Why Do the Tops of My Feet Hurt When Swimming the Freestyle?

Why Do the Tops of My Feet Hurt When Swimming the Freestyle?

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Pushing off the wall of the swimming pool can cause an ankle sprain.

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images

When it comes to swimming, your feet work just as hard as your arms when propelling you forward against the water. Strong feet and flexible ankles are vital for competitive swimming and foot injuries are common during freestyle swimming. The range of motion of the feet in freestyle swimming requires flexed ankles and pointed toes to effectively flutter kick. This may lead to injuries such as cramping, which causes muscular pain in the feet.

Cramps Are No Fun

Pain localized at the top of your feet while swimming is often due to cramping. According to, the pain often occurs after a freestyle kick or turning direction. If the pain is a short and sharp muscle spasm, you're most likely experiencing a muscle cramp. One main cause of cramping is overworking your muscles from training too frequently with weights. Cramping can also occur from dehydration and a lack of electrolytes in the muscles. To prevent cramps, drink plenty or water and sport drinks with electrolytes to stay hydrated. If you exercise with weights, rest each muscle group for two or three days after training sessions.

Aches and Pain

Inflammation from repetitive ankle and foot movement while performing the flutter kick, for instance, is a common cause for pain. According to Cleveland Clinic, tendonitis is the most common injury for swimmers, and poor swimming technique -- such as swimming with an “over-kick” -- adds stress to your feet. This leads to inflammation in the ankles and feet, which may cause pain. Pointing your toes excessively may also lead to both cramping and tendonitis. Keep your toes relaxed to avoid flexing your toes when swimming.

Avoiding the Pain

A warm-up session before swimming can help you avoid cramping and pain at the tops of your feet. Warming up also improves your muscle and joint flexibility. A five-minute jog will suffice, or swim and concentrate on relaxing your joints while you move in the water. After a warm-up, begin to stretch your ankles and toes by gently extending them. Sit on a bench and extend one leg forward, keeping your knee straight. Flex your ankles and point your toes forward until you feel the stretch. Rotate your ankle in a variety of motions, by attempting to trace the alphabet with your ankle movement. Repeat this five times before hopping into the swimming pool.

Getting the Movement Right

Proper swimming technique can help you avoid foot pain and improve your overall performance. When performing freestyle kicks, keep your ankles relaxed and floppy. Point your toes out gently to avoid cramping, according to Swim Smooth. You should kick from your hips rather than your knees to improve your overall lower leg range of motion. Allow your knees to bend while you kick and make sure your ankles are in line with your hips.


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  6. Justice

    I had a similar situation. I soared for a long time over how to get out of the water dry. A friend said one decision, only something I rushed so abruptly to change everything that was acquired by back-breaking labor. Decided to be patient for now, to take a closer look? how it turns. What can I say? water wears away the stone. That's really, really so. I advise the author not to be sad. How is it in the song? "whole life ahead".

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