Finding ways to relieve foot pain, a common foot problem, can be a challenge for many people, affecting their daily activities and overall well-being. Whether the root cause of foot pain is an injury, poor footwear choices, or a chronic condition like bunions or plantar fasciitis, there are foot pain treatments available. By incorporating specific strengthening exercises and stretches into your routine, you can enhance foot strength, mobility, and flexibility, ultimately alleviating discomfort. Below, we delve into ten effective exercises to help relieve foot pain and boost overall foot health.

1. Walking Barefoot

Walking barefoot is a fundamental exercise that can aid in rehabilitating your feet and reducing foot pain. The effectiveness of this exercise stems from its ability to stimulate muscles usually immobilized by restrictive footwear. By going barefoot, your feet can resume their natural position, leading to stronger foot muscles and less reliance on comfortable shoes.

improve foot health with barefoot walking

1.1 The Importance of Barefoot Walking

When you walk barefoot, you engage every muscle in your feet, enhancing your balance and foot function. This exercise is particularly beneficial for individuals who have been primarily wearing conventional shoes with features like heel elevation and rigid soles, which can lead to foot deformation over time. Walking barefoot or using footwear that mimics the barefoot experience can help restore your feet’s natural form and function.

1.2 How to Practice Barefoot Walking

Start by walking barefoot on forgiving surfaces like grass or sand. As your feet strengthen and become accustomed to the new movement, you can progressively try harder surfaces. Remember, the transition should be gradual to avoid exacerbating foot pain or injuring your feet further. Never overstimulate a compromised and already stressed out foot.

2. Toe Extensor Stretch

The toe extensor stretch is another helpful exercise that can alleviate foot pain. This stretching exercise targets the long extensor muscles of your toes, which often become tight due to the elevated toe spring in conventional footwear.

2.1 How to Perform a Toe Extensor Stretch

To perform this stretch, sit on a chair with one leg underneath you. Curl your toes under and rest the tops of your feet on the floor. Gently push your ankle forward and slightly downward to create a light stretch in your toe extensor muscles. This stretch should be felt in the front of your shin, ankle, and the top of your foot. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds to one minute, then switch to the other foot. This is a great way to help relieve foot pain.

foot exercise toe extensor stretch

3. Using Toe Spacers

Toe spacers can be instrumental in alleviating foot pain. They help reposition your toes to their natural anatomical alignment, which can reduce pain caused by conditions like bunions and hammertoes.

3.1 Benefits of Toe Spacers

Toe spacers aid in spreading your toes, allowing them to move more freely. This can help strengthen your foot muscles and improve your balance. Additionally, toe spacers can help correct foot deformities caused by wearing tight, constrictive shoes over time.

3.2 How to Use Toe Spacers

Toe spacers are typically made of soft, flexible material and are slipped onto your toes, much like a ring on a finger. You can wear them while walking, running, or doing other exercises to help alleviate foot pain, realign your toes and strengthen your foot muscles.

4. Ball Massage

Massaging your foot with a small ball like a gold or tennis ball is a simple yet effective way to relieve foot pain. This exercise stimulates blood flow to your feet and helps break up any scar tissue that may be causing discomfort.

4.1 How to Perform a Ball Massage

Place a ball under the sole of your foot and roll your foot forward and backward over the ball. Apply pressure as needed. This foot massage exercise is particularly beneficial for those suffering from plantar fasciitis or arch pain in the foot, as it can help loosen the tight muscles in the arch of your foot. The smaller and harder the ball the better you can target specific tight spots. Use a softer ball when starting out. A spiked ball gives grip plus extra sensory stimulation. If you want some serious action opt for a multifunctional neuro ball.

relieve foot pain

5. Short Foot Exercise

The short foot exercise is a sensory-motor training activity designed to improve your foot’s proprioceptive output, which is crucial for maintaining balance and rehabilitating your foot after an injury. This exercise can help reduce foot pain and improve foot health.

5.1 How to Perform the Short Foot Exercise

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Shift your weight slightly towards the outer edge of the foot you’re working on. Keeping your toes spread wide and straight, try to increase the space underneath your foot, especially under your medial longitudinal arch. As you contract your foot muscles, avoid curling your toes. This strengthening exercise can help strengthen your foot and reduce foot pain.

short foot exercise to relieve foot pain

6. Ankle Circles

Ankle circles are a simple yet effective exercise to improve the range of motion in your ankles, which can help alleviate foot pain.

6.1 How to Perform Ankle Circles

Sit or stand comfortably and lift one foot off the ground. Rotate your ankle, making circles in the air with your toes to help with foot pain. Make sure to rotate your ankle in both directions, and repeat with the other foot.

7. Toe Curls

Toe curls can help strengthen your toes and improve your overall foot health.

7.1 How to Perform Toe Curls

Place a small towel on the floor and sit in a chair with your feet flat on the towel. Starting with your toes, try to scrunch the towel towards you while keeping your heel stationary. This exercise can help alleviate foot pain. Repeat this exercise with both feet.

8. Calf Raises

Calf raises can help strengthen your calf muscles, which play a critical role in supporting your feet.

8.1 How to Perform Calf Raises

Stand straight and slowly rise onto your toes, lifting your heels off the ground. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower your heels back down. This stretching and strengthening exercise can be performed with or without weights for added resistance and can help with foot pain.

Strengthen you feet calf raises ©

9. Heel-to-Toe Walk

The heel-to-toe walk is a great exercise to improve your balance and foot strength.

9.1 How to Perform a Heel-Toe Walk

Stand tall and take a step, putting your heel directly in front of your other foot’s toes. Repeat with the other foot, walking in a straight line for about 20 steps.

10. Resistance Band Exercises

Resistance band exercises can help strengthen your foot and ankle muscles, improving your balance and reducing foot pain. These stretching and strengthening exercises are beneficial for your feet.

10.1 How to Perform Resistance Band Exercises

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Wrap a resistance band around your foot and hold the ends in your hands. Push your foot forward against the resistance band, then pull it back. This is a great stretching and strengthening exercise for foot pain relief. Repeat with the other foot.


Regularly performing these stretching and strengthening exercises can greatly help to relieve foot pain and improve your foot health. It’s important to remember that consistency is key when it comes to foot pain treatment and foot care, so try to incorporate these exercises into your daily routine. Moreover, consider the footwear you’re using as well. Opt for shoes that allow your feet to move naturally, ideally zero-drop, enhancing the benefits of these exercises.