Foot pain affects an estimated 75 percent of the U.S. population. And it’s no wonder: Your feet contain about 26 tiny bones, 33 different joints, and a delicate web of over 120 soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This complex structure is easily damaged, and so it’s important to prevent injuries before they occur, as foot pain (of any kind) can have a negative impact on your quality of life. In fact, research shows that those who suffer with regular foot pain also tend to have other health problems.1
Some of the most common types of foot pain include achilles tendinitis, bursitis of the heel, excess pronation, plantar fasciitis, and heel pain – the most common type of foot pain, affecting about 2 million Americans.2
If you are struggling with persistent foot pain, you don’t have to suffer any longer. Just try these six natural, at-home remedies for foot pain:
1. Kick Off Your Shoes
You may not realize it, but you could be wearing the wrong type of footwear. In fact, most people are, and they don’t even know it. Check with your local shoe store to get a professional fitting, as there are many different variations for a shoe size. For example, if you wear a size 7, you may require a 7-wide or an 7 extra-narrow in order to reduce your risk of foot pain. A professional fitting will help you to identify if you need a specific variation of your regular shoe size. Additionally, if you are a woman, you may want to consider that nearly half (49 percent) of women in a recent survey reported that high heels contributed to their foot pain.3
So, if you are able to kick off your high heels during the day at your workstation, go for it. It’s worth it (and we won’t tell). And keep in mind: There are plenty of ultra-stylish, work-appropriate shoes available with a lower heel.
2. Calm Inflammation
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the preferred pain relievers in America. While these OTC (over-the-counter) medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, are able to reduce pain caused by inflammation, they can also cause potentially serious side effects, including accidental overdose.4
For this reason, NSAID medications are not a long-term option for people with persistent foot pain. Try these safe and effective natural anti-inflammatories instead: Omega-3 EFAs (fish oil, krill oil), willow bark, curcumin (turmeric root), green tea, pycnogenol (maritime pine bark), boswellia serrata resin (Frankincense), resveratrol, uncaria tomentosa (cat’s claw), and capsaicin (chili pepper).5
3. Try Compression Therapy
Compression therapy is a great way to increase circulation in the lower extremities. Widely used among nurses, sedentary workers, and people with foot and leg problems, compression stockings are able to apply gradient compression to the feet to relieve aches and pains, and revive fatigued feet. If you are suffering from foot pain, you will appreciate the way gentle compression stockings feel on your feet. They are ideal for reducing pain caused by venous insufficiency or injury.6
4. Purchase Insoles
Padded insoles for your footwear can reduce the amount of pressure felt in your feet. Able to decrease the impact on your toes, arches, and heels, insoles can be fitted for any area of the foot to eliminate pain. A good pair of insoles can help to reduce risk factors for foot pain associated with improper footwear, age, long hours on your feet, pregnancy, sports injury, and unwanted weight gain. Insoles are highly recommended for people suffering from pain, bruising, and swelling of the heel. These foot pads are also commonly used by professional athletes and dancers to ease foot pain.
5. Ice Bath
If your foot pain is caused by acute injury, gout, or even hammertoe, it should respond well to cold temperatures. This inexpensive, at-home remedy for foot pain is not only relaxing, but it’s also effective. Try adding 10-15 of your favorite pain-relieving essential oils into the footbath for additional benefits.
If you are not able to soak your feet in an ice bath, opt for an ice pack instead. That way, you can ease foot pain anywhere. If you have foot pain after a long walk to work, for example, discreetly keep an ice pack in the break room freezer to use if the aching starts when you get to the office.
6. Hit the Hot Tub
Did you know that the water carries with it 8 pounds of resistance? So, if you are suffering from ingrown toenails, injury, abnormalities in foot structure, nerve damage, inflamed joints, or even stress fractures you may enjoy pulling your painful feet through the warm water of a hot tub to soothe the affected areas. The heat works to relax muscles and tight ligaments, and the weight of the water strengthens weak areas, helping to reduce pain and speed the healing process from injury.
Foot Pain Needs to be Addressed
If you are suffering from foot pain, don’t ignore it. These natural remedies may help to provide relief within a matter of days or weeks. However, if your pain persists, call your doctor to find out if there is a better solution for you.
1.Public Opinion research on Foot Health and Care. Findings from a Survey of 1000 US Adults. March 2014.
2. Foot Pain. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/foot-pain
3. Public Opinion research on Foot Health and Care. Findings from a Survey of 1000 US Adults. March 2014.
4. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) Toxicity.http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/816117-overview
5. Joseph C. Maroon, Jeffrey W. Bost.Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Surg Neurol Int. 2010; 1: 80.
6. Chung Sim Lim, MBBS PhD and Alun H. Davies, DM. Graduated compression stockings. CMAJ. 2014 Jul 8; 186(10): E391–E398.