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3 Stretches for Runners to Avoid Foot Pain before a Race


There are a lot of great local runners that are getting ready for the Calabasas Classic Run.  Whether you’re running a 5K or 10k for time or fun, or even walking the course, it’s always important to stretch prior to running.

Most of the stretching performed by runners is placed above the feet like the ankles, knees and hips.  While this of course is helpful, skipping foot stretches can not only lead to sidelining injuries in the foot itself, but also “up the chain” in the ankles, knees and hips.

Let’s examine 3 stretches that are focused for runners of all levels to keep your feet and toes healthy and prepare you for a great run.


Arch pain is usually located in the inside of the foot between the arch and ankle. This area of pain is associated with the tibialis posterior tendon and more common with runners that excessively pronate (flat feet). As the tibialis posterior tendon/muscle try to support the foot during heel strike and push off, the tendon can experience overuse and become inflamed.

PREVENT ARCH PAIN: Knee to the Wall Stretch

To help prevent arch pain, try performing the knee to wall stretch.  In this picture, the runner is actually stretching the front foot by keeping the right heel on the ground, maintaining the position of the arch, and driving the knee towards the wall. Hold for 3 set of 30 seconds each.

2. HEEL PAIN: (Plantar Fasciitis)

Heel pain is typically called plantar fasciitis and is very common on any runner’s list of injuries.  Plantar fasciitis is characterized as pain on the inside of the arch very close to the heel and can be associated with runners who have high arches or flat feet. This condition is usually a degenerative condition of the plantar fascia as it attaches onto the heel.

PREVENT PLANTAR FASCIITIS: Standing Plantar Fascia Stretch

To help prevent plantar fasciitis, it is important to warm up your foot and plantar fascia to improve the elasticity that is required for running and activities. While standing, place your big toe against a wall or curb, and lean into the stretch so that you feel the stretch on the bottom of your foot.  Hold for 3 set of 30 seconds each.

3. TOE PAIN (Hallux Rigidus)

Toe pain and stiffness or hallux rigidus is a painful condition that occurs on the top of the big toe joint.  The condition is characterized as a degenerative condition where bone spurs grow and prevent the normal extension or toe up of the big toe. Having full and painless big toe extension is important when pushing off and going up hills. Most of you don’t have true hallux ridigus and we want to keep it that way.


To prevent hallux rigidus, it is important to maintain the normal extension of the big toe as much as possible, The purpose of this stretch is to improve the joint mobility of the big toe by stretching the joint capsule or ligament.  Try this stretch while kneeling and make sure your big toe is in an extended position.  Sit back on your heels for 3 sets of 30 second holds.

The stretching for your foot should be done 1-2 times per week for prevention and daily if you have arch, heel or toe pain either during, before or after a run.

When you’re at the race, stop by the EQUINOX tent to do some important stretches and warm-ups while having a lot of fun. The trainers there are able to help runners prepare for their race.

Have a great race and if you get any strains or pains in your feet, make sure to consult with a doctor of physical therapy for help.