Around 30 to 40 percent people, who suffer from ankle pain or foot pain or sore foot, tend to get relief from ankle and foot problems quickly. Some minor health conditions like tiredness, heavy work, long travel, etc. that lead to foot pain, go away on their own. However, there are many other types of foot pain that are caused by various factors other than these. These types and causes of foot pain need to be tackled with specific remedies. All the other conditions of foot pain can be improved without popping a painkiller.
How to get rid of foot pain?
Foot pain usually goes away in a couple of days without trying any treatment. If the pain still persists, try some foot pain remedies. But what remedies? You will see four sections in this article:
- Simple Tips for Foot Pain- Do these when your foot pain has just started
- Advanced Tips for Foot Pain- Do these when you are not able to get rid of foot pain with simple tips in the first 2-3 days.
- Simple Home Exercises for Foot Pain- Do these when your foot pain is due to prolonged sitting or standing or if there is stiffness in calves, ankles or foot muscles.
- Home Remedies for Foot Pain- Do these when the pain is intense and you can’t get relief in any manner.
Simple Tips for Foot Pain
There are some easy and simple self-therapies that you can try to reduce foot pain.
RICE here stand for -Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Rest – Get some rest and don’t walk. Don’t involve in any activity that makes you move. Simply sit back and relax or lie down and sleep!
Ice – Apply ice. Wrap some ice cubes in a cloth and apply on the feet. You will find quick relief from pain.
Compression – Compress your feet by wearing tight socks. Compression restricts the mobility and thus reduce pain associated when you move your foot accidentally.
Elevation – Keep your foot elevated from the floor. When you sleep, place a couple of pillows under your legs.
And remember, home remedies for foot pain are not about using some ingredients to reduce pain. It is a lot about complete foot care.
Keep your foot free from accessories
When you feel pain with or without swelling, just remove the accessories like leg chains, toe rings, etc. from the foot. Although it is not associated as a remedy for foot pain, it reduces the tension and pain to some extent.
Soak your feet in warm water
The first thing you can do to get rid of foot pain is warm water soak. Soaking your feet in warm water relaxes the foot muscles and nerves. Just fill a tub with warm water and place your feet. Stay put for 10 minutes and you will find good relief from pain. This is a simple remedy for foot pain. There are many effective foot soak recipes you can try, which are detailed later in the section, ‘ Foot Soak Recipe to Rejuvenate your Feet’. You can do a simple foot soak daily before you go to sleep.
Gentle massage of feet
Gently massage your feet with hands. Press your fingers all over the foot and give a good massage. Rub your fingers or press the fingers in zig-zag manner at the bottom of your feet. It is a good self therapy for pain relief. If your foot is dry, apply a few drops of coconut oil on the foot and massage it.
These were simple tips for initial foot pain treatment at home. When should you look for more intense treatment or additional home remedies? When the pain doesn’t alleviate in a few days. Try these advanced tips to get rid of intense foot pain.
Advanced Tips for Foot Pain
Wrap your foot
If you experience throbbing pain and are unable to stay put without moving your foot, wrap the foot. Although there are many foot wraps available, you can even do it with your shawl or a cloth. Wrap your foot in a way that it restricts the mobility of ankles and toes. It is a good remedy for sore foot too! Alternatively you can wear socks at night to control mobility.
Wear comfortable and supportive footwear
Wearing right shoes is the key to reduce and prevent foot pain. Around 30 to 40 % who suffer from foot pain or sore feet are more likely to experience the pain due to wrong choice of footwear. Although you can switch to flat footwear, like flat shoes or sandals, you should always wear comfortable footwear that support the shape of your foot.
What not to do when you have foot pain?
Don’t ignore the pain.
Stay away from this attitude. Don’t ignore pain and continue to do your activities. Although foot pain isn’t a serious condition, sometimes, ignoring it may lead to complications.
Don’t wear heels
Heels here refer to all types of heeled footwear. Whether it is pointed heels or high heel sandal, or even medium heels, avoid wearing it. Go for flat sandals.
Don’t sit for long
If you suffer from foot pain for more than a day, take frequent breaks from sitting. Just like strenuous work strain your feet, sitting for hours also affect it. You may find it difficult to make a few steps after sitting for more than 3 – 4 hours continuously. So, walk 20 to 50 steps every one hour.
Don’t do heel walk or toe walk
Whether it is pain in your toes or ankle or whole foot, try to walk normal. Don’t try heel walk or ankle walk considering that it can reduce your pain. Without knowing what causes you foot pain, you shouldn’t try this as it may hurt your feet some more. Walk flat and walk normal.
