Home Remedies for Foot Pain


©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Given all the hard work our feet do, it's  no wonder four out of five adults experience foot problems.

Our poor, overworked feet. In a single day, they absorb about 1,000 pounds of force. And we mistreat them terribly -- standing on them for hours; walking on hard, unyielding surfaces; and cramming them into shoes that may be fashionable but are often far from comfortable. It's no wonder that four out of five adults eventually suffer from foot problems.

While certainly not as glamorous as the heart or the brain, the feet are amazing pieces of engineering, perfectly designed to give years of service -- if you treat them right. Each foot has 26 bones -- together the feet have almost one-quarter of the bones in the entire body. Thirty-three joints make the feet flexible, and 19 muscles control movement of foot parts. Tendons stretch tautly between muscles and bones, moving parts of the feet as the muscles contract. Two arches in the midfoot and forefoot, constructed like small bridges, support each foot and provide a springy, elastic structure to absorb shock. Numerous nerve endings in the feet make them sensitive (and ticklish). And the whole structure is held together by more than 100 ligaments.

Much of the foot pain we experience comes from overworked lower limbs. Movement of the foot is controlled by four groups of muscles in the leg. These muscles get a workout not only when our feet are visibly moving (such as when we walk or run) but even when we stand still, because they help keep us balanced and upright. And like nearly all muscles (the heart muscle is an exception), these muscles can become fatigued, decreasing their ability to properly support the feet and causing discomfort. Standing in place for long periods also tends to result in a pooling of blood in the lower extremities, which can cause uncomfortable swelling.

Here are some common problems that cause foot pain, most often due to an overuse injury.

Plantar fasciitis. A heel injury, affecting the area where the arch meets the heel. Plantar fasciitis is marked by heel pain with first steps in the morning, possible swelling, and heel pain while walking. It can usually be worked out with activity. What to do: Wear better shoes, or try orthopedic shoes prescribed by a podiatrist. Don't walk barefoot. Use ice unless you have circulatory problems or are diabetic. Try heel cups in your shoes for shock absorption. If the pain is persistent, see a podiatrist.

Heel spurs. A little outgrowth of the bone, a result of the bone's attempt to heal after repetitive stress and inflammation in the plantar fascia. What to do: If it causes foot pain, a simple surgery to shave the spur away may be required.

Neuroma. A pinched nerve, causing pain between the third and fourth toes. It can feel like a tooth that needs a root canal. One of the most common causes is a poor shoe fit. What to do: Buy a shoe with a wider toe area.

Tendonitis. An inflammatory process in the tendons, common in athletes. It can be a serious, painful, and persistent problem. What to do: Rest, ice, use anti-inflammatory drugs, and change exercise technique and shoe gear.

Stress fracture. A break in the bone usually resulting from repetitive pounding. Common to athletes. What to do: Limit weight bearing, and stick to low impact exercise. An orthotic device may be necessary to reduce pressure at the fracture site. Be sure to confirm and locate the stress fracture via X ray for proper treatment.

Ankle sprains. A ligament that is stretched or torn. It is the most common athletic injury. What to do: Ice, compression with an elastic bandage or splint to eliminate motion, and elevation to decrease swelling. Limit weight-bearing activities, and stay off feet for a few days. In cases of a severe sprain, your podiatrist may recommend a brace or surgery.

Here are a few more foot aches that aren't attributed to overuse. Instead, these are caused by simple everyday wear and tear, as well as poorly fit shoes.

Black toenail. A hematoma (bruising) under the nail. What to do: Wear proper-fitting shoes that aren't too tight or too loose, clip toenails short so they won't rub against the shoe, soak foot in salt water.

Bunions. A misaligned big toe joint in which the toe slants outward causing inflammation and swelling. The most common cause is tight-fitting shoes. What to do: Wear proper-fitting shoes and padding, and rest and soak the foot. Bunions must be treated by a podiatrist

Hammertoe. When a toe, usually the second toe, bends up to look like a claw. It frequently accompanies a bunion, and while the actual cause is a muscle imbalance, the underlying cause of that imbalance is usually an ill-fitting shoe that cramps the toes. What to do: Wear proper-fitting shoes and padding. Hammertoes must be treated by a podiatrist

Ingrown toenail. This happens when the side of your toenail cuts into your skin. The cause is usually a bad toenail clip job, but pressure from a bad shoe fit can cause it, too. A mild ingrown nail can be removed with careful clipping, but if it is deep or painful, consider a trip to the podiatrist.

Bad Shoes, Good Shoes

Bad shoes are what many foot injuries have in common. Bad shoes, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, are to blame for about 90 percent of all foot problems.

No matter what type of shoe you're wearing, a bad shoe is one that does not fit properly, has lost its shape, causes pain or rubbing, or is worn unevenly. Bad shoes cause foot and ankle problems. But they can cause leg and back problems, too.

