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You may be able to soothe foot pain with at-home treatment, including certain exercises and ice. But some symptoms may indicate a more serious condition that requires medical treatment.
Your feet do a lot of work. Whether walking around, standing for long stretches of time, or exercising, your feet are generally putting in long hours. There are many ways to soothe sore, tired feet at home. Generally, a combination of efforts will help rejuvenate your feet.
These ten methods may relieve your sore feet over time. Trying more than one of these recommendations may help ease your foot pain faster than just doing one at a time.
A warm foot bath may be just the ticket to alleviating foot pain. Adding Epsom salts to a foot bath can relieve your sore muscles and can even reduce swelling in your feet. You may be tempted to try other products in your foot soak like baking soda, but this ingredient is more likely to target skin-related conditions than soreness or swelling.
You can make an Epsom foot bath by adding one cup of Epsom salts to a tub of warm water. Soak your feet in this mixture for around twenty minutes for relief.
You can also try some stretching exercises to help your sore feet. You can target one area of your foot like your toes or heel, or you can engage in several stretches to target your entire foot. These exercises can prevent cramping and promote flexibility:
- Repeat this toe exercise ten times: Flex your toes, point them, and then curl them for a handful of seconds.
- Warm up your feet by sitting down and extending your legs. Move your toes around. Point your toes toward your body and away from it. Move your ankles in a circle in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
- Continue to stretch your feet by shifting your weight from your heels to your toes by taking turns lifting the front and back of your feet off the ground while in a standing position.
Keeping your feet flexible and strong are keys to avoiding foot pain. Walking regularly for exercise is actually the best way to keep your feet limber and healthy. Avoid engaging in a lifestyle that is too sedentary. A pedometer may be a way to make sure you’re walking enough and keeping your feet active.
You can also try resistance exercises to strengthen your feet and prevent future soreness. You can use resistance bands or weights to build strength in your feet. Even your own body weight can serve you in resistance training.
Here are a few strengthening exercises for your feet:
- Try an Achilles stretch with the help of a wall.
- Pick up marbles with your toes.
- Pull a towel from the floor toward you with your feet while seated to stretch and strengthen your arches.
- Attach a resistance band to the foot of a piece of furniture and sit directly across from it in a chair. Pull your foot through the band so it cradles the top of your foot under your toes. Then, pull your foot toward you and hold it in place for a few seconds. Repeat several times. This will stretch your heel.
You can massage your own feet to help soreness and improve circulation. Sit down in a comfortable chair and rub and knead the bottoms of your feet. Pull apart and bend your toes to massage them. Using lotion or oil can help lubricate your skin, making it easier to massage the foot.
Products like foot rollers (which are textured cylinders), may also help massage the foot if you roll it on the floor with your feet.
Arch supports, or orthotics, can keep your feet stable while standing or walking, eliminating pain. You can purchase these at the store or have them custom made for you by a doctor. Both have shown to be effective in eliminating rear foot pain and improving overall foot functioning.
Your shoes could be the culprit for your foot pain. Wearing shoes beyond their life span, the wrong style of shoe, or an incorrect shoe size can impact the health of your feet.
Keep in mind:
- Your sneakers may wear out after 400 or 500 miles and no longer provide the support you need.
- High heels and shoes without proper arches or support (like flip-flops) can damage your feet.
- Your feet can change in size during your lifetime (even when you’re an adult) because they can spread out over time.
Consider purchasing new, well-fitting shoes to help your aching feet. Shoes that provide proper arches can give your feet new life. Also, wear shoes that work for whatever activity you’re engaging in. For example, wear sneakers when exercising.
Icing your feet can reduce inflammation that causes soreness. Apply ice to sore feet by filling a plastic bag with ice or rolling your feet on a frozen water bottle. Try to ice the affected area for 5 to 15 minutes a few times a day to help reduce inflammation.
There are several over-the-counter medications you can try for pain and inflammation. Medications like acetaminophen can target pain, while nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, can target pain as well as inflammation.
You may need to take these types of medications for a few weeks to completely relieve long-lasting foot inflammation. It may be helpful to talk to a doctor to find out how long you can take one of these medications and avoid the side effects.
You may find that applying a medication topically to your foot helps with foot pain. There are some products available over the counter that offer cooling and pain-relieving sensations. Some of these medications include ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus, and turpentine. Others contain salicylates or substance P to reduce pain.
You may be able to address foot pain while you’re sleeping. Night splints keep your feet in a locked position overnight so you don’t sleep with your feet pointing, which can cause foot pain.
Before you try home remedies for sore feet, consider if you have a more serious condition that should be seen by a doctor. You may have injured your foot or developed a condition that can only be treated by your doctor.
Contact your doctor if you:
- have flu-like symptoms in combination with foot pain
- have swollen or severe pain in the feet
- feel tingling or numbness on the bottom of your feet
- have an open wound in the foot that might be infected
- cannot walk on your foot
- suspect that you have a broken bone in your foot
- have swelling in your feet for more than a few days
- have foot pain that doesn’t go away after a few weeks of trying home remedies
You should contact your doctor right away if you have diabetes and experience any abnormalities with your feet, as this could be the sign of a serious condition.
There are many methods you can try to relieve sore feet at home. Try a few of these in combination to soothe your sore feet. Keep in mind that it may take some time for your sore feet to feel better.
Contact your doctor if you suspect a more serious foot condition, or if you have severe foot pain. If you have diabetes and experience foot pain, call your doctor immediately.