Fantastic Feet Exercise to Stretch the Toes & Find The Knuckles

by | Feb 10, 2011 | Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Videos | 5 comments

Are you ready to go on a search to find the knuckles of your feet?

Our hands and feet are pretty similar (with the exception of the thumb!) You know how when you make a fist with your hand, how all of your knuckles pop up?  Well, we’re going to play with making that same thing happen with your feet today!

Finding your knuckles helps stretch the top of the foot and the toes, and starts to strengthen the arches reinforcing the direction the toes should be bending when you push off your foot to walk and run.  If you have stiff ankles and toes, flat feet, or hammer toes, this easy foot fitness exercise will be especially helpful for your foot care program.

Fantastic Feet Exercise:  Find the Knuckles

  • Start seated in a comfortable position and take your shoes and socks off so you can play with your toes and find your knuckles!
  • Place your fingers under the ball of one foot and lift up while you use your thumbs to gently lengthen the toes away from the rest of your foot and bend them down towards the floor.
  • As your toes flipper downward, use your hands to help lift the knuckles up until you can see each and every knuckle.  Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat the exercise 3-5 times then do it with the other foot.

A Little Hint To Improve Your Technique:

  • If you curl the toes down from the tips, you won’t find your knuckles.  Think about bending the entire toe down from the knuckle joint. It’s easy to see how this works on your hand.  The same principle applies when you’re bending your toes.
  • When you start practicing your Find The Knuckles exercise, there may be some knuckles that pop up easily, and others that don’t.  No need to panic!  Use your hands as much as you necessary to help stretch the foot and find the knuckles.

With a little practice, you’ll be finding all of your knuckles soon.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this Fantastic Feet exercise today.  Visit the Centerworks store for more great Foot Fitness information and helpful foot care products.

See you again soon for another Fantastic Foot Tip!  Have an Awesome Day!

Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.


  1. Pat Cole

    Hi Aliesa,

    Regarding the “find the knuckles” exercise, should it be painful? I followed your video and did it for 2 15-second reps and it was tolerable, but uncomfortable. I know it has improved the circulation because my foot feels good and somewhat tingly, a good sensation! I have early development of hammer toes, bilaterally. Thank you!

    Pat Cole

    • Aliesa George

      Hi Pat,

      Thanks for your question about the “find the knuckles” foot fitness exercise. In my opinion – NO exercise should be painful! Your goal should be to work at your own pace and listen to your body.

      On this exercise, you want to use your hands to help guide and bend your toes to help activate the muscles on the sole of the foot, and stretch the top of the foot. But be sure you’re not forcing the movement. The more the arch of your foot works, and the top of your foot stretches the easier it will be to find your knuckles. As your feet develop hammer toes, the muscles along the top of the become tight, and that restriction can be a part of what is pulling on your toes to create the “hammer” effect. So getting that “find the knuckles” stretch, and learning how to keep your toes bending like a flipper from where they attach to your foot is very important to help keep your toes and feet working properly and reduce or eliminate the hammer toe issues.

      It’s possible that as you are beginning with this exercise that you can’t see your knuckles at all! It may take weeks, months, or even years to see all of your knuckles. Don’t worry, just continue gently giving your feet a stretch and with time and practice as things begin moving more efficiently – your knuckles will continue to show up – and this will let you know that you’re making progress.

      It sounds like you’re off to a good start! As needed do fewer repetitions, or hold for a shorter period of time if needed to ease your feet into learning how to bend and stretch! Keep me posted with any additional questions, and I’d love to hear about your progress!


  2. Chris

    I still can’t find my knuckles. I have a really hard time bending my toes, and can’t bend at where the knuckles should be at all. I have flat feet.

    • Aliesa George

      Keep working at it Chris. Just like stretching your hamstrings, or any other muscle in your body, it might take some time… And all the other terrific toe exercises in the Fantastic Feet book will help too! The easier it gets to “find your knuckles,” the more movement you will have with your toes, and the easier it will be to activate and “lift” your arches. It’s never too late to improve the strength and flexibility of your feet. Just takes a little effort and the right exercises! The exercises in the Fantastic Feet book are a great place to start, and all the foot fitness training resources in the Runfit Kit can take your foot care program to the next level. Keep me posted on your progress!

  3. Cglass

    I thought everyone could do this naturally, I pick things up using my feet as fingers all the time.



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