The feet are very complex parts of the body, made up of 26 bones and over a hundred ligaments in each foot. Muscles, soft tissue and nerves also make up the intricate parts of the foot and they all need to work together to support movement and carry the body.
If any one of the ligaments or tendons or joints in the foot has a problem, this can cause pain or aching in the foot and make it difficult to stand or walk.
Aching in the feet can happen for a number of reasons and it’s important to have a healthcare professional diagnose exactly what is going on inside your foot.1 It might be something as simple as bad footwear, but aching feet can also be the sign of an underlying health issue, so it’s important to get it checked out.
If you are already aware of the cause of your aching feet and are looking for some simple relief you can get at home, there are a few things you can do without leaving your house.
If your feet ache due to plantar fasciitis or another issue causing inflammation or tightness, light stretching may provide some relief. (Plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects the ligament in the arch of the foot, causing pain and inflammation.) 2
Sit in a chair and put one leg over the other. 3 Using your hand, stretch the arch of your foot by gently pulling back your toes for a count of ten. Repeat ten times on each foot at least three times a day. This exercise was shown to provide relief for more than 90 percent of all participants.
Massage is a great way to improve circulation and increase mobility in aching foot muscles. While sitting, roll a tennis ball or golf ball under foot, moving the ball back and forth. 4 Only apply as much pressure as you feel comfortable with, but make sure you reach all parts of the arch as well as the heel and ball of the foot.
You can also use your hands to give yourself a great foot massage. 5 Use a few drops of natural oil of your choice, like coconut or jojoba and, if you like, you can add a drop or two of essential oils. Using your thumbs and applying gentle pressure to the areas that ache can be relaxing and relieving.
3. Foot Soak
The best and most common home remedy for sore feet is simply soaking them in hot or warm water. If you want, you can mix in invigorating oils or herbals such as peppermint (brew the tea and mix it into the soak or add a few drops of its essential oil). Adding arnica can also help stimulate circulation in your feet to ease pain. 6
An easy and affordable home remedy, a vinegar soak can also provide a lot of relief to a host of feet conditions, from athlete’s foot to warts, both of which can cause pain.
Another popular option is to mix Epsom salts and warm water.7 Soak and let all your aches and pains melt away.
4. Hot or Cold Compresses
Depending on the cause of your aching feet, applying hot or cold compresses could be just the thing you need to relieve your discomfort. While a hot compress brings relief to pulled muscles and stiff joints 8 it may be that you need a cold compress if your aches are caused by swelling or inflammation. 9
Regardless if you are using hot or cold compresses, wrap it in a towel and don’t put it directly on your skin. Take breaks from the compress every ten minutes.
5. Analgesic Balm
Using Tiger Balm or another warming balm for muscles can help bring more blood flow to the sore areas of your feet and can help them feel invigorated and awake. There are many over the counter balms that contain ingredients like capsicum, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper or clove oil which is an analgesic or pain relieving oil.
Alternatively, you can make your own balm by mixing clove oil with a carrier oil of your choice and rubbing into the aching areas of your feet. 10
Although exercise like walking or running may not be possible with aching feet, there is still plenty you can do. If your aching feet have to do with carrying extra weight, exercise may be the best thing for your feet. 11
A fit body that isn’t overweight is better for blood pressure and circulation and is just less weight for your feet to carry, so if you are overweight and find your feet are always aching, exercise is a good place to start.
Feet are so often overlooked and ignored and they need love and care to be in optimal shape. Try any one of these simple remedies at home the next time you have aching feet and show your feet you appreciate the hard work they do for you, every day!
1 Foot & Ankle Anatomy – Foot Anatomy – HealthCommunities.com. Healthcommunitiescom. 1999. Accessed January 14, 2017.
2 Clinic Staff M. Symptoms and causes – Plantar fasciitis – Mayo Clinic. Mayoclinicorg. 2016. Accessed January 14, 2017.
3 Heel To Heal: New Stretch Relieves Pain From Plantar Fasciitis. ScienceDaily. 2006. Accessed January 14, 2017.
4 Gingerich N. 3 Foot Stretches To Help You Walk Without Pain. Prevention. 2015. Accessed January 14, 2017.
5 Nayyar N. Foot Massage – A Relief For Tired Feet – Women Fitness. Women Fitness. 2016. Accessed January 14, 2017
6 Russell E. 6 Ways to Soothe Foot Pain.
7 Epsom Salt & Apple Cider Vinegar Foot Bath Recipe That REVERSES Foot Pain, Remove Fungus & Odor. NaturalNews Blogs. 2016. Accessed January 14, 2017.
8 Ice Packs vs. Warm Compresses For Pain | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Hopkinsmedicineorg. Accessed January 14, 2017.
9 Ice Packs vs. Warm Compresses For Pain | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Hopkinsmedicineorg. Accessed January 14, 2017.
10 Health B. Natural home remedies: Foot pain. Best Health Magazine Canada. 2016. Accessed January 14, 2017.
11 Metcalf E. Losing Weight Can Also Help Your Feet. EverydayHealthcom. 2009. Accessed January 14, 2017.