Prevent Elliptical Trainer-Induced Plantar Faciitis

Cold weather and short days typically take cardio from the pavement into the gym.  One of the most popular pieces of equipment in the gym is the elliptical machine. 

Elliptical trainer machines can provide a great workout for all fitness levels, but improper use can increase the risk of plantar fasciitis – especially in women.  Mitigate your risk by following these guidelines:

  1. Running Shoes – Consider your activity level, foot type and arch height when choosing the perfect shoe.  Good, supportive shoes with plenty of shock-absorption can help prevent injury.
  2. Warm-Up & Stretch – Stretching helps loosen muscles, ligaments, and tendons, making movement easier and decreasing the risk of injury.  Make sure to warm-up for a few minutes before you stretch.  Stretching cold muscles can cause injury!  
  3. Proper Form – Place your feet flat on the elliptical trainer pedals to evenly distribute your weight.  Pushing off with your toes on each stride can cause injury or pain to the tissue on the bottom of your foot i.e. the plantar fascia.

“Feel the burn” at the gym, but don’t ignore aches and pains.  Visit WakeMed Rehabilitation for more information on managing and treating exercise-related injuries.  Learn more about plantar faciitis in a previous blog from Chris Billiar, a WakeMed physical therapist.

Hope Choplin is a fitness specialist with WakeMed Healthworks and is a frequent contributor to WakeMed Voices.


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  • linda kahleck says:

    When will you hold another runners’ clinic at Wake Med?

  • Lisa says:

    After about 20 minutes on a eliptical machine my toes sometimes get tingly but not when I walk or jog on a treadmill?

  • Heather Monackey says:

    Hi, Linda-

    The short answer is we don’t know. We hope to have another clinic scheduled in the fall of this year. I have forwarded your question to Chris Billiar in WakeMed Rehab, so he can add you to the list of people to notify when a clinic is scheduled.


  • Jess Holmes says:

    I’ve been reading a lot of elliptical reviews and shopping online for the right machine. I didn’t know about plantar fasciitis before reading this, thanks for sharing the tips!


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