Painful Feet: 8 Easy Ways to Relieve Common Feet Problems

Home remedies to ease painful feet problems


painful feetPainful feet problems occur as a result of tight-fitting footwear, bunion growth, or heel pain. An ingrown toenail, calluses, corns, and even fungal infections like athlete’s foot are just a few sources of foot pain and discomfort.

However, bad foot conditions can also stem from fatigue, defective foot structure, and an abnormal walking manner. Here are some easy home remedies that can relieve your feet of some of the discomfort and pain.


Wear shoes that are comfortable and of the right size


Get rid of old and worn out shoes that affect your manner of walking. For your shoes to be comfortable and prevent painful feet, you have to find a pair that fits you perfectly. To get a perfect fit, shop for shoes in the afternoon or late in the day when your feet already had a chance to expand. Another great tip for trying out shoes is to stand up while being fitted. Walk around as this will make you aware of any sign of discomfort or a bad fit. Give your feet enough space at the front of the shoes to avoid your toes being compressed.


High-heeled shoes can injure your feet over time


high heels cause painful feetWomen are more likely to develop bunion and hammer toe than men. This is because women wear high-heeled shoes and are inclined to use them for extended periods. There are varying views whether high heels cause bunions or not. However, they definitely can contribute to the condition by pushing down and compressing the toes at the narrow front end of the shoes.

Instead, consider using platform shoes. They can make you appear taller and put your feet to stay in a level and comfortable position. Do not use shoes with heels higher than two inches.


Soak your feet pain away


After a hard day at work, you can freshen and invigorate your tired aching feet by soaking them in water. First sit in a chair, and soak them in a basin of cold water.  After 5 minutes, soak them in hot water that you can comfortably tolerate. Repeat. This alternate soaking dilates and contracts your feet’s blood vessels to improve circulation.


Treat your feet with essential oils


Essential oils are a great way to pamper your feet. Add 2 drops of peppermint oil to a bowl of hot water. Add in four drops each of rosemary and eucalyptus oil. Soak your feet in this mixture for ten minutes.

A strong cup of peppermint tea is a good alternative if there are no essential oils around. Simply add the tea to the bowl of water. You can also mix a half ounce of arnica tincture to warm water to make a soothing foot soak. This can stimulate blood circulation to ease painful feet quickly.

Another way to have an invigorating foot massage to relieve foot pain is to use 3 tablespoons of sesame oil mixed with 3 drops of clove oil. Combine these oils well and massage your feet with the mixture.

You can also try another foot massage recipe using 2 teaspoons olive oil combined with a drop of geranium oil, a drop of camomile oil, and 3 drops lavender oil.


Try foot stretches to relieve heel pain


heel pain reliefHeel pain that occurs mostly in the morning can be a sign of plantar fasciitis. This painful condition is marked by the inflammation of the thick connective tissue between the heel bone and the base of the toes. Read Foot Stretches for Heel Pain You Can Do At Home and 4 Easy Foot Stretches To Prevent Heel Pain In the Morning to minimize the chances of heel pain. You can also try HeelAid™ to alleviate the pain of plantar fasciitis.


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Use orthotics and shoe inserts


Orthotics and shoe inserts are two other methods of relieving or preventing heel pain that is usually caused by flat feet or fallen arches. It corrects unnatural walking pattern by altering the angle in which the user’s feet strikes the ground while walking.


Massage the soles of your feet


Wellness shops and health food stores sell rollers designed specifically to massage and stimulate the soles of your feet. This can help loosen the connective tendon under the sole and prevent painful feet usually caused by plantar fasciitis. As an alternative, you can roll your affected foot over a golf ball, a tennis ball, or a can of peas. Do this for several minutes.




Bunionectomy: How to Get Bunion Relief Without Surgery

Bunionectomy or bunion surgery is sometimes considered when a bunion makes walking difficult and painful. A bunion is an inflamed bony enlargement that occurs around a joint just below the big toe. It also develops at the base of the little toe where it is referred to as bunionette or tailor’s bunion. Bunions are also referred to as hallux valgus, a Latin term for foot deformity.

