It’s the end of your day and your feet hurt so much that you wish you could throw them away. Unfortunately, humans cannot grow new appendages. However, changing our behavior is within the realm of solutions for your foot pain* problem.
Twenty-six small bones in each foot make up the articulations of your feet which are held together by strong ligaments and supported by muscles intrinsic to your feet. The tendons of some of the muscles that originate in your lower leg cross the bottom of your feet reinforcing your feet architecture with the help of the plantar fascia. All of these are potential sites for excruciating pain if you don’t take care of your feet on a regular basis.
Your feet are extremely important for the overall functioning of your body. They are the first structures that absorb shock from the ground when we walk, thus taking away some stress away from the spine. They provide information to the brain so that it adapts our posture and movements to straighten our heads so that our eyes are level with the ground to avoid tripping or falling.
When we walk on shoes, we diminish the proprioceptive capacity of our feet. High heels shorten women’s calf muscles and cram their toes. When some people stand, they put their body weight on one leg creating imbalances on their pelvic/hip joints which will directly affect the health of their feet.
As soon as your feet start hurting, your body movement changes. Your arm swing increases or decreases to lighten the load on the foot that hurts. Your body may waddle. You favor the foot that hurts by standing on the opposite foot. Before you know it, you will develop a compensatory posture and gait that will cause injuries to joints far away from your feet like your shoulders or even your neck. The compensatory changes will remain even after your injury.
The solution? Correct your body mechanics. Buy comfortable shoes that are as flat as possible. Don’t wear heels! Balance your body weight between both legs. And finally, pamper your feet.
So, to relief pain and increase circulation in your feet after a long day standing, walking or even sitting, try a massage. But wait? Did I say a foot massage?! Even if your significant other sucks at massaging, even if you don’t have massage figured into your monthly budget (which you should by the way}, you can still get a good massage. No more excuses! You can recruit the help of a tennis ball or a golf ball. Tennis balls are better to start with, but you will quickly feel that you will need to progress to golf balls.
Sit comfortably, but make sure your feet can reach the floor. Place the ball under the arch of your foot. You can move the ball from the ball of your foot to your heel in straight lines going from the inside to the outside of your foot. Pay attention to the arch of your foot especially its inside edge. Reflexologists believe the spine is represented in that area. Stop and apply pressure on the tender areas for a few seconds, roll the ball through the foot for a while, and then return to the tender areas. Make a cycle. Do this for 5 minutes on each foot to start. Drink water afterwards.
Best of all is that you can massage your feet while watching TV,or working in front of the computer. For those workaholics out there, this will not take time away from your daily routine since you can multitask already. Now , go pamper your feet without ruining your pocket. You will feel like you are walking in the clouds after your magic ball massage.
*Persistent foot pain may indicate a serious problem. Visit your Podiatrist or Chiropractor to diagnose the problem. Blood work or diagnostic imaging might be needed to rule out serious conditions. Rehabilitation exercises and orthotics might be needed for correction.