Your feet are often the most neglected and ignored part of your body, until they hurt. Then each step or minute of standing reminds you how much you depend on your feet. Foot pain is not normal, and often signifies an underlying problem. You can take some simple steps on your own initially for your pain, but if these fail to help you should seek professional care.
1. Proper Shoe Gear
Shoes are a very important initial treatment if you are experiencing foot pain. Here are some suggestions about shoes for aching feet:
- Get your foot measured by a qualified shoe fitter for both length and width, preferably at the end of the day.
- Wear the correct type of shoe for the type of activities you are doing. For everyday walking, consider a cross trainer or running shoe if possible. If you must wear dress shoes, visit a good shoe store for recommendations and make sure you try on several pairs.
- Replace worn shoes.
2. Arch Support and Shock Absorption
Arch support and shock absorption can go a long way to decrease foot pain. However, this can be confusing due to the abundance of products available. Here are some tips to consider for an over-the-counter arch support:
- A support that is entirely soft acts as a cushion only and does not provide any support.
- Look for something costing in the range of $25 – 75; anything more is not worth the extra money and you would be better off with a custom made device from a professional.
- Look for an arch support that is multi-layer, with soft shock absorbing materials on the top and bottom with some type of supportive plastic material in the middle.
Tightness of the Achilles tendon (heel cord) is a common cause or component of several foot conditions. Stretching of the Achilles tendon is very helpful, but must be done correctly:
- Start facing a wall with one leg in front of the other and the toes pointing straight ahead.
- Lean into the wall with both hands against it.
- Bend the front knee and keep the back knee straight.
- As you lean forward, you should feel a slight stretch in your calf; hold this for 10 seconds.
- Come back out of the stretch. This counts as one stretch.
- Perform this 10 times on the back leg.
- Switch legs and perform 10 times on the other leg.
4. RICE Therapy
RICE therapy is commonly used for acute conditions and simply stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
- Rest: You may need to discontinue any activities that aggravate your foot pain.
- Ice: 20 minutes three to four times a day. Should be avoided if you have poor circulation or are diabetic.
- Compression: Ace wrap or compression type of bandage. Should be avoided if you have poor circulation or are diabetic.
- Elevation: Elevate the affected area, when possible, to heart level.
5. OTC Anti-inflammatory Medication
Consider taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication according to package instructions and precautions if you are able. If there is a question about this, please consult your physician.