Bunions don’t happen overnight. They develop when the big toe leans toward the second toe and put pressure on the big toe joint. This causes the normal bone structure of the big toe to deform gradually, which results in the bunion swelling. Walking or wearing shoes becomes painful as the bulge increases in size.

While anyone can develop a bunion, the most widely affected are women. This is because many women love to use tight and narrow shoes that tend to compress the toes tightly together. The big toe being bent abnormally and pushing against the other toes is an ideal condition for a bunion to form.


Foot examination


A careful examination of your foot by a podiatrist will determine the right treatment for your condition. The exam will include some information about your symptoms, overall health, and medical history. While the condition of your foot and the bunion symptoms will be enough basis for a diagnosis, the doctor may also order a foot x-ray. This will enable the doctor to closely study how your toes are aligned and look for signs of joint damage.

Misaligned or damaged foot bones can affect the way you stand or walk. Your foot x-ray will be taken with you standing so the podiatrist can see how bad your foot bones have been misaligned. Once the severity of the bunion has been determined, the doctor can tell you whether a bunionectomy will be needed or not.


When Is a Bunionectomy Necessary?


bunionectomyAt first, the doctor may prescribe changes in your footwear along with other nonsurgical methods to check your bunion’s development. If the pain persists after some time and walking becomes more difficult, then the doctor may recommend hallux valgus correction or bunion surgery. This procedure can realign bones, joints, and ligaments to correct the position of the big toe.

Bunion correction can involve several surgical procedures. Most are performed and finished within one day and won’t require a stay in the hospital. However, a long period of recovery is typically required after a bunionectomy.

Performing bunion surgery to correct adolescent bunion is not generally necessary. It is an option only if the bunion becomes unbearably painful and does not improve with footwear changes and other nonsurgical treatments. Bunion surgery should ideally be done on an adolescent who has already reached skeletal maturity, otherwise there is a high probability that the bunion will recur.


Treatments without bunion surgery


There are certain treatment methods that can be employed without having to undergo bunionectomy. These nonsurgical methods cannot really shrink a bunion, but they can help alleviate the pain and prevent the bunion from growing worse.


Change your footwear


Bunions could be caused by not wearing footwear that is not right for your feet. Wear shoes with wide flexible sole that provide comfort and support to your foot. Be sure the shoes have enough space in the front (toe box) to make room for your bunion.


Wear shoes with the right fit


When shopping for new shoes, it is best to try them on late in the afternoon or at the end of the day. At this time of the day, your feet have already expanded. Remain standing while your shoes are being fitted. Make sure that there is ample room at the front of the shoe for your longest toe.


Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes for extended periods


As mentioned, bunions are more common in women because of their regular use of high heels. While high-heeled shoes don’t directly cause bunions as they are fundamentally genetic. However, they can trigger and aggravate the condition by pushing and cramming the toes down the narrow front of the shoes. If you must wear shoes that will give you a height increase, consider using platform shoes that allow your feet to stay on a level position. You can use heels as long as they are not higher than two inches.


Read about the bad shoe habits that hurt your feet over time     


Cushion your bunion


Cushion your bunion while wearing shoes by using foam or gel-filled pads that can be purchased from drugstores. These pads provide relief by absorbing some of the pressure and pain caused by walking.


Ice pack application


Apply an ice pack at various times during the day for 20 minutes at a time to help bring down the bunion swelling and pain. Do not apply the cold pack directly on your bare skin. Ice pack application is helpful particularly to persons who’s work requires them to be on their feet most of the time.


Take anti-inflammatory pain relievers


Take non-prescription painkillers like ibuprofen to bring down inflammation. On the other hand, your bunion could have been caused by arthritis. In this case, you would need to consult your doctor for prescription medication.


Consider shoe inserts and orthotics


You can consider trying custom-made orthotics or over-the-counter shoe inserts to relieve some of the pain and discomfort caused by your bunion. You can also try toe spacers that you can place between your toes. Some doctors also recommend night splints that you can wear as you sleep. It sets the big toe in a more comfortable position to help ease some of the pain.


