6 Easy Ways to Beat Sore Feet
If you have tired, sore, aching feet at the end of your day, you’re not alone. Whether you stand all day, you are overly familiar with the foot bunion, you have sunburned feet, or you wore a pair of shoes that are more fashionable than functional, there are plenty of reasons you may have aching feet—but there are plenty of remedies, too.
“Feet take a beating,” says Christopher Neville, PT, PhD, president of the Foot and Ankle Special Interest Group (part of the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy), and associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy Education at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “Feet are amazingly resilient, though, with what we put them through every day."
In most cases, sore feet are just that: They’re tired from a long day and nothing to worry about. There’s one red flag that should catch your attention, however.
“Pain is the biggest red flag,” says Alex Kor, DPM, a member podiatrist and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. “Pain is not normal. Unless a patient has no sensation to their feet (from neuropathy), a patient should not ignore foot pain and should see a podiatrist.”
6 simple sore feet remedies
1 Get them up
Elevating your feet helps move your blood up and out of your legs, back to your heart. This is a critical step to reduce any swelling. Most important, is that your feet are above your heart, Neville says. This means lying down on your back, and then placing a pillow or two under your knees and ankles to get your feet up.
2 Move your feet
Moving your feet in gentle range of motion increases blood flow. Try the Alphabet Range of Motion, Neville suggests. Gently trace the letters of the alphabet with each foot. (Doing this while both feet are elevated is even better.)
3 Towel foot stretch
Dr. Kor recommends doing this stretch in the morning prior to getting out of bed. Sit with one leg bent and your foot flat on the floor. Place the other leg straight out in front of you, with your knee straight. Then, place a towel around the ball of your foot to pull your foot toward the knee. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat five times and then switch feet.
4 Standing calf stretch
Do this stretch in the evening, Dr. Kor recommends. Face a wall. Place both hands about chest level on the wall. Place one foot about six inches from the wall, and the other foot about 12 inches behind. Bend your front knee and bring it toward the wall with both feet flat and pointed straight. The back leg should be straight. Slowly move your hips forward, until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Do five times.
5 Hydrate your feet
Keep your feet hydrated, either through applying lotion or soaking in a magnesium/sulfate salt bath, Neville says. Dry feet can be a precursor to further issues, such as open sores, also called foot ulcers, or irritating callouses. Take your relief one step further and warm up your lotion before applying it. Place a cup of water in the microwave for a minute or two. Remove the cup and place your lotion bottle in it. (Check the temperature before applying.) Wrapping your feet in warm towels will also hydrate and crank up the good feelings. Simply rinse your towel in the sink, wring it out, and then microwave it for 30 seconds. Gently wrap around your feet and relax.
6 Put on compression socks or stockings
Using compression gear can help the blood move up out of your feet, preventing swelling of your lower legs and ankles. Your sore feet will feel supported, eliminating the throbbing ache. Look for 8 to 15 mmHg of light compression on the package before purchasing. Make sure it feels comfortable, and check your skin for irritation or bruising, which signals that the compression level is too tight.