Common causes of aching feet
When your feet just feel achy, it’s the sign that something is amiss. However, tired feet–though not a not a medical condition itself–are a common complaint related to various medical conditions. There are a few common conditions that can exacerbate foot which include:
Overuse: Increased walking or standing, especially when combined with other contributing factors, can cause even the healthiest feet to become sore.
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This can be a problem for those who stand all day at work or are generally on their feet for long periods of time.
Obesity: Carrying excess weight results in increased strain on ligaments, muscles, and joints.The more wight means needing more support under your feet.
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Pregnancy: In addition to the stress caused by increased weight, pregnancy hormones cause the ligaments that stabilize your feet to relax. These two factors together result in excess strain on your feet.
8 ways to help ease the pain
Besides kicking back and giving your feet a rest, here are some remedies that can help ease the ache and rejuvenate tired feet:
Employ moist heat: Sometimes aching feet are simply the result of overstressed muscles and connective tissue due to excess activity or weight-bearing.
- One of the best remedies for relaxing sore muscles is a foot bath. Soak your feet in a basin of warm water or a store-bought foot spa for five to 10 minutes.
- Try adding Epsom salts to the water for an added soothing effect. Epsom salts are readily available where first aid products are sold. Use approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons per gallon of warm water. If your feet are swollen, hot, or tired, use cool water instead of warm and elevate your feet for a half hour or more after the soak.
Stretch your feet: Overstressed muscles will tend to contract or spasm. To counteract this tightness, stretch your feet.
A good time to stretch is after a warm soak when your muscles will be relaxed. Sit in a comfortable position and stretch the ankle and toe joints using your hands or a strap.
To also target the calf muscles, try a runner’s stretch while leaning against a wall. Hold each motion comfortably for 10 to 20 seconds for maximum benefit.
- Give feet a workout: Exercises for your ankles, feet, and toes will help stretch, strengthen, and relax them. Try these moves:
- Pick up objects with your toes and move them from one pile to another.
- While standing, rise up on your toes, lifting your heels off the ground.
- Do ankle pumps, moving your foot up and down.
- Make circles with your ankles.
- Roll the bottom of your foot on a frozen water bottle, tennis ball, or golf ball.
Engage in touch therapy:
Apply oil or lotion to the soles of your feet and massage while applying gentle thumb pressure to any sore areas.
- Focus on the plantar fascia, the prominent cord-like structure that runs the length of the arch from the ball of the foot to the heel.
- You can best feel it on the sole of your foot when you flex your toes upward. The plantar fascia is an important anatomical structure because it helps give form and support to the arch, which is necessary for absorbing shock when your feet hit the ground.
- A tight plantar fascia can often be a root cause of heel soreness. Other hands-free ways to massage the feet is by using a foot roller or a foot spa with built-in massage.
- Arch supports will help decrease the shock that your feet experience with every step. The heel and ball of the foot are especially prone to soreness and full-length arch supports will help cushion these areas.
- Check your shoes: Identify which shoes may be contributing to your foot soreness. If your shoes have excess wear and tear they may be contributing to your sore feet.
- Worn-out soles can change the dynamics of how your feet hit the ground, thus throwing off your biomechanics.
- Since shoes that are too tight or too loose can lead to soreness and fatigue, have your feet measured the next time you buy shoes.
- If you have bunions, hammertoes, or a neuroma (a painful thickening of the tissue around a nerve), make sure your shoes are wide enough and deep enough in the toe box.
- Trim calluses and corns: The hard, dry skin of calluses and corns can create pressure on the bottom of your foot, and lead to cracks, bleeding, or infection. Soak your feet in warm water for a few minutes. Dry them and use a pumice stone or emery board on the hard spots. Apply a moisturizing lotion, then put on socks to seal in the added hydration.
- Consider acupuncture: Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that research shows can be of benefit for foot pain, although the studies often have flaws such as publication bias.
When to Get Medical Help for Sore Feet
Sore feet on occasion is a relatively common experience for people of all ages.
When the soreness increases in frequency or isn’t alleviated by simple remedies like those listed, see a podiatrist to evaluate your feet.
In addition, certain medical conditions can cause or contribute to foot pain. See your primary care physician to evaluate and treat these conditions:
- Diabetes or any other condition that causes peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage to the limbs
- Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis,
- Any condition that causes lower limb swelling, such as cardiovascular disease
Sore feet can keep you from enjoying healthy exercise and physical activity. Take steps to relieve your pain before it stops you. In the long run, it’s often cheaper to see a podiatrist and get professional treatment than to experiment with OTC remedies that don’t address your specific problem.
Ron Heinlein | President/Founder | 909-215-1622 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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