Your feet hold one-quarter of the bones in your body (26 in all), along with 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and multiple tendons that allow you to walk, point your toes, jump, hop, skip and move in countless other ways.[i]
It is not normal for your feet to ache, though it may seem that way because the majority of Americans (75 percent) will have problems with their feet at some point during their lives, according to the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association (IPMA).[ii] As far as pain is concerned, about half of Americans experience foot pain at some point.[iii]
If you spend a lot of time on your feet or you’re older (which means you’ve accumulated a lifetime of wear and tear), you’re more likely to struggle with aching feet, but really anyone can be affected. And when you consider that by the age of 70 the average American will have walked the equivalent of four times around the globe,[iv] it’s easy to see why.
So what can you do to relieve your aching feet?
Sit in a chair and rest your left leg on your right thigh. Put a small amount of massage oil, such as coconut oil, into your hand and massage it into your foot, kneading as you would a piece of dough. You can also use both hands and press your palms, fingers and/or thumbs firmly against your toes, arch and heel. Pull your toes back, push them forward and gently pull them apart. Repeat on the other foot.[v]
Elevate Your Legs
If your feet are painful and swollen after a long day of standing (or even sitting), lie on a bed or couch with your legs elevated above your heart.
Standing Stretch (Great for Arch Pain)
Stand facing a wall with one leg forward and the toes of that foot resting on the wall, the other even with your body. Then lean forward slightly to stretch the arch of your foot. Repeat on the other foot.
Sitting Stretch (Works for Heel Pain, e.g. Plantar Fasciitis)
A University of Rochester study found that performing this stretch relieved pain in 75 percent of those with plantar fasciitis after being performed three times daily for three to six months.[vi]
Sit in a chair and rest your left leg on your right thigh. Hold your toes, bending them backward toward your shin to stretch the tissue that connects the bottom of your heel to the ball of your foot.
Heel Raises and Toe Points for Toe Cramps
Simple heel raises (stand and lift your heels so you are standing on the balls of your feet for about 10 seconds), repeated about 10 times, can help relieve toe cramps. [vii] Raising, pointing and curling your toes for five seconds, repeated 10 times, is also useful for toe cramps, according to the American Podiatry Medical Association (APMA).
Tennis Ball Roll
A tennis ball makes an excellent massage tool. Simply roll your foot (the ball, arch and heel) over the tennis ball at varying pressures. You can also use a golf ball for firmer, more targeted pressure.
Cup your heel in your hand then rotate each ankle slowly five times to help loosen ankle joints and relax your feet.[viii]
Epsom Salt Foot Bath
Add 1/2 cup of Epsom salts to a basin of warm water and soak your feet for 20 minutes to ease pain and relax the muscles in your feet.
Written By: Updated: September 13,2014