Help for Sore Aching Feet

Posted by on Friday, August 24th, 2012

There are jobs where you get to sit pretty much throughout your entire shift. For example, airline pilots. Bus drivers. Various cubicle-oriented office jobs. Restaurant critics, movie critics. People with those jobs probably don’t come home after work with their feet aching.

Then there are those who do stand. You know who you are–cashiers, restaurant workers, nurses, security guards, hair stylists, and many others. When you get home, your feet are almost always in pain (I know–I’ve had a number of those jobs).

Let’s not just confine this to the work day either–everyone’s had a day where they had to wait on line for a really long time, walk around more than usual (think vacations where you walk to all the tourist sites), stand during a long presentation. Aching feet are a part of life.

So what can we do about them? Here are some ways to deal with painful feet:

Prevention

Here are some steps you can take to lessen the pain in your feet if you regularly put a lot of stress on them or know you will be doing something that taxes them more than usual:

  • Make sure your shoes fit. Poorly fitting shoes can contribute to your aching feet, so get your feet professionally sized when you buy shoes. You may think you know your shoe size, but as we age, our feet spread out and change. Don’t get stuck in the habit of automatically picking up the same size; instead get your feet measured in the store. Always shop for shoes at the end of the day, too–feet swell from morning to evening so you’re more likely to get the right size at the end of the day.
  • Add some support. Your feet may be hurting more than normal because you have flat feet or high arches. You can buy various kinds of arch supports over the counter, but to guarantee you’re addressing the right problem, see a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) to get orthotics custom fit for your feet.
  • Wear the right kind of shoes for your activity. Don’t wear stilettos if you know you’re going to be standing for eight hours. Flip flops, which don’t offer support, are bad, too. Choose shoes that offer support.
  • Strengthen your feet. You can cut down on foot pain just by making your feet stronger. Try some of these foot exercises and activities to increase your feet’s ability to withstand pain.
  • Take care of your corns and calluses. These patches of thickened skin can become irritated when you spend a lot of time on your feet. Keep them in shape regularly rubbing them down with a pumice stone or carefully trimming them. You can also put pads on them; these are easily found in any drug store. If you’re not sure how to take care of corns and calluses, talk to a podiatrist.

So that’s prevention. Imagine your feet are already in pain (owww…I’m imagining too well…). What can you do to make them feel better?

  • Put your feet up, literally. Lie on the ground and elevate your feet above your head by putting them on a chair or stack of pillows. This will help the fluids that have pooled in your feet and made them swell rush away. Relax this way for about fifteen or twenty minutes.
  • Soak your feet in warm water. Adding a little tea tree oil or peppermint oil to the water will help, or you can add good old-fashioned Epsom salts. You can also sit on the edge of your bathtub and alternate running warm and cool water over your feet, one minute each way. End with a cool minute.
  • Moisturize your feet with peppermint foot lotion–peppermint is great for your feet. Trust me.
  • Get someone to give you a foot massage or learn how to massage your feet yourself. If your hands are tired too, try rolling your foot over a tennis ball while you sit and recover from the day (though don’t use your dog’s favorite tennis ball; you can’t enjoy a massage when a dog is giving you a sad, “I wanted to play with that” face).

There you go! Hopefully these tips will make your painful foot days a little less painful. If you think your foot pain is excessive, see a podiatrist to make user you don’t have something more complicated going on. You don’t want to miss a message from your feet.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.