Your feet take a battering every day – walking, running for the bus, standing on the train or exercising. Sitting causes problems as well, as this leads to poor circulation and muscle atrophy (wasting of muscle tissue).
Whatever you do each day you can’t avoid constant wear and tear on your feet, one way or another. By the end of the day your feet may well be tired and achy, so they deserve a little pampering.
A Soothing Soak
There’s nothing more soothing than a warm footbath. It eases aching and tired feet and generally relieves stress – the best way to end a busy day.
Fill a footbath or clean washing-up bowl with enough warm water to cover your feet (make sure it’s not too hot) and add half a cup of Epsom salt. This magnesium sulphate compound has been used to ease stress and promote relaxation for years, and it’s readily available in supermarkets and pharmacies.
Soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes and dry thoroughly afterward. Don’t forget to moisturise your feet to keep the skin soft and supple.
A Relaxing Massage
You can do this yourself or get a partner or friend to help you. Sit down comfortably and put one foot on the opposite thigh. Gently knead the sole with your thumbs or knuckles, or press more firmly if that feels relaxing.
Work along the length of your foot from the heel to the toes (always stop if anything hurts). Finish by gently rubbing, rotating and bending each toe. You might want to use foot lotion as you massage to keep everything smooth and easy.
Stretch and Exercise
Being active is the best way to keep your feet in good shape, and a walk every day will do the trick. It’s also good to add some simple stretches to ease tight muscles and help build strength. Do this after massaging, as your muscles will be relaxed.
Freeze a bottle of water and roll the sole of each foot across the bottle for around 10 minutes (make sure you’re wearing socks or wrap the bottle in a tee towel to prevent ice burn). This reduces inflammation, which is often the cause of aches and pains.
Check Your Shoes
Your shoes need to fit the shape of your feet and provide cushioning, support and balance. They mustn’t be too tight or too loose, and heels shouldn’t be excessively high. It’s also preferable to have some way of adjusting the fit, such as straps or laces, as feet can easily change size. Most of us have one foot bigger than the other and it’s common for feet to swell in warm weather, so it’s never one size fits all.
The wrong shoes affect your gait, stability and posture, which leads to all sorts of painful problems with ankles, feet and toes. Orthotic inserts are also an option as they correct posture and gait to ease pressure and pain.
Topical Pain-Relieving Creams
These over-the-counter creams are an easy way to soothe and revive aching and tired feet. Peppermint oil, menthol and eucalyptus balms have a cooling effect similar to icing. Some creams contain ingredients such as ginger and lavender essential oil to help with muscle pain and encourage good circulation.
The Right Choice for You
It’s always a good idea to speak to an expert before starting any new exercise or applying new lotions and potions.
Why not treat your feet to a thorough MOT? At Feet By Pody you’ll discover the best way to keep your feet healthy and comfortable.