Injection therapy


While it is a rare treatment method used for bunion relief, corticosteroid injections have shown positive results in reducing swelling of the bursa. Bursas are fluid-filled sacs located between joints. Inflamed bursas have been observed to accompany bunions at times.


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What Causes Bunions: Bunion Causes and Symptoms

A bunion is a bony outgrowth that develops on the joint right at the base of the big toe.The big toe forcibly pushing against the second toe is what causes bunions to form.

what causes bunions

Two joints make up the big toe, the largest of which is the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP). When the big toe leans against the next toe, it gets into an abnormally bent position, causing its joint to swell and bulge outward.

The resulting enlarged joint is usually red and bulbous. The term “bunion” is derived from the Greek word of the same name which means turnip.


Complications of bunions


While bunions are not frequent troublemakers, they can be stubborn and hang on indefinitely unless they are surgically fixed. If ever, complications that come with bunions can include:



In this condition, the ball of the foot becomes swollen and painful.



This is a condition where a toe’s middle joint is bent permanently downward. In the case of bunions, this is usually a result of the big toe crowding the space of second toe (see photo).



Bursitis is a painful condition caused by  the inflammation of the small fluid-filled sacs called bursae. The bursae cushion and lessen the friction of the moving parts of the body, particularly the joints.


What causes bunions?


The exact information as to what causes bunions is still unclear. However, there are a number of well-substantiated explanations about how they may develop. Probable factors include:

  • Congenital deformities or foot defect at birth
  • Injuries sustained by the foot
  • Wearing tight narrow shoes can cause bunions or aggravate them
  • Foot structure (hereditary). Some individuals are more likely to develop bunions due to the way their feet are formed.
  • Bunions are also linked to some forms of inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.


What are the symptoms of a bunion?


Bunions show certain signs and symptoms that are easily noticeable:

  • A large bulge at the base of the big toe on the foot’s outside area.
  • Constant or occasional pain
  • Redness, pain and inflammation around the metatarsophalangeal or big toe joint.
  • Limited movement of the big toe
  • Corns or calluses where the first and second toes overlay


When to seek medical attention


While bunions don’t often need special treatment, consult a podiatrist or foot specialist if you experience any of the following symptoms.

  • Persistent pain on the foot, specifically on the big toe.
  • Difficulty in wearing shoes because of the pain and swelling.
  • Limited movement of the big toe.
  • A prominent bulge at the base of the big toe joint.


Factors that can cause or worsen bunions


There are certain factors that can heighten the risk of bunions, or worsen existing ones.

Shoes with a bad fit

Wearing shoes that are too narrow, too tight, or too pointy are more likely to cause bunions.


High-heeled shoes

Wearing high-heeled shoes jams your toes down and into the front of your shoes. This squeezes the toes together and makes them abnormally aligned.


Hereditary foot type

People who tend to form bunions more likely have inherited structural foot defect.


Rheumatoid arthritis

Individuals with inflammatory conditions like arthritis are more potentially prone to bunion development.


Other bunion types


There are other types of bunions aside from the common bunion variety.


Bunionettes form on the joint of the little toe. Also referred to as “tailor’s bunion”, it develops on the foot’s outer area just below the little toe. While it occurs in another part of the foot, a bunionette has many similarities with the common bunion. Callus, corn, and painful bursitis may form over bulge.


Adolescent bunion

This type of bunion usually occurs in young girls with ages ranging from 10 to 15 years. While wearing tight and narrow shoes is what causes bunions in adults, adolescent bunions are mostly hereditary and run in the family. An adolescent bunion sufferer can still have some freedom of motion on the big toe instead of being restricted as in the case of adult bunions. The common factor, however, is that an adolescent bunion makes it difficult to wear shoes due to the painful swelling.


How to prevent bunions


Ill-fitting shoes are one of the factors in what causes bunions. Buy the right size of shoes for your feet. See to it that there is a space between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe.

Avoid narrow and pointy shoes. Your shoes should comfortably adjust to the shape of your feet. Be sure they don’t squeeze your toes or press against any part of your foot. Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes for prolonged periods.


