Let’s face it, we are almost always on our feet from the moment we get out of bed until the time we shut our eyes! During the day we are either standing, walking or sitting down depending on our job or schedule, sometimes for short or longer periods of time. Now and again your feet deserve a break, so here are the 5 Best Ways to Relax your Feet!
Warm water therapy has of course been around for a long, long time and has consistently been used at all levels. From the lay person and the general public to peak performance athletic applications when aiming to reduce pain and swelling.
A general guideline is soaking in ‘warm’ not hot water in order to prevent scalding and for no longer than 30 minutes (studies have shown 20 minutes produced a maximum effect). If your aim is to reduce swelling in your feet, then consider taking a cold or ice foot bath following the warm foot bath for 10 minutes.
Lastly as a safety precaution, always remember to keep a towel nearby in order to dry your feet thoroughly afterwards, therefore preventing slipping and falling.
Sore feet can be due to swelling, so elevating your feet to at least 6 to 12 inches above the level of your heart can be great for improving circulation and decreasing swelling of the feet. Doing this will allow gravity to draw the swelling down as the blood moves naturally away from the leg veins, into circulation rather than pooling in your feet.
There are many ways to do this, from elevating your feet off the ground onto a stool when you’re sitting down working at your desk or using pillows whilst lying on a sofa. This can be done anywhere and little or no equipment is needed, it just needs a bit of thought and improvisation.
3. Wear shoe orthotics
You may want to consider investing in a pair of orthotics if you either have flat feet, are always on your toes or simply want protection and comfort for your feet. Orthotics are customised shoe inserts that support the arch of your foot and correct excessive rolling of the foot known as pronation or supination and therefore improve foot and lower limb biomechanics when you’re either standing, walking or running. This may also reduce pain in the lower back, heel and knee.
Custom orthotics can be made by health professionals such as podiatrists and chiropractors. However this can be expensive unless covered by your health insurance, so well selected, off-the-shelf orthopaedic shoe insoles are a great alternative, considerably cheaper and can be just as effective at providing quick relief. Some brands such as Scholl even have gel-padded insoles that provide extra cushioning comfort thereby helping reduce the pressure, shock and impact that is put on your feet.
4. Losing weight
If you’re overweight or obese, weight loss and maintaining a healthy body weight can significantly reduce the pressure on the feet and lower limbs as well as preventing a variety of associated foot health problems. We can help ensure this by consuming a well-balanced diet combined with regular activity. Take a look at our earlier article 5 Top Foods to Ensure Healthy Feet for further information.
Rolling your feet works the bottom of your feet known in particular as the plantar fascia ligament and can potentially relieve mild-to-moderate discomfort.
Simply sit down with both feet flat on the ground and use any round object (e.g. golf ball, tennis ball, tin can). Using the arch of your foot, roll the round object in all directions. Perform for a few minutes on each foot (ideally 5-10 mins). For more foot exercises please stay tuned for our 5 Top Foot Exercises article coming soon!
Introducing these methods into your health program and lifestyle is one of many ways that have been proven to improve foot health and relax your feet considerably! There are plenty of alternative methods which help to relax your feet, and you should certainly consider seeing a foot health expert (podiatrist) if you’re concerned. As specialists in feet they can offer excellent advice particularly if you have chronic or severe foot pain.
Stay tuned for more foot health and podiatry articles and we’ll also be dipping our toes into the footwear arena helping you to put your best foot forward whatever your activity!