Invigorate Tired Feet
Foot pain is often a natural consequence of standing all day. But simple at-home exercises and relaxation measures can help chase away pain and invigorate tired feet.
Standing on your feet all day? You’re not alone. According to a recent survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), 61 percent of women spend more than four hours on their feet daily.
Foot pain is often a natural consequence of standing all day. “Your feet carry the entire weight of your body when you’re standing, so the more hours you’re on your feet, the more likely you’ll experience foot pain,” says Elizabeth Kurtz, DPM, a podiatrist in Chicago and spokeswoman for the APMA. But it’s easy to find relief for aching feet.
Foot Pain: At-Home Exercises
Try these exercises and relaxation measures when your feet are beat.
Point your toes. To ease foot pain and aching in your feet, lift one foot and roll it downward until the toes are pointed toward the ground. Then flex your foot. Repeat using the other foot. “This exercise will help stretch out all the small muscles that are on the bottom of your feet, which can help relieve aching and improve blood circulation,” says Dr. Kurtz.
Raise your heels. This exercise is good for relieving toe cramps caused by standing for hours in constricting shoes, says Kurtz. Bonus: It can also strengthen calf muscles and make them look more defined. Stand up and lift your heels so that you are standing on the balls of your feet. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Squeeze your toes. To strengthen the toes and help alleviate foot pain from hammertoes (when a toe resembles a claw), separate your toes using corks or foam toe separators and then squeeze your toes together for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Roll a ball. Want to create an instant massage for the bottom of your feet? Roll a golf ball or tennis ball under the ball of your foot. Apply light pressure for about two minutes. This exercise can be helpful for arch pain, cramps, and heel pain from plantar fasciitis, according to the APMA.
Stretch standing up. “A weight-bearing, runners-type stretch can be helpful for foot pain in the arch,” says Kurtz. Stand up and place your toes against a wall; lean forward a little until you feel your arch stretch. Repeat using the other foot.
Stretch sitting down. Sit barefoot and cross your left leg so that your ankle rests on your right thigh. Then hold your toes and bend them back toward your shin, stretching the band of tissue connecting the bottom of the heel to the ball. A University of Rochester study found that people living with plantar fasciitis had a 75 percent chance of having no pain within three to six months of performing this stretch three times daily.
Give yourself a foot massage. Nothing spells pain relief like a good foot rub. Use the following technique recommended by Rhonda Crockett, a licensed massage therapist at Ohio State University’s Center for Integrative Medicine in Columbus. Start with your toes, using your thumb to massage them in circular motions. Then move to the arch under your foot and gradually work your way down to the heel, applying pressure with your fingers and palm of your hand. Use lotion to allow your hand to move smoothly over your foot.
Relax in a warm bath with Epsom salts. The combination of warm water and Epsom salts will give you a double dose of pain relief and relaxation. “Magnesium sulfate, the key compound in Epsom salts, has been found to relax muscles, reduce pain, and sedate the nervous system,” says Crockett. Plus, warm water helps improve circulation in the feet and relieve muscle pain. Crockett recommends adding two cups of Epsom salts to a warm bath and soaking for 20 minutes.
RIVERA FOOT & ANKLE: At Orlando H.Rivera DPM, our priority is to deliver quality care to informed patients in a comfortable and convenient setting. When you have problems with your feet, you need to turn to a podiatrist who listens and responds… an experienced doctor who knows the field and can effectively diagnose and treat your needs… a friendly physician who counsels you on the best ways to maintain and improve your health. Our physician(s) meet all these criteria. Plus, you benefit from a dedicated team of trained professionals who give you the individualized attention you deserve.
Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialist.
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