How to exercise with bad feet?

training with bad feet

Creating an exercise regimen when dealing with bad feet can be challenging, but it’s entirely possible to stay active and healthy while minimizing discomfort. Here’s a practical guide on how to exercise effectively if you have foot problems.

1. Understand Your Condition

Before you start any exercise program, it’s crucial to understand the specifics of your foot issues. Conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, or arthritis require different care strategies. Consult with a healthcare provider or a podiatrist to get a clear diagnosis and recommendations tailored to your needs.

2. Choose the Right Footwear

Investing in the right footwear is essential for protecting your feet during exercise. Look for shoes with good arch support, cushioning, and enough room to accommodate any orthotics as prescribed by your doctor. Specialty stores often offer shoe fittings that can help you find the perfect pair.

3. Opt for Low-Impact Exercises

Low-impact exercises can help you stay fit without putting excessive stress on your feet. Some effective low-impact activities include:

Swimming: Provides a full-body workout and the buoyancy of the water relieves pressure on your feet.
Cycling: Either stationary or on a bike, cycling reduces impact on your feet while still providing a good cardiovascular workout.
Elliptical Training: This is easier on your feet than running but still elevates your heart rate.
Rowing: An excellent alternative for a full-body workout that spares your feet.

4. Incorporate Strength Training

Strength training can help build muscle and support the joints, reducing the burden on your feet. Focus on exercises that can be done sitting or lying down to minimize foot strain, such as:

Weightlifting using machines that don’t require standing.
Pilates which often involves mat exercises that focus on core strength, flexibility, and overall body alignment.

5. Stretch and Strengthen Your Feet

Daily foot exercises and stretches can improve your foot health, increase flexibility, and reduce pain. Consider the following:

Toe presses, curls, and spreads to enhance toe mobility.
Arch rolls with a tennis ball to relieve tension underfoot.

6. Modify Yoga and Pilates Poses

Yoga and Pilates can be modified to accommodate foot discomfort. Use props like blocks and straps to reduce strain on your feet and focus on poses that emphasize upper body and core strength.

7. Listen to Your Body

Always pay attention to what your body tells you during and after exercise. If a particular movement causes pain, stop and adjust. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to avoid overexertion.

8. Consider Professional Guidance

A physical therapist can design an exercise program that maximizes your health benefits while taking care of your feet. They can provide guidance on proper form and help you make adjustments as needed.


Exercising with bad feet requires careful planning and consideration, but it doesn’t have to limit your physical activity. By understanding your condition, choosing appropriate exercises, and using the right equipment, you can enjoy a diverse and fulfilling workout routine that keeps your feet healthy and pain-free. With these strategies, you’ll be able to maintain your fitness without compromising your foot health.

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Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.