6 Easy Ways to Beat Sore Feet

Help sore feet with these simple solutions.

If you have tired, sore, aching feet at the end of your day, you're not alone. Whether you stand all day, deal with a foot bunion, have sunburned feet, or simply wore shoes that are more fashionable than functional, there are plenty of reasons you may have aching feet. Luckily, 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 they are nothing to worry about.

However, there's one red flag that should catch your attention. "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."

If your discomfort is more of the sore and aching variety, there are plenty of easy sore feet remedies, stretches, and exercises to get your toes back in walking shape.

6 Simple Sore Feet Remedies

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Elevate your feet

Elevating your feet helps move blood up and out of your legs, and 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. Lie down on your back, and place a pillow or two under your knees and ankles to raise your feet up.

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Move them

Moving your feet in a 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.)

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Try a 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 it toward the knee. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat five times and then switch feet.

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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 6 inches from the wall, and the other foot 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 this five times.

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Hydrate your feet

Keep your feet hydrated, either by 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 your lotion before applying it. Place 1 cup of water in the microwave for two minutes. 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 make them feel better. Simply rinse your towel in the sink, wring it out, and microwave it for 30 seconds. Gently wrap around your feet and relax.

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Wear compression socks or stockings

Using compression gear can help the blood move out of your feet, preventing swelling in 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 you purchase. Compression socks should feel comfortable. Don't forget to check your skin for irritation or bruising, which signals that the compression is too tight.

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