Cardio Workouts with an Injured Foot

Sometimes injuries happen that can sideline us from our workouts. This is unfortunate as injuries can set us back on progress and outright derail us from a good rhythm. Feet injuries are really common among active people, and those who are trying to get into better shape. This is an article about alternative exercises that you can do with an injured food.

Injured Foot

Exercises to perform with an injured foot

The feet are a common location of injury in both active and deconditioned people. Their constant participation in movement and exercise, along with the use of flip-flops and sandals during summer months make them a perpetual target for strains, bruises, lacerations, fractures, turf toes, and all kinds of injuries.

It should go without saying that if your injury is severe enough to seek medical attention, then pay attention to the advice of your doctor. Otherwise, don’t let an injury derail you completely from your fitness goals. Here is a look at some exercises that you might be able to perform with an injured foot.


Injured Foot

Swimming is the most obvious choice. Swimming is great cardiovascular exercise and works to strengthen and tone your entire body. Swimming is non-impact, non-weight bearing and is suitable for all age groups and physical abilities, making it the perfect workout for someone with a foot injury. The downside to swimming is that not everyone has access to a pool and outdoor pools are frequently full in summer months. WebMD has a good article on swimming in their health and fitness section: Fitness Basics – Swimming Is for Everyone.


Injured Foot

An elliptical is another choice for doing a cardio workout with an injured foot. Unlike swimming, with the elliptical you must be able to bear weight on your feet; however, there is no impact from running or jumping and you can always shift more of the work to your arms.

Rowing Machines

Rowers get your heart pumping and lungs working, providing a serious aerobic workout. You can minimize the use of the legs and focus more on the upper body.

Rowing Machine

2-Handed Kettlebell Swings

Injured Foot

2-Handed Kettlebell swings are another way to get a cardio workout while you have an injured foot. Your feet are firmly planted during this exercise so there would be no impact from running or jumping. Although, this exercise does require weight-bearing, you will also be strengthening and toning your hamstrings, glutes, core and back. Try using the Tabata method or other High Intensity Interval Training technique.

Work Other Areas

If any of these alternatives are not suitable for your particular injury then you may want to consider doing other types of workouts as opposed to doing nothing at all. You could concentrate on upper body and abdominal resistance training and give the cardio a break while you heal.

What are some activities that have helped you to exercise with an injured foot?

When your foot heals, you should take a look at my favorite kettlebell cardio workout DVD.

5 thoughts on “Cardio Workouts with an Injured Foot”

  1. Just curious – A few years back I had a mild foot injury and I used road cycling/spinning as an alternative cardio excercise (to running/jogging). I didn’t see it on your list … not that I plan on injuring my foot again, but is that a bad idea?

    1. Jenny, I think that for some foot injuries cycling would be an acceptable cardio alternative. The thing with peddling that I would be concerned with is that the weight is not evenly distributed throughout your foot and there is possibility for the foot to slip of the peddle and bang into something.

      As with all injuries, be smart, work around it, don’t let it become an excuse to do nothing.

      It sounds like you were able to work around the injury and not let it sideline you completely!

  2. This is helpful! I had hip surgery 6 wks ago (torn labrum, they inserted anchors and repaired) so starting next wk I should be cleared for some weight bearing. I’m a yogi and runner used to cycle, guessing I’ll now be more cycler than runner coming back. But any advice you can give on finding my way back to mobility? I loved koundinyasana, and all those fun twisty arm balances, so worried I won’t get it back 🙁

    As I look for a PT I am wondering to, do I look for a more specialized one that understands the mobility I need to get back to?

    1. Any PT worth a darn will understand mobility. One thing to keep in mind though, is that the more specialized a professional is, the more expensive they’ll be!

      My advice would be to work on changing your mindset around what you used to be able to do. I tell my clients that this process isn’t about getting back to where you used to be. It’s about taking what you currently have and going forward with it.

      We all age, and we’ll have injuries at some point that place challenges on us in comparison to what we used to be able to do. Focus on what you have now, and making the best of it going forward. It might improve with time, it might not. All we really have though is today.

      Good luck on your recovery!

      1. Thank you that adjustment in perspective, I think I just sighed a little relief, “begin where you are” I believe is from heart of yoga 🙂 how can I forget!

        Yay post-40!! Lol!!!

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