We often completely forget to care for our feet and sadly, they end up being neglected. We only remember to care for them when they hurt or bug us, or when summer finally arrives and out come the sandals. However, doctors recommend that we examine our feet daily in order to find any cuts and abrasions, canker sores, redness, cracking or other problems that might require special attention.
When your feet hurt…
Foot pain has many causes, so let’s explore some of them here:
- Excess body weight
- Flat feet
- Deformities, such as bunions and hammer toes
- Warts and corns
- Bone spurs
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ingrown toenails, etc.
Everyday foot care
- Wash them every day with mild soap and warm water (less than 100°F).
- Wear comfortable socks.
- Cut your toenails when necessary. If you can’t do it yourself, go and see a podiatrist. Cut your nails straight across, and not too short.
- Do foot exercises regularly.
- Lose weight, if you’re overweight.
- If you’re a diabetic, take very good care of your feet and go and see your physician if you find any cuts, discoloration, canker sores or have swelling below the ankles.
- Pay special attention to cuts and try to prevent them from getting infected.
- Sleep with your feet raised slightly above the knees, which will activate venous return.
How to relieve foot pain at home
- A footbath: Fill a container with warm water and add sea salt to it. Gently massage your feet, activating the circulation in your feet. Dry each foot, paying particular attention to the areas between the toes. Now apply moisturizing cream (leaving the skin between your toes moisturizer-free), talcum powder or other special powder.
- Footbath with ginger: Grate some ginger into approximately 3 liters of boiling water. When it has cooled down to a comfortable temperature, put your feet in the water and massage them to stimulate the circulation.
- Horse chestnut is very good for improving circulation and reducing inflammation. Apply it as a compress or look for creams which contain it. A good alternative is rosemary essential oil, which is also anti-inflammatory.
- Add a few drops of arnica tincture to warm water and bathe your feet in it for a few minutes, but no longer than 5 minutes because arnica can have a drying effect.
- A massage with castor oil will help eliminate irritation and dryness.
- If you add a few drops of mint essential oil to the warm water, it will relieve any stinging and refresh hot feet.
Exercises to improve foot health
- Put a tennis ball on the floor and rest the sole of your bare foot on it. Roll the ball around, massaging the arch of your foot.
- Lie or sit on the floor, with your legs stretched out in front of you and your toes pointing towards the ceiling. Point your toes and then return to the starting position.
- In the same position on the floor or on a bed, rotate at the ankles, drawing large circles in the air.
- Making sure you are barefoot, sit on a chair. Curl your toes, as if you are trying to grab something. You may also actually grab a towel or a ball with your feet during this exercise.