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Feet Problems: Bad Shoe Habits That Eventually Hurt Your Feet

Shoes provide your feet with comfort and protection. They can also enhance your appearance if you are the fashion-conscious type. However, shoes and other footwear can cause you a lot of feet problems and discomfort later on if you continue with bad habits that you may not be aware of.



You use shoes without proper arch support

Whether you are flatfooted or have high-arched feet, it won’t do you any harm to wear shoes with adequate arch support. In fact, it can do you a world of good as it can help to align your feet correctly as well as provide more comfort. If you experience persistent feet discomfort, you should consider seeing a podiatrist regarding the use of shoe inserts and custom orthotics. These devices can get the pressure off the heel by bracing the arches and lessen feet problems while walking.


Using the same old and worn-out pair of shoes

Why replace a still usable pair just when they’re getting to be comfortable, you may ask. Look at the heel area underneath your shoes. You will notice that one side is more worn and thinned-out than the other. This is a normal occurrence, as every individual has their own unique manner of walking. Some tend to lean more heavily on one side of their body. The weight is then transferred to and absorbed by the shoe’s heel. The downside is your feet and ankles will get injured eventually due to the unequal wear on the shoe heels. You won’t be able to walk or stand still in the normal manner.


You try on a new pair of shoes in the morning

foot pain in buying shoesThe best time to try on new shoes at the store is later in the day and not earlier. This is because your feet tend to bulge slightly in later part of the day when the blood settles in the lower extremities of your body. For this reason, you should try on new shoes at around noon or even later when your feet have already expanded slightly. This will give enough allowance for the swelling of your feet in the middle of the day. By doing this, you won’t end up with a pair that’s too tight, prevent feet problems, and allow breathing room for your feet.


Feet problems develop when toes get squeezed tightly in narrow, pointy-toed shoes

You could be killing your toes by jamming and squeezing them in pointy-toed shoes. To make matters worst, they could be narrow pointy-toed high-heeled shoes. Do this often and you’ll end up with foot disorders that include plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, bunions, and nerve injury. Check out the appearance of the pair you’re buying. If the shoes end up to a narrow point that can crush your toes, then you might as well shop for a more comfortable (and foot-friendly) pair and spare yourself from future feet problems.


You tend to rush when trying on new shoes

While you should consider the right time of day to try on new shoes, you must also know that there is a right position and length of time to do it. When you try on a new pair, it’s best to do it while you’re standing. This way, your feet will be able to slide down and in, giving them the opportunity to feel if the fit is just right. Check how your toes are sitting inside your shoes. Make sure that there is sufficient space for all your toes to be comfortably positioned. See to it that the shoe has long enough forward space so your longest toe (generally the second toe) won’t be cramped. Now, walk around with the new pair for about five to ten minutes to be sure that you’re comfortable in them.


You fail to replace your worn-down running shoes regularly

fot pain with worn down shoesIf you run five miles for five days a week, you may need to replace your running shoes practically every month. That is, if you believe the traditional hundred-mile rule that states that you should replace your pair of running shoes after you’ve run 100 miles. While this monthly shoe replacement rule may sound expensive, it is worth keeping even if you should replace your shoes after more than a month. Due to the constant impact from running, the sole and cushioned padding of your shoes can get thin and worn-out. This can decrease the protection your feet get from your shoes as they hit the ground. You’ll need to replace your overused pair of running shoes if pain begins to develop in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.


You shop online for your shoes

Shoes that are too small or too narrow can hurt your toes. Likewise, shoes that are too wide or too big can adversely affect the way you walk. The well-known phrase that “size matters” aptly applies to shoes. Some podiatrists disapprove of the habit of people buying shoes online. This denies the buyers of the opportunity to try on the shoes that they are paying for. Online buyers don’t have the chance to fit on the shoes to ensure they have the right size that will be comfortable to wear and walk in. Shoes that have the wrong fit can often cause blisters, feet problems and other injuries.


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Foot Problems: Here are Easy Podiatrist-Recommended Remedies

While foot problems are year-round concerns for many people, summer is the worst time to nurse one. This is the time of the year when people walk a lot in the sunshine on bare feet. It’s the time when children do a lot of running and complaining of heel pain later on. It’s also the time of blisters, smelly feet, and athlete’s foot. Podiatrists love this time of the year when they receive a lot of patients.


