We don’t think about our feet very often. They’re just kind of these invisible helpers that convey us around all day, down streets, through hallways, around our homes (clocking approximately 8,000-10,000 steps a day). But when you think about how much weight, stress, and pressure our feet sustain on a daily basis, perhaps they deserve more credit and more pampering.
When you also consider the complexity of the foot – which functions with the help of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligatures, and plenty of tendons all working synergistically – it’s nothing short of a miracle that they do what they do.
Given all those different nerve endings in such a small space, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that most people experience foot pain in their lives. Whether the result of jogging or strenuous exercise, poorly fitting or unsupportive shoes, or some kind of illness like diabetes, gout, or arthritis, chronic foot pain can severely reduce a person’s quality of life and render them immobile.
Accordingly, the following is a list of solutions to help with foot pain:
Better fitting shoes
Many people complain that their feet are too wide for their shoes and the result can be an uncomfortable compression that not only causes foot pain but can affect your legs, too. Wide width shoes have become popular in recent years as more and more people acknowledge that many shoes are too narrow for their feet.
Better fitting shoes can also apply to shoddy soles that don’t properly cushion the bottom of your foot, as well as dumping the uncomfortable heels and wearing professional-looking sneakers. You can also try wearing insoles.
Basically, if your shoes are the cause of your foot pain, it’s time to get new shoes – ones that perfectly fit and support your feet.
Elevate and massage
A lot of chronic foot pain can be at least temporarily assuaged by improving the blood circulation of your feet and treating inflammation. To do this, doctors and podiatrists recommend spending time with your feet elevated to 45 degrees. Additionally, you should be rolling them around on your ankles and exercising your toes to keep oxygenated blood pumping through the whole foot.
If you can afford it, or know someone who will massage your feet, or if you can just reach your own feet, massage helps to relieve inflammation in sore muscles. Additionally, massage has been scientifically shown to trigger molecular events and increase proteins and mitochondria that helps body parts and muscles more quickly recover from stress or strain.
Have you ever gotten a foot massage? They feel incredible and there’s a reason for that. Your feet do a lot of work and usually get treated like slave mules.
Take a hot, Epsom salt bath
Epsom salt isn’t really salt, nor is it magical crystals or special minerals from the Dead Sea, as some believe. However, in water, it does break down into magnesium and sulfate. The combination of hot water, which is well known to relax muscles, and Epsom salt has been shown to be a consistent home treatment for a wide variety of ailments, including ingrown toenails, fibromyalgia, bruises, sprains, and sore, swollen feet.
There are plenty of additional oils, perfumes, and other kinds of bath salts that might enhance the experience or help with another source of pain or discomfort.
The key is to start listening to your feet. This doesn’t mean picking your foot up and placing it next to your ear (though that could be a good stretch), it means not ignoring the constant strain and stress put on your feet day after day. If you ignore them too long, you could wake up to find out that you have chronic pain or swollen feet that will require a doctor’s visit.
When you consider how much walking and weight-bearing your feet sustain every day, don’t you think they deserve a little bit of love and attention?