Your feet are one of the most important parts of your body because they support the entire weight of you. 80% of the population suffers from some kind of foot ailment, whether that be as severe as chronic arch pain or as small as the occasional blister. The foot is made up of 26 bones, 56 ligaments and 38 muscles, so it’s no wonder why so many things go wrong down there. Foot pain is the 3rd most common medical complaint.
Without your feet, you’d be hard pressed to get around. The average person, by the age of 50, has walked over 70,000 miles! It is vital to your overall mental and physical health to maintain a positive relationship with your feet and to do this, you’ll need to take a little extra time to care for these very special parts. If you suffer from chronic or occasional foot pain here’s a guide to soothing the pain and preventing future problems.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Bath tub
- Large plastic bucket
- Epsom salts
- Olive oil (optional)
- Second skin
- Comfortable shoes
- Insoles/arch supports
- Pain reliever
- Baby powder
Soak your feet. Soaking your feet is a great way to relax all the muscles and ligaments in them and using Epsom salts increases the health benefits. Epsom salt is natures wonder drug, removing the bodies toxins, reducing swelling and even sedating the nervous system. Fill a large bowl or your bath tub with warm water. Add Epsom salts and olive oil and mix the ingredients with your foot until the salt is dissolved. Soak your feet for 15 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry.
Massage your feet. There are a million nerves and pressure points in your feet that when gently massaged will send signals to your brain that help you to relax. Using lotion, gently rub your arches and the pads of your feet in a circular motion and stretch your toes by wedging your finger between them.
Massage your legs. Rubbing your calves and thighs will also help to increase blood circulation. All the parts of the body are linked together in an intricate web, so by rubbing these stems that link directly to your feet, you’ll ultimately stimulate your feet as well.
Elevate Your Feet. Sore feet can be caused by many reasons and it isn’t necessarily because of irregular use or abuse. In order to soothe your feet after a long day of standing or walking, elevate them so that they are above your heart. When you’re on your feet all day, they will swell and bloat, so by elevating them you’ll increase blood circulation and reduce swelling. Sit on the couch with your feet on pillows that are stacked on your coffee table or lay in bed and elevate your feet there instead.
Wear proper footwear. If you suffer from chronic foot pain, it may because you are wearing improper footwear. Make sure that your shoes aren’t too tight or too loose. Feet will swell as the day progresses, so if your shoes feel tight in the morning, they’ll be way to tight in the afternoon. If your shoes are too tight, they will cause your feet to slide, banging into the sides and toe cap of your shoes and can cause blisters and sores from the constant rubbing.
Purchase insoles. Nowadays, there are many options when it comes to insoles, arch supports and cushions. You can buy a variety of foot supports in the chemist, but for chronic foot pain, visit a podiatrist and have your arch supports specially made. For women who enjoy wearing heels, companies have begun to make insoles that are specially designed for women’s fashion footwear, including sandals and stilettos.
Prevent sore feet. If you know that you’re susceptible to sore feet, prepare for days when you’ll be on your feet a lot, like a long work day or vacations where you’ll be doing excessive walking, by wearing your most comfortable footwear. Take a small dose of a mild pain reliever in the morning before you head out.
Prepare for hot summer days. In the summer, our feet are up against the elements when it comes to foot discomfort. Extreme temperatures and humidity can cause even the toughest feet to get irritated. When wearing open-air shoes like sandals and flip flops, powder your feet with a talcum or baby powder or swipe deodorant across your soles before slipping on your shoes. This will create a barrier between the heat and sweat and will help to prevent irritation, excessive rubbing and blisters.
Treat sores. If you do get blisters and cuts, treat them immediately with proper first aide. Open wounds need to be disinfected and blisters should be covered with second skin and/or bandages. Foot sores may start out minor, but if ignored can turn into serious infections.
Tips and warnings
- When walking long distances, wear supportive shoes, like athletic shoes or casual flats.
- When buying new shoes, purchase them late in the day, when your feet are at their largest.
- If you wear heels to work, bring a pair of comfortable shoes to change into when you are commuting, walking to a lunch meeting or any other time when you can take a break.