Foot pain can be a real… well, pain in the foot! Tired, achy or swollen feet affect up to 80 percent of the population, according to a survey from the Institute of Preventative Foot Health. For many, it may just be the effect of long hours logged walking or standing that cause tired tootsies at night.
Yet for others, it could be one of any number of conditions that cause awkward hobbling about. From plantar fasciitis and bunions to hammer toes and fungal infections, feet can fall victim to any number of ailments if not treated properly.
The next time your toes start screaming, avoid medications with their long list of side-effects and steer clear of lotions and creams consisting of a number of potentially dangerous toxins and chemicals. Instead, try some of these natural remedies to keep your feet feeling their finest.
Warm cinnamon soak: For nasty fungal infections like athlete’s foot (which affects up to 70 percent of people at some point in their lives), try a warm cinnamon soak. Boil a bucket of water and add a few sticks of organic cinnamon. Cinnamon is an antifungal and can help relieve the itchiness.
Once the water is cooled to a tolerable level, soak your feet for 20 minutes. Repeat the process daily until the condition clears up.
Hot/Cold therapy: On their own, both hot and cold therapies have their merits. Combined, however, they can speed healing to injured areas. Fill one bucket with hot water and one with ice cold water.
Soak your feet in the hot water for three minutes before switching over to the cold for a one minute soak. Repeat the process a few times. The heat will promote healthy blood flow while the cold water will reduce the inflammation.
Clove oil massage: Tired toes deserve a good rub-down now and again. Clove oil not only boosts circulation, but can also act as an antifungal to reduce your risk of developing an infection. A few drops go a long way, so use sparingly. The oil can also be diluted with olive oil if you have a sensitivity to cloves.
Sage leaf wrap: Smelly feet can be a big embarrassment, especially in a shoe store or when receiving a pedicure. Put an end to foot odor for good with a sage leaf wrap. Sage also acts as an anti-inflammatory so your feet will not only be odor-free, but also pain-free.
Add a handful of sage leaves to one cup of apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for five minutes. Once cooled, allow a cotton towel to absorb the mixture and wrap it around your feet.
Cayenne pepper soak: The compound that gives cayenne pepper its zip, capsaicin, is also an excellent anti-inflammatory. Add ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to about ½ bucket of hot water. Allow your feet to soak for up to 20 minutes.
These natural remedies can get you back on your feet in no time. But as always, prevention is the best medicine. The Institute of Preventive Foot Health found that individuals who exercised regularly and maintained a healthy weight experienced the least amount of foot pain. Not surprisingly, overweight and obese individuals experienced the most.
Be sure to exercise regularly, wear proper footwear throughout the day and stretch your feet and calves after a workout and at the end of the day. Avoid walking barefoot in places where fungus and germs are prevalent, such as gyms or saunas, and eat a nutritious diet to care for yourself from the inside out.
-The Alternative Daily