On your feet all day? Being on the go means our feet take a pounding pretty regularly. Yet, how often do you really stop to take care of tired, achy feet? We are more likely to ask a friend or family member for a back rub than to reach down to pamper our toes. Having sore and achy feet can be more than a nuisance, getting in the way of proper foot function and throwing off your natural form when walking, running and even standing around.
This is why you need to invest at least a little time in giving your feet some TLC. Below are some of the best, most soothing methods for showing them a little love.
Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt – Epsom salt contains magnesium and sulfate. It helps to reduce soreness, aches and pains, decrease inflammation, improve circulation, soften and deodorize the feet. To pamper your sore feet, get a basin of warm water and add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt in it, then soak your feet inside it and relax for the next 20 minutes. Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate can be absorbed through the skin, helping you soothe muscle aches and reduce swelling. If you don’t have a lot of free time, you can start with 10-15 minutes until it becomes a relaxing “feel good” habit that you just don’t want to miss. Plus, magnesium boosts relaxation, making it a perfect nighttime ritual.
Foot massage – A good foot massage will make everything better. Okay, maybe not everything, but it will help reduce stress, improve blood circulation and remove blood stagnation from wearing ill-fitting shoes. It will also remove knots and tension in your toes, the balls of your feet, the arches and ankles. If you apply massage oil, it can soothe the muscles, reduce inflammation that causes pain, stimulate the movement of blood and lymph fluid and make your feet more flexible.During a foot massage, look for tender spots and press them while you flex and stretch the feet. The spots are like sore nodules. Also, you don’t need to go for expensive foot massages. You can simply do it at home or get someone else to help you out. Rub massage oil on the top of your foot gently using your thumbs and carefully move to your heel. Apply a little pressure as you do so to ease tension from the muscles. Repeat on the other foot.
Stretch your feet – Stretching your feet for a few minutes helps to strengthen the muscles and bones throughout these amazing anatomical structures. You can do this in two ways.
- Remove your shoes and move your feet around to stretch them. Flex your feet and point your toes in various directions, making an effort to really extend them deeply. To stretch the heel and ankle, lean against a wall with one foot back and push down through the calf and ankle. You can also perform a similar stretch by supporting the forefoot on a step or stair, and allowing the heel to stretch back toward the ground.
- You can also roll your foot on a tennis ball. It is a great way to stretch your feet muscles and bones. Place the tennis ball on the floor and roll the arches of your feet on it to reduce tension. Press your foot down as hard as you can without causing pain to get the most out of it. It will feel good and can actually be performed while you watch TV at home, relax in the yard, or even at work (though you should avoid doing this in a shared or public area).
Use footwear that fits correctly – If you are on your feet all day, wearing comfortable shoes is critical. Choose shoes that will support the arches of your feet. Ensure that the shoe does not pinch or hurt at any part of the feet, and allows enough room in the toe box. If you have high arches, use shoes with laces, straps or buckles. Shoes that provide support for your arch can keep your feet in good shape. Flat footed? Use custom inserts for your shoes. Avoid wearing high heels, which cause pain, corns, bunions and other foot problems. If you just can’t drop high heels altogether, drop the height. Give the 4-inch heels a break once in a while in favor of a 2-inch heel.
At Houston Foot and Ankle Care, we see many patients daily who are experiencing pain and discomfort, just because they’ve failed to observe the above foot TLC tips. Weak foot muscles, cracked skin, poor flexibility, and restrictive footwear have put them on the path to pain and ore serious issues like bunions, nerve damage and more. If you’re dealing with foot or ankle pain, call us at (713) 541-3199 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Maislos, a leading Houston podiatrist. In addition to fixing these issues, we can advise you on the most effective at-home exercises and foot care regimen to suit your needs. We also welcome seniors and individuals with diabetes, two groups whose foot health is of extreme importance in managing the effects of age and disease. We accept most major forms of insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.