Natural Ways to Help Relieve Foot Pain

According to a report by The New York Times, approximately 75% of US citizens have experienced foot pain at one time or another.* So if you’re suffering from this, know that you’re certainly not alone. There are many causes of foot pain, from plantar fasciitis to bunions to hammertoes and more. Always see a doctor if experiencing severe foot pain. Just looking for mild to moderate foot pain relief? There are options. Here are some natural foot pain remedies when trying to avoid medication.

  • Strengthen and relax your feet with exercises. Stronger foot muscles can help prevent pain, and certain motions can help manage the pain associated with conditions like plantar fasciitis. Try these exercises for the feet:
    • Freeze a bottle of water and roll the foot back and forth over the bottle, pressing gently. Do this for 10 minutes or so, multiple times per day.
    • Stand on the edge of one stair and lower the heel to stretch the calf. Repeat for both feet, making sure to hold on to a railing for balance.
    • Using the toes, pick up a towel or a few marbles or other small objects off the floor.
  • Use the right insole in your shoes. Most shoes come with just a thin sock liner on the sole of the shoe, which doesn’t provide any support and offers very little, if any, cushioning. An orthotic shoe insole adds arch support and extra cushioning and can often mean the difference between pain and no pain in daily life. If you’ve never worn an insole and aren’t sure what level of support and cushioning you need, it’s best to find a trusted retailer to get help choosing what’s best for you.
  • Wear the right kind of shoes. No matter how committed you may be to fashion, if you’re regularly wearing high heels, ballet flats, platforms, flip flops or any shoe with a pointed toe, you’re putting your feet at risk for pain. Heels, platforms and pointy-toed shoes force the feet into unnatural positions and limit the way your feet can move as you walk. Flimsy flats and flip flops offer no support to your feet at all. If you’re looking for easy foot pain relief, try wearing wide-toed shoes and sneakers as much as possible.
  • Get shoes that are properly sized. You might be surprised to learn that one of the most common foot pain causes is actually wearing wrong-sized shoes. Remember when you got your feet measured at the shoe store when you were a child? Now that you’re grown, it’s important to make sure you’re actually buying shoes that are the right size for your feet. Have a professional measure your feet to be sure you’re not forcing them into shoes that are too small.
  • Use a night sock. One effective heel pain treatment is to sleep in a night sock. This helps keep your foot in a neutral position at night and provides a gentle stretch to the calf muscle as well as the soft tissues of the foot and ankle to alleviate pain due to plantar fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis.
  • Rest your feet. This advice may seem impossible, but it’s extremely important to take the stress off your feet when you’ve suffered an injury. Pushing through the pain and continuing your normal routine can make things even worse. When you have a sore heel or foot, as much as you can, reduce your activity, and at the very least restrict high-impact exercise such as running. While resting, elevate your feet with some pillows under your legs.

Following these natural steps can help alleviate many foot pain problems. Remember, however, that if you’re suffering from severe pain, or if the pain persists, you should see a podiatrist to determine if medical intervention is necessary for relief. Foot pain can be a sign of a serious condition and should not be ignored.

* “Foot Pain In-Depth Report.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/foot-pain/print.html

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