9 Toe Yoga Physical Therapy Exercises

A woman stretching out her leg and foot, an example of toe yoga physical therapy

If you’re suffering from foot pain, toe yoga physical therapy exercises may be able to bring you relief. As someone who has spent decades practicing yoga and training yoga therapists, I can’t overstate the importance of our feet and our toes. These are integral parts of our bodies! Not only do you need healthy toes and feet to feel good while standing, walking, and running, but also to support the health of your ankles, legs, hips, and even your back.

Strong toes and feet can promote good balance, posture, and support for your body. If you’ve been thinking about starting toe yoga (or even learning how to teach it), keep reading to learn more about what toe yoga is, the health conditions it can improve, and how to get started with toe yoga physical therapy exercises at home.

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What Is Toe Yoga Good For?

Toe yoga involves stretches and exercises for your toes and feet. When a yoga therapist works with you to apply yoga techniques to address specific health problems, it’s considered yoga therapy.

Whether you’re ready to seek help from a professional or want to get started with exercises at home first, you may be asking yourself, what is toe yoga good for? Can toe yoga physical therapy help with my condition, ailment, or issue?

Fortunately, toe yoga is good for a number of general health benefits as well as improving specific conditions. I’ve listed several below.

Health Benefits of Toe Yoga

Strong, healthy toes and feet are key to a healthy body. Some of the health benefits of toe yoga include:

  • Good balance

  • Good posture

  • Support for your ankles, legs, hips, and back

  • Pain relief in your toes, feet, and other body parts

  • Muscle strength in your toes and feet

  • Flexibility in your toes and feet

  • Circulation in your toes and feet

Health Conditions You Can Improve with Toe Yoga

If you’re thinking about using toe yoga physical therapy exercises for a specific toe or foot condition, you’re in luck. Toe yoga has the potential to improve just about any kind of foot pain. Just keep in mind that if you are suffering from a foot or toe injury, then you should seek professional help to make sure that you aren’t doing any stretches or exercises that will make your injury worse or get in the way of your healing.

Here are just some of the many health conditions and issues that you can improve with toe yoga:

As mentioned above, it’s possible to overstretch when it comes to certain conditions. With Plantar fasciitis, for example, you’re dealing with your fascia tearing from your heel. Too much stretching can actually make this tear worse.

Learn more about how yoga therapists can help with Plantar fasciitis in my video below.

9 Toe Yoga Physical Therapy Exercises

If you’ve been searching for toe yoga physical therapy exercises, I’ve included a few of my favorites below. As previously mentioned, just take care to consult a professional first if you are experiencing a toe or foot injury to make sure that none of these stretches or exercises will exacerbate your injury.

Spread Your Toes

Spreading your toes is a simple toe yoga exercise to help you warm up.

  • Start by sitting up with good posture and your feet flat on the floor.

  • Spread all of your toes apart on a single foot.

  • If you’re struggling to spread all of your toes, keep practicing! If you need a little help, use your fingers to help guide your toes apart at first.

  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.

  • Release. Relax your toes.

  • Repeat with the other foot.

Spread Your Toes and Arch Your Foot

As you get the hang of spreading your toes, you can also arch your foot at the same time.

  • Start by standing up with your back straight.

  • Spread all of your toes apart on a single foot or on both feet.

  • Lift your heels off the floor and stand on your tiptoes with your toes still spread.

  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.

  • Release. Stand with your feet flat again and relax your toes.

  • Repeat with the other foot if needed.

Lift and Drop Your Heel with Spread Toes

Similar to the exercise above, this variation involves spreading your toes when your heels are lifted as well as when they are flat.

  • Start by standing up with your back straight.

  • Spread all of your toes apart on a single foot or on both feet.

  • Lift your heels off the floor and stand on your tiptoes with your toes still spread.

  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.

  • Drop your heels back onto the floor while keeping your toes spread.

  • Release. Relax your toes.

  • Repeat with the other foot if needed.

Lift and Drop Each Toe

This one takes some practice! Use this exercise to easily identify which of your toes have the strongest and weakest flexibility. If you’re looking for a toe yoga physical therapy exercise that will help you continue to build strength and mobility in all of your toes, this one’s for you.

  • Start by sitting up with good posture and your feet flat on the floor.

  • Choose one foot and try to lift a single toe from that foot.

  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.

  • Release. Relax your toes.

  • Repeat with each toe on your foot.

  • Repeat with the other foot.

  • For variation, change up the order in which you lift each toe. For example, start with your big toe and move down the line until you finish with your pinkie toe in one session. Then start with your pinkie toe and move down the line until you finish with your big toe in the next session.

Point and Flex Your Toes

Pointing and flexing your toes is another great toe yoga exercise to help you get started.

  • Start by sitting on the floor with your back straight.

  • Extend your legs straight out in front of you.

