If you suffer from foot pain, chances are you know all about traditional remedies: ice, foot elevation, and a luxurious Epsom salt soak. It’s hard to go wrong with these classic doctor recommendations. But beyond the most tried-and-true methods, there are other remedies that can help relieve your aching feet.
Fortunately, some of the most soothing DIY tricks require essential oils, nutrient supplements, or simple tools that you likely already have in your home. In other words, you can give your feet some extra TLC without having to go the extra mile. Check out these natural home remedies below.
Soak your feet in a peppermint bath.
Peppermint is a valuable essential oil to have in your home because it can be used to treat a variety of different aches and ailments. The oil contains menthol, an organic compound well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Peppermint oil can soothe irritable bowel syndrome and dysphagia, and the aroma may relax the airway and bronchial tubes, making it easier to breathe, as noted in studies from the Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics Journal and the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine.
Additional research has shown that peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory effects when applied topically, and can reduce cracked skin. As such, soaking your feet in a bath full of cool water and peppermint oil may greatly reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain in your feet, and soften cracks in your skin. If you don’t have peppermint oil, peppermint tea may work just as well.
Take a regular dose of fish oil.
If you’ve exhausted the typical topical remedies for foot pain, you might consider healing your feet from the inside-out. Joint issues can cause a wealth of aches and pains in your feet, so one of the best ways to reduce your overall discomfort may be to focus on your joint health.
So, what’s the best OTC pill for joint pain? It’s fish oil, as you may have guessed. Fish oil contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can greatly improve the health of your joints. The reason? Omega-3s seem to suppress macrophages, which are immune cells that help coordinate inflammatory reactions. While macrophages play an important role in immune system health, unnecessary inflammation can be damaging to the body.
Upping your intake of omega-3s can therefore help lower inflammation in your entire body. With regular usage, you may find that fish oil pills will lessen the severity of joint symptoms in your ankles and feet, reduce stiffness and swelling, and improve your overall discomfort.
Massage your feet with a tennis ball and soothing oils.
A regular foot massage can do wonders for your feet, and a regular tennis ball is the perfect tool to do it. Massaging your feet can help loosen connective tissues and stimulate muscles. Harvard Health points out that it also improves circulation and eases pain.
To perform a foot massage with a tennis ball, hold onto a sturdy ledge or table, place the ball on the ground and gently roll it underneath your foot, paying special attention to sore areas. You may need to put more pressure on your foot than you think to get a deep massage. If you are concerned about maintaining your balance or want to lessen the amount of pressure from the tennis ball, perform the massage while sitting in a chair. Keep in mind that soreness is normal and may be a sign that you’re relieving tension. If you feel pain, on the other hand, you should significantly lessen the pressure you put on that area of your foot.
Trust in preventative measures.
Last but not least, it’s very important to listen to your feet and get ahead of your pain before it becomes exacerbated. Preventative measures, such as elevating your feet at the end of a long and difficult day, or icing them for 15 minutes at a time, will do wonders in reducing swelling and keeping your symptoms from getting worse.
To prevent pain in the first place, it’s also a good idea to perform regular stretching and strengthening exercises, and invest in a good pair of orthotics and comfortable shoes. As always, speak to your doctor or podiatrist to determine which stretching exercises and tools will help you in your recovery.