soothing stretches will improve circulation to the feet – flushing them out with freshly oxygenated blood to remove toxins and excess water that causes swelling and tension.
They will also help to improve the flexibility of the toes and ankles and massage out tightness in the fascia of the foot, protecting your entire body from movement-related injury.
Do these stretches whenever your feet begin to feel tight or swollen. If you’re on your feet regularly, we recommend practicing these exercises daily.
Point and Flex | 10 reps each direction
Pointing the toes stretches the tops of the feet and ankles, while flexing the toes stretches the calves, back of the ankles, and the plantar fascia on the bottom of the feet.
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- Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Point your feet and toes down to feel a stretch through the top of the feet and ankles.
- Flex both feet and toes back towards your shins to feel a stretch through your calves, ankles, and the bottom of the feet.
- Repeat 10 times.
Foot Prayer | 10 reps
This exercise relieves tightness in the outer foot and ankle.
- Begin seated with your legs straight out in front of you and the feet flexed.
- Rotate your feet inward and bring the soles of your feet together to touch. Hold for 3 seconds, then release, turning the soles of your feet forward again.
- Repeat 10 times.
Inner Ankle Stretch | 10 reps
This stretch relieves tightness in the inner ankle and foot.
- Start by sitting with your legs straight out in front of you with your feet flexed.
- Rotate your feet outward until you feel a nice stretch in the inner ankle and foot. Hold for 3 seconds, then release, turning the soles of your feet forward again.
- Repeat 10 times.
Toe Curls | 5 reps
This stretch brings circulation into the toes, helping to relieve swelling and tightness.
- Sit down with your legs straight out in front of you, with your feet relaxed.
- Scrunch up your toes as tight as you can and hold for a count of 3. Then release and relax them.
- Repeat for 5 reps.
Toe Spread | 5 reps
This stretch creates space and releases tension from between the toes.
- Start with your legs straight out in front of you with your feet relaxed.
- Flex your feet, then spread your toes as wide as you can, separating them and holding for count of 3.
- Relax your toes and feet completely.
- Repeat for 5 reps.
Toe Scrunch and Spread | 5 reps
This stretch combines the curl and spread for the ultimate toe stretching and circulation pulling effect.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and relax your feet.
- Scrunch up your toes as tight as possible and hold for 3 seconds.
- Spread your toes as wide as you can and hold for 3 seconds.
- Repeat 5 times.
Standing Toe Curl | 20 sec
This stretch uses gravity for an added stretch to the tops of the feet and toes.
- Stand on an exercise mat.
- Pick up your right foot and curl the toes. Then, place the tops of your toes onto the mat.
- Gently apply pressure and hold for 20 seconds, feeling the stretch through the tops of your toes.
- Switch feet.
Standing Toe Stretch | 20 sec
This stretch uses gravity to relieve tightness from the bottom of the foot and toes.
- Begin by standing on a mat.
- Pick up your right foot, flex the toes back, and then place the ball of your foot down onto the mat.
- Gently apply pressure to feel a stretch through the toes. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides.
Toe Squat | 20 sec
This yoga pose helps to release tight fascia around the toes that can cause pain in the feet.
- Start in a standing forward fold with your feet together.
- Tent your fingertips on the floor in front of you. Lift your heels, bend your knees, and lower your hips to your heels.
- You should feel a nice stretch through the plantar fascia on the bottom of your feet. Hold for 20 seconds.
Kneeling Ankle Stretch | 20 sec
This yoga pose helps to release tightness and swelling from the top of the ankle and foot.
- Begin by kneeling on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
- Bring your legs together and sit your hips back on your heels. Lift your chest and place your hands on the floor behind you. Lean back into your palms to feel a stretch through your feet, ankles, shins, and quadriceps.
- If you want more, continue leaning back and lift your knees off the floor about an inch. Wherever you choose to go, hold for 20 seconds.
Shared with permission from our friends at PaleoPlan.
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