Don’t wear tight stockings or rigid wraps for more than 3 to 4 hours
The purpose of wraps is to control mobility of the foot, so that you may reduce pain. Wearing the socks or wraps too tightly restricts the blood flow. Controlling the blood circulation is too bad.
Simple Home Exercises for Foot Pain
Doing some simple exercises will reduce foot pain to a great extent and may also prevent its recurrence.
Stretching Exercises for Foot Pain and Ankle Pain
In some people, foot pain often associates with heel pain or stiffness or tightness of the heels.
Basic pose for standing stretching exercise to reduce foot pain
- Stand straight facing a wall.
- Place both your palms against wall and make sure that the hands are straight.
- The distance between you and wall should be the length of your hands.
- Press the wall with both hands and the hands should be at the level of your chest.
Stretch Calf Muscles
Stretching the calf muscles reduces the heel pain. Do these simple stretching exercises to reduce the stiffness of heel and heel pain. Do this after standing in basic pose.
- Move back one step with right leg.
- Keep the left leg straight without bending at the knee.
- Make sure that both feet are placed flat on the floor.
- Slightly bend the left knee forwards.
- Lean forward and press the wall.
- Push hard until you feel your right leg is gently stretched.
- Hold the stretched position for 10 counts
- Repeat it with other leg and do a minimum of 5 sets.
Standing Leg Extension (Backwards)
Standing leg raise helps stretching the sore muscles of the leg and reduces the stiffness of the heel.
- Stand in basic pose (mentioned above). You may also stand as shown in the above picture.
- Extend one leg backwards and try to lift the leg backwards straightly
- Don’t worry, your palms give good support.
- Hold in this position for 10 to 20 counts and repeat it with other leg.
- If you stand as shown in the picture, you can also stretch your legs forward.
- Make sure that the cloth is lengthy enough to stretch the legs.
- Adjust the length of the cloth that you hold at both ends.
- Sit straight with legs extended straight in front of you.
- Place the rolled cloth under the ball of the foot.
- Hold the towel at both ends and gently pull the towel back.
- Slightly stretch your upper body backwards and don’t bend the knees when you pull the towel.
- It gives a good stretch to the muscles in the forefoot.
- Hold the stretched position for 10 to 20 counts.
- Repeat it with other leg.
- If you have lengthy cloth, you can do it simultaneously on both legs. Instead of putting the cloth on the ball of the single foot, just do it on both feet.
Reclining Leg Stretch
- Lie flat on the floor on your back.
- Place the cloth beneath your foot, near the ball, hold both ends of the cloth in respective hands.
- Gently raise your leg and make it straight, perpendicular to your hold.
- Simultaneously pull the cloth and stretch your foot.
- Hold for 10 to 20 counts and gradually lower it.
- Do this for 10 sets and repeat with other leg.
- Stand straight.
- Roll the towel or shawl you have with you.
- Put the towel beneath your feet, just below the toes, on the ball of the foot.
- Hold both ends of the towel and gradually raise your legs towards your chest.
- You can also extend the leg forwards holding the towel.
- You will feel the gentle stretch of the leg.
- Hold the stretched position for 10 to 20 counts.
- Repeat it with other leg.
This exercise also helps reduce belly fat and thigh fat! Besides, it makes great supportive equipment for leg raise exercises.
All these stretching exercises also strengthen the foot.
- Instead of facing the wall, stand adjacent to the wall, with left side close to the wall.
- Extend your left arm towards the wall and press the palm against the wall.
- Hold the wall firmly.
- Raise your right leg and swing it back and forth.
- Give a good swing and you will love it.
- You can also do it holding onto something for good balance.
- Swing the right leg 10 to 20 times back and forth and repeat it with other leg.
5 Minute Exercises to reduce foot pain, ankle pain, toe pain and sore foot
The following exercises are very easy and effective. You can do it anytime at any place. In 5 minutes or less, you can get rid of the throbbing foot pain and also sore foot.
Tap your feet
Tap the heel
- Sit or stand comfortably
- Just raise your heel part of the foot and tap it on the floor
- You can do both legs simultaneously
- Tap it for a minute
Tap the toes
- Just tap the forefoot just like heel.
- Do it for a minute.
Tap heel and toes alternatively
- Tap your heel and tap your feet
- Do this for a minute
That’s it! Tapping your feet increases the blood flow to the legs and reduces the pain.
Contract and Expand your Toes
This specific exercise reduces the toe pain and relaxes the toes.
