Four Things You Can Do to
Ease Your Foot Pain
yFoot ailments are among the most common health problems
in the United States, according to the American Podiatric
Medical Association (APMA). And when you consider that an
average day of walking brings a force equal to several hundred
tons to bear on your feet, APMA says, this is quite understandable.
Every day your feet support several hundred tons of
force, according to the APMA.
Your feet are actually very complex. They contain one-quarter
of all the bones in your body (that amounts to 26 bones!)
along with 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, muscles and
And according to the APMA, "Studies show that most Americans
experience foot problems of a greater or lesser degree of
seriousness at some time in their lives."
What Causes Foot Pain?
Certain systemic diseases -- diabetes, circulatory disorders,
anemia, kidney problems and gout, for instance -- can cause
pain in your feet. However, most foot pain occurs because
you are not taking proper care of your feet.
"Although some can be traced to heredity, many [foot
ailments] stem from the cumulative impact of a lifetime of
abuse and neglect," the APMA states.
Among the most common sources of foot pain are:
A foot massage is an ideal way
to soothe your sore feet.
Bunions: Misaligned big toe joints, which can be aggravated
by shoes that are too narrow
Corns and calluses: Layers of compacted, dead skin cells
caused by repeated friction and pressure from skin rubbing
against bony areas or against an irregularity in a shoe
Hammertoe: A toe that is bent in a claw-like position,
which can be aggravated by ill-fitting shoes or socks
that cramp the toes
Heal pain: This results from too much stress on the heel
bone, ligaments, or nerves in the area. It can be caused
by jumping on hard surfaces, poorly made shoes or being
Heel spurs: Growths of bone under the heel bone
Neuromas: Enlarged growths of nerves, commonly between
the third and fourth toes. Pressure from ill-fitting shoes
can cause this.
Of course, there is also the feeling of overall sore feet,
which results from standing, walking, or being on your feet
for long periods of time.
Your feet deserve to be stretched!
If you have pain in your feet or elsewhere in your
body, you are doing yourself an extreme disservice by
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Preventing Sore Feet
You can help to keep your feet healthy and pain-free by:
Washing your feet regularly, particularly between your
toes, and drying them thoroughly.
Trimming your toenails straight across and not too short
(to avoid ingrown toenails).
Making sure your shoes fit properly. It's best to go
shoe-shopping at the end of the day, as feet will be at
their largest. For women, the American Academy of Orthopaedic
Surgeons says that heels should never be higher than 2-1/4"
Replace worn out shoes.
Wear the right shoes for your activity (such as running
shoes for running).
Alternating your shoes so that you don't wear the same
pair day-in and day-out.
Easing Your Foot Pain
For those of you who routinely spend long hours on your feet,
there are many options to ease your pain. Here are some of
the most effective:
Ideally, have someone else do this for you -- professional
masseuse, your significant other, or a really good friend.
If you have no one to massage your feet for you, no problem.
Simply put a tennis ball or soup can on the floor and roll
your feet slowly over it.
2. Put Them Up
Lying down with your feet elevated on a few big pillows can
help to reduce swelling and foot pain.
3. Soak Them
Fill a basin with warm water, add a foot soak or just some
sea salt, and soak your feet for 15 or 20 minutes. For even
more relaxation, you can add eight to 10 drops of essential
oils, such as lavender, peppermint, rosemary and lemon, to
the water. You can also put some smooth stones or marbles
in the bottom to run your feet over as a massage.
Giving your feet a good stretch helps to promote circulation
and relieves tension and stress. For an excellent routine
that presents 15 stretches that stretch all the key muscles
groups throughout your entire body in just 15-20 minutes,
Toward a Healthier Life, the top-recommended DVD by stretching
expert Jacques Gauthier.
Finally, if the pain in your feet is persistent or severe,
don't ignore it. In this case, a visit to a podiatric physician
may be in order.
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Podiatric Medical Association
Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons