Foot Conditioning for Athletic Performance

by Jennifer Wilson, MSC, CSCS
NSCA Coach September 2022
Vol 9, Issue 2

Available to:
Members only

The aim of this article is to highlight the functional importance of the foot, and to provide recommendations for foot conditioning.

Paywall block issue

This article is not configured properly for members or paid content.
isMemberOnly: {{isMemberOnly}} | isPaidContent: {{isPaidContent}}
spc: One or more parts of the product SPC is missing.

Read the full article

View the video

Login to view more

{{discountDesc}} Valid thru {{discountEnds}}

This {{ogType == 'video.other' ? 'video':'article'}} is available with a NSCA membership

This {{ogType == 'video.other' ? 'video':'article'}} can be purchased for {{prices}}
Price includes membership pricing and promotions

Purchase this {{ogType == 'video.other' ? 'video':'article'}}. Price range: {{prices}}
Price range includes membership pricing and promotions

Become a Member Add to Cart Login

This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »



1. Wilson, J, and Kiely, J. The multi-functional foot in athletic movement: Extraordinary feats by our extraordinary feet. Human Movement 17(1): 15-20, 2016.

2. Watkins, J. The Pocket Podiatry Guide Functional Anatomy. Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier; 2009.

3. Hillstrom, HJ, Song, J, Kraszewski, AP, Hafer, JF, Mootanah, R, Dufour, AB, et al. Foot type biomechanics part 1: Structure and function of the asymptomatic foot. Gait and Posture 37: 445-451, 2013.

4. Kirby, KA. Longitudinal arch load sharing system of the foot. Revista Espanola de Podologia 28(1): e18-e26, 2017.

5. McKeon, PO, Hertel, J, Bramble, D, and Davis, I. The foot core system: a new paradigm for understanding intrinsic foot muscle function. British Journal of Sports Medicine 49(5): 290-290, 2015.

6. Saltzman, CL, and Nawoczenski, DA. (1995). Complexities of foot architecture as a base of support. Journal of Orthopaedic Sports Physical Therapy 21(6): 354-360.

7. McKeon, PO, and Fourchet, F. Freeing the foot: Integrating the foot core system into rehabilitation for lower extremity injuries. Clinics in Sports Medicine 34(2): 47-361, 2015.

8. Fraser, JF, and Hertel, J. Effects of a 4-week intrinsic foot muscle exercise program on motor function: A preliminary randomized control trial. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation 28: 339-349, 2019.

9. Matias, AB, Taddei, UT, Duarte, M, and Sacco, ICN. Protocol for evaluating the effects of a therapeutic foot exercise program on injury incidence, foot functionality and biomechanics in long-distance runners: A randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 17, 2016.

10. Sulowska, I, Mika, A, Olesky, L, and Stolarczyk, A. The influence of plantar short foot muscle exercises on the lower extremity muscle strength and power in proximal segments of the kinematic chain in long-distance runners. Biomed Research International 19, 2019.

11. Tiberio, D. The effect of excessive subtalar joint pronation on patellofemoral mechanics: A theoretical model. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 9(4): 160-165, 1987.

12. Jam, B. Evaluation and retraining of the intrinsic foot muscles for pain syndromes related to abnormal control of pronation. Advanced Physical Therapy Education Institute (APTEI). 2004. Retrieved January 2022 from

13. Donatelli, R. Abnormal biomechanics of the foot and ankle. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 9(1): 11-16, 1987.

14. Buchanan, KR, and Davis, I. The relationship between forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot static alignment in pain-free individuals. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 35(10): 559-566, 2005.

15. Facchini, SJ, Hoch, MC, Smith, DH, and Hoch, JM. Intrarater and interrater agreement of the intrinsic foot muscle test. International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training 20(3): 53-57, 2015.

16. Lee, F, Cho, J, and Lee, S. Short-foot exercise promotes quantitative somatosensory function in ankle instability: A randomized controlled trial. Medical Science Monitor 25: 618-626, 2019.

17. Unver, B, Erdam, EU, and Akbas, E. Effects of short-foot exercises on foot posture, pain, disability and plantar pressure in pes planus. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation 2019.

18. Kim, MH, Yi, CH, Weon, JH, Cynn, HS, Jung, DY, and Kwon, OY. Effect of toe-spread-out exercise on hallux valgus angle and crosssectional area of abductor hallucis muscle in subjects with hallux valgus. Journal of Physical Therapy Science 27(4): 1019–1022, 2015.

19. Fraser, JJ, Koldenhoven, RM, Saliba, SA, and Hertel, J. Reliability of ankle-foot morphology, mobility, strength, and motor performance measure. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 12(7): 1134-1149, 2017.

20. Rixe, JA, Gallo, RA, and Silvis, M. The barefoot debate: Can minimalist shoes reduce running-related injuries? Current Sports Medicine Reports 11(3): 160-165, 2012.

21. Malisoux, L, and Theisen, D. Can the “appropriate” footwear prevent injury in leisure-time running? Evidence versus beliefs. Journal of Athletic Training 55(12): 1215-1223, 2020.

Available to:
Members only
#NSCAStrong #NSCAStrong

has been added to your shopping cart!

Continue Shopping Checkout Now