Just as a deficiency in collagen can lead to sagging skin, and those lines and wrinkles on your face. It can lead to aching feet.
The cushion on the bottom of your feet starts to thin out as collagen production slows with age, and that’s just one physical change in your feet that may leave you with more aches and pains as you get older.
The good news is that you don’t have to limit your daily activity level to accommodate your feet. Here are some natural ways to relieve the aches without leaving home.
1. Give yourself a foot bath with Epsom salt.
A home foot bath will cost you anywhere from $20 to well over $100, depending on the features. You can pick one up at most local stores, including many pharmacies. You’ll find a wider assortment of features and prices if you shop online and have it delivered to your doorstep. Epsom salt should cost $5 or less at a local store, but you may also consider salts with added ingredients to help your feet in other ways.
For instance, Epsom salt with tea tree oil may help relieve or prevent toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. Epsom salt with lavender oil may help you relax and fall asleep faster.
Simply add warm water to your foot bath, add some salt, and relax for 10 or 15 minutes. That’s enough time to soothe aching feet, but you may consider soaking for 30-60 minutes if your goal is also to prevent or eliminate foot fungus. The magnesium and sulfate found naturally in Epsom salt will have more time to break down in your warm water and enter your bloodstream. This can also help relieve inflammation.
Keep some lotion nearby and lather your feet up after the bath, ensuring that your skin doesn’t dry out from frequent or lengthy soaks.
2. Give your aching feet a proper massage.
While paying for a professional massage from time to time won’t hurt, you don’t have to go to that expense to massage away foot aches. The simplest and least expensive foot massagers are small, textured rollers or balls that you place on the floor and roll your foot over. You can also buy dual massage rollers that allow you to relax while massaging both feet. The dual rollers often cost just a few bucks more than the single rollers, and it’s not as easy for your dog or cat to run off with these larger units.
If you really want to keep your feet ready for the action of daily life, invest in a medical-grade massager that adds heat and vibration. These units are designed to do more than just relieve minor aches, so they may help if you’re facing more substantial pain. They’re also extremely relaxing and may help you overcome stress or ease into sleep at night.
3. Equip your aching feet for more comfortable activity.
Some of the most common aches and pains are caused by one or more of the following footwear problems:
Sometimes simple mistakes like not wearing socks with your sneakers can contribute to aching feet as well. Start paying attention to how your feet feel after wearing different shoes for varying lengths of time. You may find that your problem is easily solved going for something with more support or getting a professional fitting to ensure that the type of shoes you wear are compatible with your walking style.
In some cases, wearing inserts can help if the problem is cushioning. See a foot doctor to discuss the type of inserts that may work best for your feet and your lifestyle.
4. Stretch it out.
Gently stretching your foot muscles can help ease some of the aching, but make sure not to stretch to the point of pain. The best method is to use a towel or fitness stretch band to wrap around the center of your foot. You can then pull the towel or band toward your core, stretching your foot back until you feel a subtle stretch through the bottom of the foot. Try to keep your leg straight throughout the stretch.
Try doing this right after your warm foot bath. Your foot muscles are relaxed and flexible at that time, so you should get a deeper and more rewarding stretch.
5. Strengthen your feet through exercise.
Never pass up an opportunity to pick up socks, pens and other dropped items with your toes. Go up and down on your toes to stretch your foot and warm up your calves while you’re waiting in line. Point and flex your feet while watching television. These simple exercises keep your feet strong, stretched and active. This may lead to fewer aches and pains in the future.
If your feet aren’t causing you any problems right now, it’s the perfect time to start protecting them to minimize aches and pains to come. Start by investing in well-constructed shoes with adequate support, and make sure that they fit your feet properly. Start applying lotion daily and inspecting your feet for any signs of calluses or dry, cracked skin. Applying heel balm to those areas can prevent the formation of calluses which may cause future pain.
Once your feet are properly protected and supported, you can use the tips listed above to care for your feet properly. While there is no way to prevent aging and keep the pads of your feet plump with protective padding, there are always options for adjusting your lifestyle to the natural changes occurring throughout your body.
If you try everything on this list and you’re still having issues with aching feet, consider seeing a doctor to rule out more severe medical issues that may require more aggressive treatment. You may also want to consider acupuncture. This alternative treatment can serve as a therapeutic or preventative procedure, so make sure to tell your provider exactly what you’re experiencing with your feet.