Fitness Fix: Tight, Sore Feet

By Karla Walsh, NASM-CPT, AFAA |

Feet killing you? While shedding (or swapping) your shoes might provide some initial relief, you might also need to address some deeper foot problems.

Unsupportive kicks, like high heels, ballerina flats, or flip-flops, can cause dysfunction of your Achilles tendon, foot muscles, and plantar fascia. Shoes that offer a lot of support, like exercise shoes with extra cushioning, or ill-fitting orthotic inserts, can cause trouble, too.

“Imbalance or weakness of the muscles can lead to limited motion and can affect each step while walking and running,” says Leslie Campbell, DPM, a podiatrist in Allen, Texas. “If severe enough, this can lead to overuse injuries or ankle, knee, and back pain.”

Some simple stretches can make a world of difference and help strengthen your feet.

“Although it’s often forgotten in the greater scheme of exercise priorities, daily foot stretching is vital, since tendons and ligaments have no memory,” Campbell says. To unclench the connective tissue in your feet, Campbell recommends adding the following moves to your daily routine.

How to Stretch Your Feet


  1. Hold for 30 seconds.

To add support, place a rolled-up towel or blanket, or a yoga block, under your hips.

Kneeling With Toes Tucked

  1. Hold for 30 seconds.

This stretch can be intense. If it gets to be too much, place your hands on the floor to relieve pressure on your toes.

This article has been updated. It originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Experience Life. 

— Karla Walsh NASM-CPT, AFAA

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