The 5 Best Stretches to Do When You Wake Up With Foot Pain

Give your feet some TLC
Image Credit: dusanpetkovic/iStock/GettyImages

Do you wake up with stiffness, soreness or a sharp, stabbing pain in your heel, arch or foot?


Most often, morning foot pain is related to the amount of stress your feet experienced the day before, Tyler Nightingale, DPT, tells A hard workout or even lots of walking can overload the tissue in your feet, leading to discomfort in the a.m.

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The spectrum of morning foot pain covers everything from delayed onset muscle soreness to plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes) all the way to chronic tendinopathy (long-term inflammation and impairment of the tendons), Nightingale says.

Whether your foot pain is temporary or the result of a chronic condition, stretching can assist in alleviating aches and moderating pain. Here, Nightingale shares a series of stretches to help you start the day off on the right foot (pun intended)‌.

1. Soft Tissue Release for the Medial Longitudinal Arch

Time 1 Min
Type Flexibility
  1. Place a lacrosse ball (or other small, firm ball) under your foot.
  2. Push your foot forward, maintaining pressure as you roll the ball backward until it reaches the start of your heel.
  3. Then roll the ball forward to the ball of your foot.
  4. Repeat this movement for 60 seconds on each foot.

2. Three-Dimensional Gastroc Stretch

Reps 10
Type Flexibility
  1. Stand facing a wall and place your front foot about fist-distance away. While bracing yourself against the wall, shift your body weight forward to allow your knee to bend and get close to the wall.
  2. Keep both heels touching the floor and your back leg straight, then straighten your front knee.
  3. Continue for 10 reps.
  4. With the same front leg, step out wide, diagonally to your right, keeping your foot pointing straight to the wall, and bend forward.
  5. Repeat the same thing to your left side.
  6. Continue for 10 reps.
  7. With the same leg, step out wide, diagonally to your right. This time rotate your foot slightly inward and bend forward.
  8. Continue for 10 reps.
  9. Repeat with the other leg.

3. Hallux (aka Big Toe) Extension Lunge

Reps 15
Type Flexibility
  1. Start in a split stance with the target leg in back.
  2. Keep your weight centered through the big toe of your back foot as you lower down into a full lunge, extending the foot fully.
  3. Slowly return to standing.
  4. Complete 15 reps.

4. Seated Ankle Plantarflexion

Sets 3
Time 10 Sec
Type Flexibility
  1. Start on all fours on a mat, then slowly shift your weight back to sit on your heels.
  2. As you sit back and increase weight on your ankles, make sure your feet are parallel through the midfoot and toes.
  3. Find a maximum point of stretch that's tolerable and hold for 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets total.

5. Pronation to Supination Rotation

Reps 10
Type Flexibility
  1. Start standing.
  2. Plant the target foot on the floor, keeping your weight here, then rotate your hips out and step your other foot behind you.
  3. Pull up through the arch of the stationary foot as you rotate your hips forward and step your free foot in front of you.
  4. Continue for 10 reps, then switch sides.



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