Struggling with an ankle or foot injury, medical condition or nerve pain? Try these gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to help ease the pain.


Ankle or foot pain is a very common condition that affects most people at some point in their life. In many cases, the cause of the pain is clear, such as the result of a fall or trip, an existing medical condition such as arthritis or simply just through overuse after a long day on your feet. You may not yet understand the reason for your sore feet and ankles, in this case, we encourage you to seek assistance from our specialist ankle and foot physiotherapists who can assess, diagnose and treat your condition at its source.

Causes of foot pain in the sole, ball, arch, heel, top of the foot or the ankle include arthritis, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, metatarsalgia, flat feet, gout, Achilles tendinitis, bursitis, nerve damage, sprains and fractures. Another reason may be that you have damaged your ligaments, muscles or tendons following a sports injury. Our exercise videos below can help to relieve, improve and prevent a wide variety of conditions affecting the ankles and feet. If you are looking for exercises for ankle pain due to sciatica, these exercises can help – but you may also benefit from following our back pain exercise tutorials.

If you are experiencing acute to chronic foot pain or ankle pain, have noticed an increase in pain, discomfort, weakness or numbness, or are struggling to comfortably put your weight on your feet, we advise you to arrange an assessment at one of our nationwide physio clinic locations. In the meantime, keep reading for some preliminary easy-to-follow exercise videos, including flat foot pain exercises, foot arch pain exercises, heel exercises, ball of foot pain relief exercises and ankle joint pain exercises.



Are you worried that carrying out at-home exercises may cause more pain or make your condition worse?

Although you may think putting your feet up and resting will help you recover, it has been medically proven that people who carry out targeted physio exercises for ankle and foot pain have a faster recovery and relieve pain more effectively. This is the case to treat most conditions, injuries and overuse. However, if you are unsure of your condition, it is safer to be assessed by a physiotherapist first.

We know it can be worrying approaching foot and ankle physio exercises on your own even with reassurance, that is why our physiotherapists are here to help, whenever you need us.


Looking for physio-approved gentle exercises to help hurt feet or ankles?

Regularly exercising and stretching your feet and ankles can help to build up the surrounding muscles that provide support. Keeping your feet strong will alleviate your soreness, improve flexibility and reduce the likelihood of the pain returning.

In order to get the best possible treatment for your feet and ankles, you need to work with a physiotherapist who will address and treat the cause of pain directly. 

Here are some of the best exercises for foot pain and ankle pain sufferers, including chronic lateral ankle pain exercises and exercises for lateral foot pain:

Standing calf stretch - Hold a table or chair for support in a standing position and step the symptomatic leg back behind you. Keep the heels on the floor and toes pointed forwards. Bend the front knee, moving your body forwards until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Make sure your heel does not come off the floor and your back knee does not bend.

Single leg balance - Stand on one leg keeping your big toe off the floor and maintaining your arch throughout. Hold this position

Metatarsal doming - In sitting with your foot flat on the floor tighten the muscles through the sole of your foot. your arch should raise a little. Ensure you do not curl your toes under. Hold this position.

Calf raise toes dorsiflexed - Roll up a towel and place it on the floor near a wall. Place your toes on the towel and raise your heels off the ground using the wall for balance. Hold at the top for a moment then slowly lower your heels back down to the ground.

Soleus stretch - Roll up a towel and place it on the floor by the wall. Place your toes of the affected leg onto the towel with your unaffected leg straight behind you. Slowly lean towards the wall bending the front knee until you feel a stretch in your calf muscle. Hold this position.

Don’t have fitness equipment?

Our foot and ankle strengthening exercises are demonstrated by an expert using visual and verbal instructions. These exercises are designed to be done at home, without the need for any specialist fitness equipment. In some of our other exercise videos, we may use equipment or objects to assist us such as weights, balls or foam rollers. Don’t worry if you don’t have any of these to hand, you can improvise with household items such as a rolled-up blanket/towel, tennis balls and even canned goods. Our more advanced exercises carried out by specialists at our clinics involve equipment provided by us and are monitored during your appointments.


Our team of advanced physiotherapists and sports injury experts can treat your acute to chronic foot and ankle conditions from any of our 17 clinics nationwide. Our experts will complete a full physio assessment and create a tailored rehabilitation plan before starting treatment. Your program may consist of more than just physio exercise, it may also involve things like biomechanics & gait analysis, sport movement analysis, reflexology, acupuncture, and sports massage.

Video call appointments

Not fancy visiting one of our David Lloyd locations? We offer virtual video call appointments for foot pain and ankle pain, so you can speak with a physiotherapist and get targeted treatment from the comfort of your own home.

Nationwide physio clinic locations

Find a location near you

Response Physio & Sports Therapy offer physiotherapy appointments with individually designed treatment plans for customers across the UK. We offer flexible opening hours to suit busy schedules including early morning and late evening appointments, Saturday clinics, and remote clinics. We don’t put you on any waiting lists, appointments are often available within 24-48 hours. You don’t need a doctor’s referral either, we accept NHS referrals, self-pay, and all major private health insurers, including AXA, BUPA, and Medico-legal.

Disclaimer: The above exercises alone are not designed as a cure or long term solution for your back pain; if you are suffering from a back injury, illness or condition then you still need to see a physiotherapist.