You probably don't give your feet too much thought – until they start hurting.
Whether you're a dedicated couch potato, a marathon runner or somewhere in between, your feet can develop a variety of issues, from simple fatigue to more serious problems.
The following are five ways to help ease foot pain:
Treat your blisters
A new pair of shoes or hours spent pounding the pavement can cause painful blisters that may leave you limping. If you have a blister, Dr. Perry Julien, a podiatrist with Atlanta Foot and Ankle Center, recommends cleaning it well and applying a pad to cushion and protect the area. In most cases, blisters will heal on their own, he said. But if you have one that isn't healing, you can drain it by lancing it with a clean, sterile needle and then covering the area with an antiseptic and a bandage. Leave the skin over the top intact to protect the tender skin underneath.
Give yourself a massage
Harvard Health Publications suggests a massage to alleviate pain, but experts from the publication caution that it shouldn't be used if your foot is inflamed or injured.
The following method is recommended:
- Sit in a chair, then bend your leg and rest your foot on the opposite thigh.
- Use lotion or oil, rubbing it into your whole foot.
- Use your knuckles to knead your foot, or press your thumbs into your foot.
- Pull your toes back and forth or apart.
Help your heels
The fat pads that help cushion your heels can lose elasticity, resulting in a dull, chronic ache in the center of your heel, according to Prevention. The site recommends wearing comfortable flats and an over-the-counter heel pad or cup in your shoe for extra cushioning.
Icing can also help alleviate foot pain. Freeze a plastic bottle filled with water, and roll your heel and foot over it for about 10 minutes on days when you're experiencing pain.
Soak your feet
Sore feet can feel refreshed after soaking. Reader's Digest suggests filling one basin with cold water and another with hot Start by soaking your feet in the cold water, then switch to the hot water after five minutes. Alternating cold with hot constricts and dilates your blood vessels, which improves circulation.
You can also try soaking your feel in a bowl of hot water with a few drops of essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus or rosemary.
Check out your medicine cabinet
Over-the-counter medications can sometimes help relieve foot pain, says Harvard Health Publications, but if your problem is ongoing, you should see a doctor. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve pain as well as inflammation and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can reduce pain. Pain-relieving topical creams and ointments are also available without a prescription.
For longer-term issues, your doctor may prescribe prescription-strength NSAIDs or other medications. You may also receive corticosteroids in the form of pills or injections to help relieve inflammation and the resulting pain.