The human foot is an amazing human structure with 33 joints and 26 bones. It also has a system of muscles, ligaments and tendons. The feet do an excellent job of enabling walking and running, promoting balance and supporting body weight. As an integral structure of the movement, it is not surprising that everyone experiences sore aching feet at times. Most of the time, home remedies for sore feet can bring the desired relief.
Feet Inform You About Health
Feet are often taken for granted until they hurt. They are like barometers of health too. Feet that experience tingling or numbness might be signaling diabetes. Feet that regularly swell could indicate a heart problem causing poor circulation. Persistent soreness in a foot might be a signal a bone was broken. Pain in any of the many joints could signal arthritis is developing.
Even problems with the spine can cause foot pain. For example, sciatica can lead to pain that travels as far as the foot. The peroneal nerve branches off the sciatic nerve at the knee and plays a role in foot sensation and movement. A spine condition like a lumbar (lower back) herniated disc may be the real cause of soreness at the top of the foot.
Other common causes of foot pain include being overweight, incurring an injury and even poor posture.
Many incidences of foot pain are due to overuse – too much standing, running or walking during a period of time. People who stand for long periods of time or do a lot of walking while at work, may go home with aching feet at the end of the workday. Sports enthusiasts, recreational joggers and treadmill walkers commonly experience sore and aching feet.
Why Feet Hurt
When experiencing sore feet from walking or feet hurt from standing, the sore achy feeling is likely due to inflammation of the tendons, ligaments and/or muscles. There can be general achiness in the foot or pain in a specific area.
For example, active people who frequently land hard on their feet while playing sports or games requiring jumping or who use their feet to propel their body forward are more likely to experience inflammation pain along with the balls of the feet. People with poor posture or unable to walk in a balanced manner might experience pain in the metatarsal bones (long bones connecting the toes to the rest of the foot) or the heel or along one side of the foot.
Other common reasons for sore feet include bunions, a high arch, calluses, compressed nerve and flat feet.
What to do For Sore Feet
Assuming there are no broken bones or tissue tears, learning how to cure aching feet focuses on reducing the inflammation. Find foot pain relief by:
- Resting the feet
- Elevating the feet for up to 20 minutes
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications, like Tylenol or Aleve
- Icing the foot or feet
- Soaking the feet in Epsom salts
- Doing exercises like flexing and pointing the toes, alternately lifting the toes and the heels and rolling the foot back and forth over a tennis ball
- Massaging the foot
- Using topical medications for pain relief
In some cases, knowing how to relieve foot pain with home remedies for a sore foot may not be enough. For example, tendinitis that is inflamed, irritated and causing pain can be treated with a steroid injection as well as pain relievers. Some people will require physical therapy to promote healing.
Preventing Sore Achy Feet
Just as important as knowing how to relax your feet after work or strenuous foot-pounding activity is knowing what you can do to prevent sore achy feet from overuse.
- Wear comfortable shoes that provide good cushioning, shock absorption and support
- Replace shoes that show signs of wearing down
- Wear the right size and width of shoes
- Wear socks that are not too tight and do not reduce blood circulation
- Add arch supports to shoes
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Regularly stretch and exercise the feet and ankles to keep muscles, tendons and ligaments healthy and stron
When the Feet Remain Sore
Keep in mind that it does take time to relieve inflammation with home remedies.
When home remedies do not seem to help the foot recover from overuse by reducing the sore achy feeling or swelling persists, it is important to see a physician.
A foot that remains swollen for more than several days, pain that gets worse instead of better and pain that continues for more than several weeks are all indications of a more serious problem than overuse. A physician can order tests to pinpoint the problem. Persistent pain could indicate there is a stress fracture or a medical condition is developing.