- Sit in a chair comfortably
- Raise both your legs
- Bend all your toes and release it. (Just like heart beat, contraction and expansion)
- Do it slowly and gently
- Rushing may cause you more pain
- Do it for a few seconds
In addition, bend your foot inwards and place the upper part of toes on the floor for few seconds.
Spin your Foot
Rotating your feet in the air strengthens them and provides relief from foot pain.
- Sit on a chair.
- Raise both your legs.
- Rotate both feet clockwise for 30 seconds and anticlockwise for 30 seconds.
- You will love to swing your legs in the air and feel light.
You can do the foot rotation by standing, but one foot at a time!!!
These simple exercises ease away even throbbing foot pain and strengthen the feet.
Home Remedies for Foot Pain
Alternative Hot and Cold Therapy
When it comes to pain, hot and cold wraps always come handy. Heat and cold therapy reduces pain in two different ways.
- Heat dilates the blood vessels and enables good blood flow, which reduces pain.
- Cold shrinks the blood vessels, contain the blood and reduces the inflammation as well pain.
So when to use heat therapy and cold therapy?
- If you suffer from foot pain and sore foot without swelling, go for heat therapy.
- When the ankle or heel or balls are inflamed, go for cold therapy.
- If the foot pain persists for a longer period, try alternate hot and cold therapy. It is simple. Apply heat for a minute and immediately switch to cold wrap.
You can easily do this with the help of foot bath too. Get hot water in one bucket and cold water in another by adding ice cubes to running water. Soak your feet in hot water for a minute and switch to cold water.
Hot Therapies for Foot Pain and Sore Foot
There are many ingredients you can use as hot therapy to rejuvenate the sore foot and reduce pain. Following are the few things you can try at home to get rid of pain with ease.
You can use crystal salt or pink salt or Epsom salt for salt wrap.
- Take two handful of salt and dry roast in a pan.
- Wrap the hot salt in a thin cloth and tie it.
- Apply the salt wrap on the painful areas of feet.
- It is a very simple home remedy to get rid of intense foot pain.
Rice bran is one of the by-products of paddy, produced when the paddy is hulled. Rice bran has loads of nutrients packed tightly. Hope you heard about rice bran oil, healthy oil you can try instead of using refined oils. Follow the same steps as mentioned above when using salt wrap, but use rice bran instead of salt.
Rice bran contains oil content, minerals and micronutrients that act as healers. You can do the rice bran oil massage too, which is a natural remedy to treat heel spurs. It reduces the growth of bones and subsides pain.
Ginger paste is not a very popular remedy for pain and swelling but it’s effective. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient with loads of medicinal properties. Application of warm ginger paste reduces pain and oozes the blood flow to the feet. The kick of ginger on your feet energizes it.
- Peel the fresh ginger skin and mash the ginger or grind it to a nice paste.
- Add a few drops of sesame oil to the ginger paste.
- Saute it on a low flame for a couple of minutes.
- Remove from flame and apply it on painful areas.
Cold Therapy for Foot Pain
We all know when it comes to cold wraps, ice cubes come handy! Beyond using ice cubes, you can also try using the following home remedies for foot pain as cold therapies!
Lettuce / cabbage leaves
Cabbage is been used as a remedy for centuries and very popular in folklore culture. It is used to soothe the painful and stiff joints. Cabbage and lettuce contain phyto-nutrients and more importantly, Glutamine, which is an anti-inflammatory ingredient.
- Freeze the broad lettuce or cabbage leaves
- Place your feet or heel or painful part of the feet on the frozen leaves and wrap it.
- Stay put for 5 to 10 minutes.
- It works better than ice cubes.
- You can find relief from pain in a few minutes.
Frozen Water bottle
This is one of the best and simplest remedy to get rid of sore feet.
- Fill a water bottle and freeze it.
- Place the bottle beneath your foot and roll it as long as you can.
- That’s it!
It won’t take extra time and you can do it even when you work. You can also do a hot water bottle roll.
Foot Soak Recipe to Rejuvenate your Feet
Foot soak have many benefits for the feet. In fact, it also has nourishing properties for whole body. Feet contain tiny channels or the pressure points that connect with every organ in your body. Rejuvenating feet also channelize the respective organs and nourish the whole body. Foot soak not just reduces foot pain and provides relief from sore foot, it makes you feel energized and relaxed just as you feel after a leg massage.
Basic Foot Soak Recipe
A basic foot soak recipe is all about soaking your feet in hot or warm water. The water can be plain or you can add a bit of salt to it. There are many variations to foot soak recipe, where the base remains the same.
Things you need for basic foot soak recipe
- Half bucket water that provides sufficient room to place your feet comfortably
- A big vessel to heat the water
- A handful of Crystal salt
How to make it?