  • Spread all of your toes apart on a single foot or on both feet.

  • Point your feet toward your head while keeping your toes spread.

  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.

  • Release. Relax your toes.

  • Point your feet down, away from your head, and curl your toes in toward the bottoms of your feet.

  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.

  • Release. Relax your toes.

  • Repeat with the other foot if needed.

Scrunch Your Toes

Designed to help stretch and strengthen your toes and feet, you’ll need to grab a towel for this exercise.

  • Start by sitting on a chair with your back straight.

  • Put a towel under your feet. Make sure your feet are flat on the towel.

  • Curl your toes and feet to scrunch up the towel.

  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.

  • Release. Relax your toes and feet.

Open and Close the Soles of Your Feet

This holistic exercise involves more of your foot to help complement the more toe-focused exercises above.

  • Start by sitting on the floor with your back straight.

  • Extend your legs straight out in front of you.

  • Put your legs together so that your feet are touching on the sides and your soles are facing out.

  • Imagine the place where your feet are touching is a hinge. Close the soles of your feet together so they touch as much as you can, while still keeping your feet upright.

  • Hold for up to 10 seconds.

  • Release. Relax your legs and feet.

Roll the Soles of Your Feet

Make sure you have a tennis ball or stress ball handy for this exercise. It’s a great way to gently stretch out your feet, ankles, and toes.

  • Start by sitting on a chair with your back straight.

  • Place your foot on top of a tennis ball or stress ball.

  • Slowly roll the sole of your foot forward and backward over the ball.

  • Slowly roll the sole of your foot left and right over the ball.

  • Repeat with the other foot.

Roll Your Ankles

If you want to give a little extra attention to your ankles, this is the perfect exercise to include with your toe yoga physical therapy regimen.

  • Start by sitting on a chair with your back straight.

  • Lift one foot off the floor and curl your toes slightly.

  • Slowly turn your foot in a circular motion clockwise.

  • Slowly turn your foot in a circular motion counterclockwise.

  • Release. Relax your toes and foot.

  • Repeat with the other foot.

How Do You Start Toe Yoga?

Even if you’re convinced of the benefits of toe yoga physical therapy exercises, you may be asking yourself, how do you start toe yoga? Keep these tips in mind to help you successfully start a toe yoga regimen:

  1. Pick simple stretches to start. Not only will this help keep you motivated, but also, it can help ensure that you are warmed up and don’t overexert yourself or strain your muscles. Consider the exercises to Spread Your Toes, Point and Flex Your Toes, Scrunch Your Toes, or Role the Soles of Your Feet outlined above.

  2. Make it a routine. If you don’t already have time set aside to regularly practice yoga or exercise, it’s important to establish a habit if you want to stick with toe yoga. Focus on doing a few exercises regularly rather than burning yourself out with too much at once. For toe yoga, I recommend doing your exercises after work to help relieve any foot pain, relax your feet, and improve your circulation.

  3. Consult an expert if needed. If you’re suffering from a toe or foot injury, you could actually make things worse and delay your healing if you start doing a bunch of stretches and exercises. But that doesn’t mean that toe yoga therapy can’t help. Get in touch with a good yoga therapist or podiatrist so they can help you develop a safe, customized exercise regimen.

How Can I Improve My Toe Yoga?

If you’ve already started practicing toe yoga and want to know how to improve your toe yoga regimen, there are steps you can take to become more advanced:

  1. Incorporate more advanced exercises. Consider some of the more challenging, advanced, and involved variations on exercises, such as the exercises to Lift and Drop Your Heel with Spread Toes or Lift and Drop Each Toe outlined above.

  2. Create a more holistic regimen. Look beyond your toes to exercises that involve your whole foot, ankle, or leg, such as the exercises to Roll the Soles of Your Feet or Roll Your Ankles outlined above.

  3. Work with a yoga therapist. If you find yourself reaching the limits of what you can do by yourself at home, it’s time to seek out a certified yoga therapist or instructor! A yoga therapist can help you if you are looking for toe yoga physical therapy exercises to help with specific health conditions. A yoga instructor can teach you different stretches and exercises to help keep you active, relaxed, and looking and feeling good, rather than addressing specific physical issues with yoga.

Contact Us for Foot Relief Exercises or Yoga Therapy Training

Looking for more than the toe yoga physical therapy exercises listed here? Want guidance from an expert yoga therapist? At Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy, we’re launching a new series of online courses designed to offer relief from specific health conditions. Contact us to learn more.

Or are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher or therapist? We offer programs for all levels of experience, whether you’re just looking to get started with a yoga teacher training certification or you want to earn your yoga therapy certification. Read about our yoga therapy programs or apply for one of our programs today.

Info Session

Brandt talks about common questions applicants have about the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Program. Tune in to get the full program details.