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How to prevent sore feet after running or working out

How to prevent sore feet after running or working out

Sore feet as a result of running, sports or exercise can be frustrating - both as a physical pain and as a knock to your confidence. Finding and settling into a good foot care routine helps to prevent soreness, aches and injury, supporting you to put your best feet forward in achieving your fitness or sporting goals.


Preventing foot pain - Give your feet some TLC

Preventing painful and aching feet can start way before your runs and workouts. By incorporating foot care into your daily routine, it can not only support your exercise goals but it can have an impact on the musculoskeletal system overall and potentially reduce injuries. This routine can come in many forms, and because it requires minimal time, equipment and products, creating a routine should be easy to fit into your everyday life.


A consistent foot care routine

No matter how active you are, maintaining a simple and consistent foot care routine can help ensure your feet stay healthy.

Here are some simple ways to create a foot care routine:

  • Regularly exfoliating and moisturising your feet
  • Keeping your nails trimmed
  • Wiggling your toes often to keep them supple
  • Maintaining good foot hygiene


Foot strengthening, mobility and stretching

The likelihood of sore feet or injury during sports and exercise can be greatly reduced by focusing on building up your foot strength, mobility and flexibility.

Our feet have a wide range of movement including pronation, supination, dorsiflexion and plantarflexion. The impact of activities, especially weight bearing sports such as running can exacerbate any abnormalities in these movements. For example, we all need to pronate to walk but when we over pronate, the impact may manifest in pain and discomfort. Not only in the feet but the legs, hips and lower back may be impacted. In simple terms. your feet should be able to take the impact, and bend and flex as needed.

Over time, those who run, play sports or exercise a lot can lose some of the flexibility and may experience this. Building and maintaining foot mobility with a regular exercise routine can help reduce this.

  • Examples of feet strengthening exercises to prevent sore feet include toe curls with a towel, calf raises and barefoot walking.
  • Examples of mobility exercises to prevent sore feet include box jumps, big toe exercises and ankle circles.
  • Examples of stretches to help prevent sore feet include an achilles stretch, calf stretch and tibialis stretches.


Choose the correct footwear

Many people participating in weight bearing activities wear incorrect or badly fitting shoes. This can have a significant impact and is often the root cause of aches and pains. It can often lead to avoidable injuries and longer term conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs and shin splints.

Everyone’s feet are different, and different activities require different footwear. For running, your feet are taking a huge amount of impact, so the right soles and arch support are crucial.

Footwear for hiking is often underrated and simple trainers are not suitable for the different terrains you will encounter. The ankles also need support and a strong pair of walking boots are necessary to protect your feet.

Other dynamic sports, such as tennis, volleyball and badminton also need a trainer that will give good support and absorb the pressure from the jumping and landing.

By choosing the best footwear, it gives your body the best chance of coping with the additional stresses of impact.


Practise correct form

Everyone's running style is different. The way  your foot moves when it hits the ground to lift off is a complex interaction of movements and signals to the brain to keep us balanced.

We do this without even thinking about it. However, our individual foot shapes and running style can have an effect on our feet.

To minimise risk of injury or to avoid problems such as plantar fasciitis or achilles tendonitis, we again recommend a visit to your local running store. It is also worth considering a pair of insoles that can redistribute pressure and can best support your feet during both exercises. 

By considering all these areas, you are more likely to avoid injuries associated with running and other exercise. If you are unsure, speak to a healthcare professional such as a podiatrist.

A good way to reduce the risk of pain in your feet after running or working out is to make sure that your form is correct. Having 'correct form' means you're doing the exercise correctly, without creating any movement issues or risk of injury.

The way your foot strikes the ground can have an effect on your feet – with some striking techniques increasing the risk of injuries such as plantar fasciitis and calf strains. Again, we recommend visiting your local running store to help assess your running form, or choose a pair of insoles that can best support your feet during both exercise and everyday life.

When it comes to form with other exercises and workouts, do your research and ask a professional if you’re unsure. Improper form can lead to both injuries and soreness in your feet and other areas of your body.


Warm up, cool down

To prevent injuries from your workouts, it is essential that you take a few minutes to warm up and cool down. Many foot pain issues come from damage to the musculoskeletal system. This system includes the interactions of muscles, ligaments and bones, with a main function to provide stability and mobility to the body.

To help prevent injuries and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from your workouts, it is essential to take a few minutes to warm up and to cool down. It is also recommended that other activities that focus on core strength and flexibility, such as yoga and pilates are incorporated into exercise regimes. This gives the body strength and suppleness and will increase your running performance.

