These Stretches Will Help Fight Toe Pain
Posted on Feb 17, 2021

If you’ve spent a long day standing, you may notice pain or soreness in your feet. This could be the result of tight muscles or a deeper-rooted condition, like nerve compression.

Usually, a great deal of foot pain is from connective tissue wear and tear. This results in ligaments, tendons, and fascia becoming tight, disorganized, and functionally incompetent.  

Lucky for you, stretches can help to alleviate this tension and discomfort!

We’ve discussed stretches for foot pain previously, but today, we’re focusing on the toes with 6 easy stretches.


One of the first places to start is by identifying the root cause of your pain, but this is often easier said than done.

It can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of your toe pain.

This can result from bunions, Morton’s neuroma, arthritis, and other conditions that put extra strain on your joints. 

Your choice of shoes also plays a huge part in your overall foot health, so make sure to choose supportive footwear – like our Palmer flip flop – that will protect your feet throughout your day or allow for recovery at the end of the day.

No matter the cause, the outcome remains the same – you are left fighting with toe pain that is affecting your day-to-day life. These stretches can help provide you with quick and easy relief!

1. Big Toe Pull

Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Using a towel, wrap the fabric around your big toe and pull upwards towards you while keeping your feet on the ground to create opposite forces of motion.

This will engage what is called the ‘windlass’ mechanism and allow for a gentle stretch of the wide and flat fascia on the bottom of the foot.  

Hold this stretch for five seconds before repeating with the next foot. Repeat for ten reps on each foot, if possible.

2. Big Toe Stretch

This stretch, like the last, focuses on the tension of the great toe in different planes of motion.

Sit in a chair with your legs cross and one ankle resting on your opposite thigh. Take your big toe in one hand and move it in different directions – up, down, right, and left.

Hold your toe in each position for about 5 seconds.

The great toe’s main joint (metatarsophalangeal) is surrounded by a capsule and a series of collateral ligaments. Each is stretched with this exercise.  

Repeat this eight to ten times on each foot.

3. Toe Lift

Stand flat on the ground. Lift and spread your toes while focusing on keeping the ball of your foot planted on the floor.

This activity will engage the muscles inside the foot itself. These are the intrinsic muscles.

Each one has small tendons that are important to foot function and also are able to cause pain after a long day.  

Hold this for about five seconds before returning to a resting position. Repeat this ten times or as many times as you can!

4. Finger Toe Stretch

This stretch is similar to the big toe stretch, but rather than focusing on the great toe it involves all of your toes.

Hold your toes between your fingers as if you were holding someone else's hand.

Start by sitting in a chair with your legs crossed. Rest your ankle on the opposite thigh.

Lace the fingers of your hand between the toes, as if you were holding another hand.

Use your fingers to help stretches the toes apart, holding as long as you can.

Repeat five times on each foot.

5. Toe Flex

Stand flat on the ground facing a wall. Your feet should be about a shoulder-width apart. Keep your heels and balls of your feet on the ground, and lift the toes of one foot against the wall.

Place your hands on the wall and lean forward, allowing the toes of your foot to gently stretch for five seconds.

Return to a resting position and repeat with your other foot. Do this ten times on each side, or as many as you can.

6. Toe Wave

While standing, lift your toes into the air, keeping the balls on the ground.

Shift your toes to the right and hold for five seconds. Then, shift them to the left for another five seconds before returning to a resting position.

Think of this as doing a windshield wiper motion with your toes.

This is difficult to do and many people feel a small muscle cramp in the big toe’s main muscle (abductor hallucis).

Simply stop and rest if you feel this soreness, and massage the muscle as well.

Repeat this ten times with each foot if possible.

As with any stretch, do not force your body beyond what it can handle. Allow your muscles to rest as needed, and remember not to push your muscles.

If you feel pain, avoid stretching your toes and consult with your personal physician for other methods of pain relief.

Most people neglect the health and fitness of their feet. We don’t want you to be in that group!


Pair these stretches with our Palmer flip flop from The Healing Sole!

This flip flop is designed with a raised arch support, a rocker bottom sole, and a compressible inner heel to help alleviate pain and stress across the entire foot, but we take this a step further for the health of your toes.

By keeping the great toe in a level position, this thoughtfully designed flip-flop allows for reduced tension and irritation in the forefoot regardless of the problems associated with the toes.

The material of the footbed with the gentle rocker bottom of the forefoot region, paired with a metatarsal bar beneath the toes and ball of the foot, offers you support and stress relief where you need it most.

Try our Palmer flip flop for yourself today, available now in our traditional Neoprene black, a velvet Leopard strap, or our newest Dusty Rose color!