Relieving Tired, Aching Feet

Optimizing your foot health is essential for all types of lifestyles. Whether you are an athlete who runs, someone who walks or stands a lot, or anyone who moves, you may end your day with aching and tired feet. Our feet are the foundation of our body, providing balance and keeping us moving. Sometimes there’s no escaping the long hours your feet put in to keep you active. These seven tips will help you relieve tired, aching feet without putting you on the sidelines of your busy life.

7 Tips to Relieve Your Feet:
There are many methods to relieve sore feet, most of which are easy to do at home. Many of these methods are effective by themselves, but trying a combination can help reduce aches and pains faster.
1.) Soak Your Feet -- In the same way, a warm bath can relax your whole body, a foot bath with Epsom salts can relieve sore muscles, reduce swelling, and alleviate foot pain. Adjust the temperature of your foot bath, so it is warm but not too hot. Then, add one-half to one cup of Epsom salts to a container of warm water. Submerge your feet and let them soak for about twenty minutes. Following the bath, apply moisturizer to your feet to prevent dry skin. The warmth of the water and toxin-removing properties of Epsom salts make this a great, at-home option for pain relief. In addition to relieving aches, Epsom salts can treat fungal infections, exfoliate feet, and even remove splinters.


2.) Practice Strengthening Exercises -- Regular physical activity such as walking and light jogging keeps your feet flexible and healthy. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to pain because the muscles in the legs and feet become weaker with inactivity. The muscular tension, stiffness, and aches resulting from inactivity can pull you into a challenging cycle to break. Lack of recommended movement leads to foot pain, likely leading to further inactivity. In addition to meeting the recommendation for daily steps, there are some specific exercises you can do to strengthen your feet and fight against pain. Resistance exercises are an excellent way to strengthen your feet and get ahead of future aches. Whether using your body weight or resistance bands, the following exercises will strengthen muscles and alleviate pain.


- Pick Up Small Objects With Your Toes: To increase strength and flexibility in your feet, try picking up small objects like marbles with your toes and dropping them into a cup. To strengthen your toes differently, stand on a towel or blanket and scrunch the material with your toes. Both exercises should be repeated five to ten times and performed daily.


- Stretch Your Arches: Arch pain is a common indicator of overuse. To stretch your arches, sit on the ground and use a tennis ball or something else that is small and round to roll the object underneath your feet. Use a frozen water bottle for extra relief, and bear weight on the foot for a deeper effect.


- Stretch Your Heel: To stretch your heel, use a resistance band attached to a piece of furniture. Sit across from it and pull your foot through the band, positioning it under your toes. Pull the foot forward and hold it in place for several seconds.


- Raise and Lower Exercise: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly rise onto the balls of your feet and hold. Then lower your feet until they are flat on the floor, and curl your toes. Hold for ten seconds and repeat the exercise five to ten times.


3.) Massage Feet: Whether you treat your feet with a professional massage or do it yourself, improving circulation and kneading the muscles will alleviate tired and aching feet. You can massage your own feet by sitting in a chair and rubbing the bottom of your feet. Pull apart and bend your toes as you massage the feet. Foot rollers are tools when performing a foot massage at home. Oil or lotion can moisturize and lubricate your skin, making it easier to massage.


4.) Purchase Arch Supports: If you’re frequently on your feet, it is a good idea to purchase arch supports. Orthotics keep your feet stable in your shoes while you move, eliminating pain and reducing the likelihood of injury. Both custom-made and store-bought orthotics are proven effective in eliminating foot pain and improving overall function. Wearing shoes that are the wrong size, don’t offer proper support, or have exceeded their lifespan can also be a factor in foot pain. Shoes with proper arches and added orthotic support can make a huge difference in foot health.


5.) Take Pain Medication: Over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen can target pain, while non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen target both pain and inflammation. These options offer relief with few side effects, but they may need to be taken for an extended period to combat chronic foot pain. Talk to your doctor before regularly taking any medication.


6.) Try Night Splints: Some people sleep with their feet pointed which causes pain and cramping. Night splints are an affordable way to lock your feet into one position overnight. The splint holds the foot with toes pointed up, which applies a constant gentle stretch to the plantar fascia. Effective in treating plantar fasciitis and general foot pain, night splints have the potential to offer relief in your sleep!


7.) RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are recommended for foot injuries and chronic pain. If you know your feet are overworked, take time to rest to avoid further pain. Apply ice to sore feet by filling a plastic bag with ice, using a bag of frozen veggies, or rolling your foot on a frozen water bottle to reduce inflammation. Ice your feet for ten to fifteen minutes each day. Wrapping sore feet with an elastic bandage or compression socks will reduce swelling, and elevating the feet above your heart will also reduce swelling.

Sources:
1 https://www.fitfeetflorida.com/blog/2020/3/18/3-exercises-to-keep-your-feet-amp-toes-in-great-shape#:~:text=Marble%20pick%20up%20and%20toe,Repeat%20ten%20times.
2 https://www.healthline.com/health/sore-feet-remedies#practice-strengthening-exercises


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