Wearing compression socks can help with calf circulation and can prevent sore feet after running. These can be worn before or after your workout or run to help increase blood flow. A general warm up before running or working out is always a good idea to help reduce the risk of post workout soreness.



Rest days are essential to all training schedules, whether you are running for fun or training for a marathon. Over training can make you more susceptible to injury and rest is needed for repair. So running every day could end up doing more damage than good. Take at least one day off a week and treat yourself to some foot pampering!


Sore feet and exercise – Common issues and how to prevent

We’ve discussed preventative measures to help with sore feet after running or working out, but what if issues continue and threaten to prevent you from reaching your fitness goals? Most who lead an active lifestyle will experience some form of foot pain in their lifetime. Here are the most common ailments, and ways you can aid prevention and recovery.



A common issue, and potentially a painful one. Blisters occur when part of your foot rubs against your shoe, causing friction and creating a gap between the skin for some fluid to appear. If your shoes aren’t the correct size for running or working out, then blisters can become a common issue. Blisters are painful, especially if they burst, and can make any movement a challenge.

Ensuring your training shoes are the correct fit is the best way to prevent blisters, but if they do happen, Scholl Blister Plasters can help aid a quicker recovery and support you to keep moving while they heal.


Plantar fasciitis (sore heels)

One of the most common sore foot issues for runners and those who workout is plantar fasciitis.

This is caused by damage to the fascia band that runs across the bottom of the foot. It presents as pain, burning discomfort (often in the heel) and especially on those first steps in the morning. Overuse can over time damage the fascia, so preventative stretching in the lower limb will strengthen the structure to avoid this condition.

If you are suffering, icing the pain before and after your exercise can help. Additionally, the use of orthotics is a podiatry recommended treatment. Scholl In-Balance® Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Orthotic insoles are clinically proven to absorb impact and provide relief.


Achilles tendonitis

Though not directly part of your foot, your achilles tendon plays a big part in how your foot moves and operates whilst running and taking part in sport and exercise. For this reason, injuries such as achilles tendonitis can be common in those who lead an active lifestyle.

Correctly fitting and appropriate footwear is a must. If you are suffering, icing the injury can help reduce inflammation, and Scholl In-Balance® Heel Pain Relief Orthotic insoles reduce pressure on ligaments and tendons to help relieve heel pain.


Hallux rigidis (toe pain)

Your big toe is home to the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, which helps propel you forward as you walk or run. Runners and those who exercise frequently tend to get a stiff MTP joint, which can cause a lot of pain. To prevent this, wear properly fitting shoes that allow your toes to sit comfortably, and rest and ice the joint if necessary.



Metatarsalgia is a common complaint from runners where the ball of the foot feels like it is burning and/or painful. The continuous impact on the bottom of your foot can cause inflammation. Soft, gel-like insoles can support metatarsalgia, as well as regular stretching and mobility. A combination of these practices can help prevent this issue from causing you sore feet after any form of exercise.


Helpful exercises that can allow your feet to recover

When you are working towards a fitness or sporting goal, don't let your  feet stop you achieving your goals. If you do have aches and pains, try doing some other activities that are not as weight bearing and have less impact on your feet, whilst maintaining your fitness. 



Swimming and other water-based exercises take the weight off your feet, whilst still providing a great aerobic activity and full body workout. In fact, swimming has been found to burn more calories than both biking and running per hour, and just like those exercises, is great for your mental health too.



Whether you do it on the road or on an exercise bike in the gym, cycling is a fantastic workout if your feet are feeling sore (unless your pain involves the ankle and calves - in which case, try hand bikes). It’s also a great workout for your legs and helps improve the strength in your quad muscles.


Core workouts

Sit ups, leg raises, bicycle crunches, planks - core workouts are a fantastic way of getting a sweat on whilst giving your feet the chance to recover.

The key takeaway message is: tackle the issue before you experience the pain.


Preparing for event day

Here at Scholl, we know that preparing for a running race, or other competitive sport, requires careful planning and preparation to ensure that your feet support you every step of the way. We’ve created a list of our top preparation tips for your next competition which you can read here.

Scholls products are all underpinned by science and can help you prevent and reduce pain in the feet and lower limbs after running. We have over 100 years expertise and many of our products are podiatry recommended.

If you’re looking for a running event this year, head to our events page to see what’s on offer.