To get a good fit for any type of shoe:

  • Buy shoes at the end of the day, after work or exercise, when your feet are at their largest. If you buy shoes earlier in the day, they may be too tight.
  • Measure both feet and fit your shoe to the largest one, since your feet aren't both the same size.
  • Make sure you can wiggle your toes. If you can't, the fit is too tight. Also make sure the widest part of your foot is comfortable but secure.
  • Walk around the store to see if the shoes are comfortable. Never buy shoes without first trying them on, and don't assume they will get comfortable with wear. If they don't feel good when you try them on, don't buy them.
  • Try on shoes with the socks you plan to wear with them.
  • When the shoe is on and you're standing up, make sure you can fit the width of your little finger between your heel and the back of the shoe -- no more and no less.
  • If your heel slides in the shoe as you walk, the shoe doesn't fit.
  • Don't let anyone tell you the shoe will stretch. Good shoes fit properly when you buy them.
  • And, no matter how much you're attached to your closet full of comfortable old shoes, toss them in the trash when they are worn out and get new ones.

Now that you know what that foot pain might be, as well as possible treatment options, here are a few home remedies to help heal those tired, aching dogs. Visit these links to learn more about home remedies for foot ailments:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedy Treatments for Foot Pain

© 2007 Publications International, Ltd.
© 2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Wearing the wrong type of shoes can cause a long list of foot and leg problems.

As incredible as our feet may be, few of us ever think about them until they hurt. Fortunately, if your dogs are barking, there are several things you can do to pamper them and prevent serious problems from developing. If you have diabetes or any problem with circulation, however, your feet require extra special care, and you should run these home remedies (and any other foot-care steps you're considering) by your doctor or podiatrist for approval before trying any of them at home.

Take a load off. If you have to stand a great deal, take breaks to take the weight off your feet. Whenever you can, elevate your feet at a 45 degree angle to your body, and relax for 10 to 15 minutes. Elevating your feet will move blood away from the feet and help reduce swelling.

Give them a soak. Put two tablespoons of Epsom salts into a basin of warm water, and give your feet a relaxing bath for 15 minutes. Then, pat your feet dry with a soft towel, and moisturize them with your favorite cream or lotion.

Alternate hot and cold. Sit on the edge of the bathtub and alternately run cold water then (comfortably) hot water (for one minute each) on the feet; end with cold water.

Give them the squeeze. There's nothing quite as relaxing as a foot massage. Have a partner massage your feet with massage oil, baby oil, or moisturizing lotion (then put socks on before you stand up to prevent slipping). Or treat yourself by massaging your own feet. First, apply oil and condition the foot with medium-light strokes, using your thumbs and fingers. Next, starting with the ball of the foot, work across and down the entire foot using the thumbs to make small, circular motions. Use the thumbs to make long, deep strokes along the arch of the foot, moving in the direction of the toes. Gently squeeze, rotate, and pull each toe. End by cupping the foot between both hands and gently squeezing up and down the length of each foot.

Ice 'em. A cool way to refresh your feet after a long, hard day is to ice them down with a washcloth filled with ice. It'll make them feel wonderful and decrease swelling.

Exercise your feet. Like any part of the body, the feet stay healthiest if they're kept strong and flexible with regular exercise. Walking in shoes that provide good support and cushioning is excellent exercise for the feet.

Feet also benefit from specific foot exercises. Try these:

  • Golf-Ball Roll: Sit down with your shoes off, place one foot on top of a golf ball, and roll (don't stand) on the ball using only the weight of the foot; repeat with the other foot.
  • Spill the Beans: Scatter beans or marbles on the floor, and pick them up with your toes.
  • Circle and Stretch: Sit in a chair with one foot raised in front of you, and make four or five small circles in the air in both directions with your foot. Next, point your toes as much as you can; then stretch them up towards you. Repeat six times with each foot.

Trim your toenails. Ingrown toenails may be inherited, but improper nail trimming can make the problem worse. Trim the nails straight across and only to the end of the toe, then file the corners to remove sharp edges that might cut the skin.

Buy shoes that fit. Too often, people buy shoes that don't fit their feet. They opt for fashion rather than fit or comfort. A good-fitting pair of shoes will improve virtually any foot problem. Look for shoes that:

  • have plenty of room in the toe area (toe box).
  • don't slip. The foot should not slide around in the shoe.
  • are wide enough. Your foot shouldn't bulge over the edges of the shoe.
  • fit in the store. Don't buy too-small shoes believing you'll "stretch them out" in time.

And do your shoe-shopping in the afternoon or evening, when your feet tend to be slightly larger.

Know your feet. Different types of feet require different kinds of shoes. For instance, if you have high arches, your feet tend to be rigid. Shoes with lots of cushioning will help absorb shock. Flat-bottomed feet are less rigid, but less stable, too, so they require shoes that control excess motion. To find out what kind of foot you have, wet your bare feet and stand on a concrete floor or piece of paper. If you have high arches, the outline of your foot will appear very narrow and curved like a half-moon. If the outline looks like a slab, you're probably flat-footed.