We asked foot specialists their best recommendations for keeping your feet pain-free in the summer and any other time of the year.


Heel pain in children                                      


foot problems in kidsPodiatrists treat a lot of children with foot problems mostly in the summer. Kids just can’t resist running on bare feet especially during play. They are mostly afflicted with heel pain when the growth plates in their heels become overused and inflamed. Podiatrists recommend the right footwear for the activity. Kids who love running should wear running shoes and not basketball shoes. Running shoes are designed with better arch support than cross trainers and other sports shoes. Podiatrists advice against using sneakers flip-flops, and sandals with thin bendable soles that don’t provide any support for most areas of the foot.


Possible cancer on sun-damaged feet


People who love to walk barefoot on a hot beach should make it an important part of their day to apply sunscreen on the top of their feet. Many foot doctors have observed the rise in incidence of cancerous growths on their patients during the past years. Podiatrists advice the generous application of sunblock with a rating of at least SPF 30 on your feet. It should cover the top area and the spaces between the toes.



Foot problems from the use of improper footwear


Numerous feet problems like plantar fasciitis and tendonitis can arise from using shoes that don’t provide enough ankle, heel, and arch support. The culprits are usually flat sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, and high-heeled shoes. If you must use them, podiatrists recommend wearing them only for a short time. They could be more comfortable and feet-friendly if they have inserts with arch support. Shoe inserts can fit into most any shoes and prevent foot, ankle, and back pain. They can also relieve some of the discomfort and pain if you have already developed them. Another preventive step is to do some foot stretches after each work day if you are prone to heel pain.


The pain and discomfort of breaking in new shoes


foot problems

Photo by chispita_666 on / CC BY

Your feet can be at war with that new pair of shoes you’ve just bought. As a result, painful blisters and other foot irritations can develop. There are special blister pads and bandages you can use to reduce the chances of injury. The gel-filled pads act to cushion and create a buffer zone to decrease friction between the skin and the shoe. Put these pads in the area where the shoe material rubs against the skin to prevent blisters from forming. You can also use them to cover an existing blister and protect it from further injury and infection. These blister pads and bandages are designed to be unnoticeable that you can wear them with sandals or flip-flops.


Blisters can be tough


Blisters are tough and can develop despite the best preventive steps. If they do develop, podiatrists vehemently stressed that you should never attempt to burst them to avoid exposing them to infection. Instead, you should apply a topical antibiotic on the blister and cover it with bandage. If the blister becomes enlarged, consult a foot specialist at once as there’s a chance it is infected.


Once your feet develops infection, your best step is to give it a bath of white vinegar or malt. While this won’t be as effective as an antibiotic medication, it will definitely alleviate the accompanying itch that can be very annoying.


The irritation (and embarrassment) of smelly feet


We really can’t consider smelly feet one of the major foot problems. However, they can be bothersome, not to mention embarrassing. Be sure to air out your shoes after each use. This will inhibit the growth and development of odor-causing bacteria as well as infectious fungi. If possible, buy another pair of shoes that you can wear alternately with the other pair.



How to prevent your feet from sweating


Never mind the bad foot odor it can cause, feet that sweat profusely can also develop cracked, scaly skin and fungus infection. To prevent your feet from overly-sweating, spray them with antiperspirant each morning before wearing your shoes and in the evening after taking them off. The aluminum component in the antiperspirant will stop up the sweat ducts and prevent foot perspiration.


Cornstarch and foot powder against athlete’s foot


Make it a habit of daily sprinkling the inside of your shoes with cornstarch, talcum powder, or foot powder. This will help keep the shoe interior fresh and free from fungal growth that cause foot problems. If your feet develops itchy scaly skin usually below and between the toes, and you can’t help but scratch it till it bleeds, chances are you have athlete’s foot or a similar infection. As a rule, don’t walk in your bare feet or wear flip-flops in locker rooms and public swimming pool areas. These places are favorable breeding grounds for infection-causing fungus and bacteria.

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