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Plantar Fascia and Metatarsal Bone Strengthening Exercises for Forefoot Running

Plantar fasciitis and metatarsal stress fractures bone strengthening exercises for runnersRunning in thick, cushioned, stability shoes increases the risk of developing plantar fasciitis as these shoes create a weaker foot by restricting the foot’s natural movement and reducing muscle activation.


Other factors that cause plantar fasciitis include:

  • people in occupations involving prolonged standing such as teachers, construction workers, and cooks are at high risk of plantar fasciitis
  • poor biomechanics and over-training
  • repetitive stress that exceeds recovery, leading to degenerative changes in the plantar fascia metatarsal stress fracture top of foot pain feet foot strengthening forefoot running

Last but not least, the metatarsal bones -the 5 thin bones at the top of the foot connecting at the toes, need to be strengthened as well before you start forefoot running. The exercises below, are great for strengthening these areas.

Plantar Fascia and Metatarsal Bone Strengthening Exercise:

metatarsal stress fracture top of foot pain feet foot strengthening forefoot running(A) Pick up and transfer marbles, pebbles, or a pen/pencil into a cup or bowl, or just drop them, and pick them up again. Repeat 15-20x’s daily. (B) Is based on the same strengthening principal as (A), except you progressively pull back a towel with your toes. Work your foot up the towel by scrunching the towel with your toes, repeat 15-20x’s daily. (C) One-legged calf raise. Slowly raise your body weight to the balls of one foot, hold for a few seconds, and gently lower your heel back down to the ground. Repeat with the other foot and do 3 sets of 15 daily.

Cure Plantar Fasciitis, Go Barefoot

Another great strengthening exercise for plantar fasciitis is walking barefoot on grass, or uneven terrain. Discomfort may arise, but relax your feet and walk as normal as possible.

Walking barefoot on uneven terrain, strengthens every angle of the foot since the feet are now able to receive a wealth of sensory input. The increased sensory input activates reflexes in the foot, which in turn, strengthens soft tissue and the plantar fascia.

The plantar fascia is a very strong structure of the foot, walking barefoot while the plantar fascia is inflamed, wont kill you, nor will it exacerbate the condition. Simply, walk barefoot on grass at a comfortable pace for 20 minutes, trying to maintain your natural walking gait, no limping, or favoring the other foot. 

Do the best you can, the pain will be gone before you know it. Being patient is key, and DO these exercises daily. If you don’t do them, you will get injured and will be referred to a physiotherapist where you’ll end up doing the same exercises anyway!!

metatarsal stress fracture top of foot pain feet foot strengthening forefoot runningExercise (D) point your toes up and down and hold, do 3 sets of 20 and (E) is the same as (B) just with the addition of the weight.

More Strengthening Exercises for Forefoot Running:

Run Forefoot, Run Effortless !

References: (1)

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc (HONS) Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, running geek, founder of Run I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, running feels natural,easier, and I'm injury free.I launched Run to advocate the potential benefits of forefoot running and raise awareness on the potential dangers of heel striking.