- Heat the water and let it boil
- Add salt to the boiled water
- Transfer the hot water to bucket or tub
- Make sure that the temperature of water is comfortable for you. A few prefer warm soak and a few prefer really hot soak. Make sure it is not too hot.
- Immerse your feet into the water and stay put for a minimum of 15 minutes or as long as the water remains warm.
- Take out your feet and wash it with running water. Pat dry.
Combine foot soak recipe with aromatherapy to reduce foot pain and rejuvenate your senses.
Ingredients you can add in foot soak or foot bath
Lemon – Lemon is a nutrient rich fruit. It has acidic properties, which heals many foot conditions. Lemon helps rejuvenate the skin, fights infection, treats dry and flaky feet, etc.
How to add lemon to foot bath?
- Squeeze 2 or 3 lemons to the hot water after it is boiled.
- Rub the skin of lemon on your foot. It makes your foot shine.
- You can also grate the skin of the lemon and add it to the boiling water. It gives a nice aromatic foot bath.
- Use fresh lemons to grate the skin.
Essential Oils – Essential oils are quite beneficial to skin. Adding a few drops of aromatic essential oil gives you an aromatic foot bath. You can go with lavender oil or lemon oil. Use tea tree oil if there is some infection of foot.
Rose Water – Rose water is a natural cleanser. It soothes the skin, rejuvenates the toe nails and makes the feet look neat and nice. Add few drops in the warm water for foot soaking.
Epsom Salt – Mostly we use crystal salt for foot soak. You can add a handful of Epsom salt when the pain is intense. Epsom salt contains minerals, especially magnesium which acts as a natural painkiller. Alternatively, you can also use black salt or pink salt for foot soak.
Before and after foot soak:
- Wash your legs and feet before foot soak and pat it dry.
- After foot soak, wash legs with running water or cold water.
- Scrub your feet after foot soak to energize the channels in the foot.
- If needed, you can apply oil or moisturizer after foot soak.
- Always get the foot soak before you sleep. It promotes good sleep.
How to choose the right footwear to prevent, reduce and treat foot pain
Size and shape of your feet constantly change. The size of your feet grows or changes. Yes, as you grow old, the size of feet also changes. It doesn’t mean it grows or changes dramatically. Even a minor change in the size and shape of the feet may not match with the existing footwear. So, measure your size and shape every six months to ensure that the footwear fits perfectly.
The following simple tips on choosing the right footwear helps you prevent pain and injuries related to foot, toe and ankles.
- Don’t choose the shoes or socks or sandals based on the market size. Market size may not be the perfect fit for everybody. In fact, the market size also vary with every brand. Always pick the one that fits your feet.
- Regardless of the type of footwear you wear regularly, choose the one that fits perfectly with the shape of your front part of the foot.
- If you go for the shoes with the narrowing forefoot, it certainly hurts you as well as lead to severe damages of foot.
- It is always said by many to avoid wearing high heeled shoes, especially pointed footwear. High heels not only hurt your ankles, but also add a lot of pressure to the forefoot. Besides, it also hurts the back.
- If you wear high heels, make sure that the length of the heels is no longer than 3 to 4 cm height.
- Also, ensure that the forefoot part is spacious.
- Wear alternative flat shoes often and try to limit the usage of heels.
- It is good to go bare foot at home. Still, if you want to wear footwear at home, consider light, flat and comfortable sandals or shoes at home.
- Whenever you buy new shoe or sandal, make sure you do it in the evenings or night. The size of the foot in the morning and at the end of the day may vary. By the end of the day, the foot remains mildly swollen.
- When you buy footwear, don’t just get satisfied with wearing one shoe or sandal and assume that it fits perfectly. Wear both shoes of the pair and walk at least 20 to 30 steps.
- Choose the fabric of the shoe that gives you mild stretch.
How to Prevent Pain in Feet?
Following are the simple tips to prevent the varying episodes of foot pain.
- Remove the shoes or footwear as often as you can. Let your feet breathe and let it free for a while.
- Try to walk on grass barefoot at least for 10 to 15 minutes a day. It makes you rejuvenated and is very refreshing!
- Be careful about what you eat. Nutritional deficiency can take a toll on your foot and body as a whole. Avoid foods that lead to inflammation. Eat natural anti-inflammatory and analgesics like ginger, turmeric, etc.
- Don’t stretch yourself too much on a single day.
When you don’t find relief from pain in feet after trying the home remedies for a few days, you should consult a physician to get the condition of your feet diagnosed. Get proper treatment for foot pain if home remedies don’t work.