After a long day, nothing feels better than slipping out of your heels or work shoes into some comfortable slippers. But what if you’re noticing that more often then not, your feet are staying sore for hours? What helps sore feet after work? Learn nine treatments you can try at home to feel better fast.
Add a few inches of warm water to a bucket, foot basin or even your bathtub. Allow your feet to rest for 15-20 minutes. You can add Epsom salt to the water as it has been shown to help with muscle soreness due to the high concentration of magnesium. There are even Epsom salts that are scented with lavender or eucalyptus for an extra boost of aromatherapy and relaxation.
If you can’t soak your feet, the next best thing might be a hot compress or a heating pad. A hot compress is a type of moist heat. You can purchase a hot compress at a drugstore or make your own at home by warming a damp towel. For a spa-like experience add some aromatherapy by dropping your favorite essential oil into the water you use to soak the towel.
This is a fancy way of saying self-massage. You can buy rollers or specially designed balls to help you with this. The pressure from the roller or ball acts like a person massaging your feet to release the tightness in your muscle fascia. It might hurt a little when you do this if your feet are especially tight, but with regular practice, your feet should be feeling better in no time.
If you can splurge for a pedicure, that will help your feet feel (and look) better in no time! In addition to getting some pretty color on your toes, if that's your thing, the pedicure technician will take good care of your feet. Most pedicures include some massage and even hot stones on your legs. Splurge once in a while when you can!
If being active is more your thing, try a yoga class. Poses like downward-facing dog can help stretch your feet and legs. If you’re hitting a class instead of practicing at home, let your instructor know your feet are sore. They may be able to offer you some additional postures to provide some relief.
If you spend most of your day on your feet or you are prone to soreness, you want to make sure you’re giving yourself every advantage you can. You want to buy the best, most supportive shoes you can afford for your feet. Consult a podiatrist or specialist to learn about whether you need arch support, ankle support or even some additional support via custom orthotics (shoe inserts). If you do go the orthotic route, buy shoes that fit your foot and the orthotic!
For soreness caused by too many long days on your feet try a massage. While you can book foot and leg specific massages, if you’re especially stressed try to go for a longer massage to rid your body of extra tension. Think about booking at a hotel that allows you to use their sauna or swim before or after your massage. Try to carve out a few hours to rest and recover.
If you need some quick relief, try popping some anti-inflammatory pain medication. This option should be used sparingly as there are risks to taking too much anti-inflammatory medication as well. You also should not drink excessively when taking them. It can cause stomach irritation and increase the risk of internal bleeding.
Topical analgesics are designed to relieve pain. Popular brands include Bengay, Icy Hot and Biofreeze. These products may feel warm or cool when you put them on. They can help “distract” your brain from the pain signals, thus helping you feel better faster. If the strong scent of these topicals bothers you, look for an unscented product or try a patch instead of a cream.
There are many reasons your feet might be sore. These include simply being on your feet too long or wearing high heels. "The reason heels are bad is because when you are in any kind of shoe that has elevation or a heel, your weight gets shifted forward to the ball of the foot," Jackie Sutera, a podiatric surgeon at City Podiatry in NYC, tells SELF Magazine in an interview. "The higher the heel, the more weight and pressure get shifted forward. Your knees and hips then have to push forward and your back has to hyperextend backwards to counterbalance," she explains. This can translate to leg, hip, and back pain. "It misaligns the whole skeleton and that’s in a nutshell why it's really bad for you." Soreness could also come from wearing the wrong shoes in general. You want to make sure that if you’ll be standing for a long time you wear shoes that are comfortable, fit well and support your feet. In short, invest in the best shoes you can.
You’ll want to be very careful if you're feeling soreness that is lasting more than 24-28 hours or if you're experiencing other symptoms along with the soreness in your feet. These could be signs of a more serious underlying medical condition.
You should seek medical care for sore feet if the soreness is getting worse or is accompanied by any pain. If you're having trouble bearing weight on one (or both) of your feet, you should see a doctor right away. Also, if you're noticing any bruising that won’t heal, swelling or nerve pain or if your pain is caused by a condition like bunions or hammertoe, see a doctor for additional pain-relieving options and to make sure the cause of your pain isn’t something more serious. For minor but common issues like plantar fasciitis or a twisted ankle, your doctor might just send you for some physical therapy to relieve the pain and treat the cause. This will help keep your feet and ankles strong and pain-free.
The other time it's important to seek medical attention for sore feet is if you have diabetes. Diabetics need to make sure to take care of their feet as the condition can cause nerve damage to the feet. If you have diabetes you should check your feet regularly for open wounds and wounds or bruising that's not healing properly. Before trying any of the treatments listed above, diabetics or anyone with chronic foot pain should consult a medical professional.
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