Whether you suffer from foot pain related to your occupation or to a previous injury, you know that discomfort in your feet can dramatically impact your life. If you experience foot pain, the first step toward recovery is seeing a podiatrist.
After addressing the root of the problem, he or she may recommend stretches, medication, or support equipment to diminish your pain over time. You should follow these instructions carefully for your best results.
But what about minor, day-to-day foot pain between appointments? In this blog, we provide six strategies to help reduce your discomfort until you see your podiatrist again.
1. Elevate the Affected Area
If you experience your worst pain at the end of a long work day, simply elevating your feet can help. Prop your feet up on a stool or pillow to reduce swelling and tenderness. If possible, elevate your feet when you take breaks throughout the day to decrease the intensity of your pain when you get home.
2. Employ Cold Therapy
Many types of foot pain come from inflammatory responses. To reduce the inflammation, and by extension the pain, ice the affected area. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and place the compress where you feel the most pain. For extra relief, use a frozen water bottle and roll it under your foot.
3. Have a Foot Massage
Massage can release tension and pressure from your feet. You can rub your feet yourself, have a family member do it, or visit a professional. If you choose to try at-home massage, be gentle and progress slowly so as not to damage the delicate bones in the feet. Work the areas around your worst pain before attempting to massage the pain source. Do not attempt massage if you suspect you have a fracture.
4. Soak in a Warm Bath
Warm water encourages blood flow and improves localized healing. A foot bath that lasts 5 to 10 minutes can do a lot to diminish your pain quickly. To increase the bath’s effects, use the recommended amount of Epsom salt in the water. If you have any open wounds, however, simply use water and gentle soap if desired.
5. Try a Topical Ointment
If over-the-counter oral pain medication doesn’t seem to address your foot pain, consider a topical ointment. Look for an ointment specifically intended to reduce inflammation. As with Epsom salt, do not use ointments on open wounds.
6. Use Gentle Stretches
Stiffness can increase and even cause pain. Methodical toe, foot, ankle, and leg stretches can reduce the amount of pain you feel. To start, sit on the floor with your legs together and straight. Point your toes and feet. Then, lift just your toes, followed by flexing your feet. Hold each position for 10 to 30 seconds.
For your best results, add lower limb stretches to your morning routine to prepare your feet and legs for the upcoming day.
Remember, if you notice a sudden change in your foot pain, report it to your podiatrist as soon as possible. This change could come in many forms, from increased intensity to numbness in addition to your usual symptoms. If your pain changes, your situation may also have changed and your podiatrist will want to evaluate your condition.
Additionally, do not use any strategy on this list that goes against instructions from your podiatrist. While these techniques work for many patients, they can exacerbate certain conditions. Your podiatrist’s advice always takes priority over home remedies of any kind.
If you have frequent foot pain, use these strategies to reduce your discomfort and discuss your symptoms with an expert from the Advanced Foot & Ankle Centers of Illinois.