 

Wear the right shoes for the activity. Wearing the wrong type of shoes can cause a long list of problems, including knee tendinitis, chronic foot pain, heel spurs, and stress fractures. Choosing the right shoes is especially important when it comes to fitness footwear. Different sports and exercises have unique repetitive movements that require special support and cushioning. You wouldn't play basketball in a pair of heels. Likewise, don't rely on that old pair of sneakers if you're going climbing or hiking. Spend the extra money to buy shoes that are specific for the activity you're doing. The investment could save you and your feet a lot of pain.

 

 

Replace worn shoes. It's tough to give up those old favorite shoes, but often, we wear shoes long after they've lost their ability to support and cushion the foot. Keep in mind that looks can be deceiving: A pair of shoes may show few signs of wear-and-tear but no longer absorb the shock of pounding the pavement. Instead, pay attention to your body. If your feet are killing you, knees ache, or hips hurt after spending time on your feet, your shoes may no longer be doing their job.

Simple home remedies from the kitchen can help to relieve your foot pain. Keep reading to learn more about natural cures for aching feet.

Visit these links to learn more about home remedies for foot ailments:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Home Remedies for Foot Pain

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Asparagus acts as a natural diuretic, flushing excess fluid out of your system and easing pressure on bloated feet.

Common foods and household objects can help your sore feet to feel better fast. Here are a few home remedies you can try.

Home Remedies from the Cupboard

Carbonated water. Soaking your feet in sugarless carbonated water can be refreshing.

Epsom salts. For plain old tired feet, put 2 tablespoons Epsom salts into a basin of warm water. Soak for 15 minutes. Epsom salts can be drying, so moisturize your feet afterwards.

Flour. This simple paste may speed up the healing of a sprain or strain: gardenia, flour, and wine. Mix and apply.

Foods. For bloated, uncomfortable feet, here are some foods that can help balance your fluid levels: bananas, which are high in potassium that helps relieve fluid retention, and coffee or tea, both of which are diuretics. (See also "Home Remedies from the Refrigerator.")

Olive oil. Use as a massage oil for tired feet.

Postum. Got cold feet? Brew up a cup of Postum, add a pinch of cayenne pepper, and drink. Your toes will feel toasty warm fast. This is also good for cold hands.

Vinegar. To soothe tendinitis, sprains, strains, and general foot aches, alternate hot and cold vinegar wraps. First, heat equal amounts of vinegar and water. Soak a towel in the mixture, wring it out, and wrap it around your foot. Leave it wrapped for five minutes. Then mix equal parts vinegar and cold water and follow the same procedure. Repeat this entire sequence three times.

Home Remedies from the Faucet

Water. Sometimes plain old water is the best cure of all. If you have varicose veins in your feet or ankles, this remedy will alleviate the ache and may even slow down the development of varicose veins. Dip your feet in hot water – but not hot enough to burn! -- for 2 minutes, then in cold for 15 seconds. Repeat, and continue alternating hot and cold for 15 minutes.

Home Remedies from the Freezer

Ice. An ice pack will reduce the inflammation of tendonitis. You can use a bag of ice or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a thin towel.

Home Remedies from the Refrigerator

Asparagus. For swollen feet, look in the veggie drawer for that nice, fresh asparagus you bought. Steam and eat. Asparagus acts as a natural diuretic, which flushes the excess fluid out of your system.

Foods. For bloated, uncomfortable feet, here are some foods that can help balance your fluid levels: poultry and fresh fish, both of which are low in sodium, and yogurt, which can reduce histamine-producing bacteria. Histamine causes fluid retention.

Home Remedies from the Spice Rack

Cayenne pepper. To warm cold feet, sprinkle a little cayenne pepper in your socks. Cayenne peppers have a chemical called capsaicin that warms, and it also relieves pain. However, this can be irritating to the skin after awhile, so carry some spare socks in case you need to change.

Cinnamon. Cure those cold feet with some nice hot cinnamon tea. Stir a gram of powdered cinnamon into a glass of hot water and steep for 15 minutes. Drink three times a day.

Sage. Take a handful of sage leaves and rub them in your palm. (This is called bruising, and it releases the herb's curative chemicals.) Put them in a saucepan with 2/3 cup cider vinegar. Boil, then simmer for five minutes. After removing from the heat, soak a cloth in the solution and apply it to a sprain or sore foot, as hot as tolerable.

More Do's and Don'ts

  • Don't stand too long, and don't stand on hard surfaces if you can avoid it. Foot pain is often muscle fatigue from standing. Take frequent breaks. Sit down and elevate your feet for ten minutes.
  • Don't ignore foot pain, tired legs, aching knees, lower-back problems, or sore hips. They could all be symptoms of serious conditions.
  • Maintain your ideal weight. The more weight you put on those puppies, the more they'll cause you pain.

Foot pain might be common, but that doesn't mean you have to suffer with it. Take care of your feet, and they'll take care of you.Visit these links to learn more about home remedies for foot ailments:

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

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