Do your feet ache? Yeah? Mine too.
I’m going to share a simple home remedy I’ve used for years to relieve pressure and stress from sore/aching feet.
It might seem too good to be true, but I can assure you it isn’t. This is a fluff-free zone, so I encourage you to take 5 minutes and read the rest of this post. Your feet will appreciate it.
Sore and achy feet is a very predictable, fairly tolerable issue I deal with everyday. My day time profession often requires standing for 8-14 hour stretches.
While my feet have acclimated to these standing for these durations, they still throb at the end of the day. I often describe it as a “pressure build up”.
I know I’m not alone here. For as many professions sit for long periods of time, there’s another sector of the work force that spends most of the work day walking or standing.
No offense to the sitters, but the tips in this article are for the standers.
Standing for hours on end can reek serious havoc on your feet, especially if they are trapped inside of shoes. It seems the style of footwear can make the situation worse.
Dress footwear for men and women are horrible for feet for a variety of reasons.
Mens dress shoes often have narrow toe boxes, smashing the toes together. Many dress shoes also have an elevated heel, though it is more subtle compared to women’s high heels.
Women’s dress shoes have single-handedly messed up women feet and ankles. In high heels, the ankle is locked into an unnatural plantar flexed position since the heel is elevated. Women’s dress shoes also tend to have very narrow toe boxes.
Standing for hours on end creates a nagging pressure that doesn’t go away quickly.
After a full day of standing, my feet feel like an over inflated bike tire.
Initially, my fix to this was to get off my feet, sitting down or laying down until the pressure dissipates. While both definitely help, the amount of time it took to get my feet to relax seemed quite long.
One problem is that sitting is not always an option, much less laying down. Most employers frown about laying down at work.
The second problem is both sitting and laying down only provided temporary relief to an ongoing problem.
The first few days of standing all day were a nightmare. I was hobbling by the end of the day. It literally effected my ability to think on-the-go, which might seem like an over-exaggeration but it’s not.
To date, I have been on my feet daily for nearly 10 years. I can’t even imagine what some people’s feet feel like after 15-20+ years without doing something to get relief.
However, there is a solution. The best part is it’s inexpensive and effective.
Buy a lacrosse ball. They cost $3-$5 and you can take everywhere you go.
Don’t have any money to spare? Walk out into your garage and find a tennis ball or even a golf ball. A tennis ball can be a bit soft for most people, though some may find works well. A golf ball’s surface area is quite small which makes the method I will describe somewhat uncomfortable for people.
I prefer the lacrosse ball because of density and surface area, but these other options will work also.
A lacrosse ball looks like this:
Simple instructions for foot relief…
Give yourself a foot massage.
Once you buy the lacrosse ball, do this…
Roll the lacrosse ball deep into the muscles of your feet for 60 seconds on each foot. Move the ball from the heel, to mid-foot, to your forefoot. Move it forward, backward, side-to-side, and circular. Any way you choose to roll is the right way.
Look for sore or tender areas. Give those spots some extra love. Consider holding the lacrosse on those spots, wiggling your toes and wrapping your foot further around the ball.
You cannot mess up this up.
After you finish with both feet, stand up straight and see how you feel.
If you’re like me, there should be a big release of pressure. The release may run up the back of your legs to your back, stopping just short of the back of your head.
The first time I rolled my feet out on a lacrosse ball I couldn’t believe it. It was instant relief. Remember that over-inflated bike tire analogy?
Rolling my feet is like letting air out of the tire.
These days, I don’t leave the house for a work day or a weekend trip without a lacrosse ball in my bag. Sometimes I use it, and other times I don’t. But I always have it I need it. That’s the point.
When my feet start throbbing, I roll. Rolling buys me more time on my feet, which makes me less irritable at work and more productive.
Beyond that, the feet need attention just like the rest of our bodies. Foot health is vital. Some basic soft tissue maintenance daily can provide a lot of relief.
Bonus tip: Spend more time barefoot. Get out of those shoes, spread the toes out and go skin on surface as much as possible.
Shoes are soft and comfy, but your feet are designed to be extremely resilient. Footwear is hurting your foot health more than it’s helping it. It desensitizes and alters your gait (natural walking motion).
Your podiatrist loves it, but your bank account and body won’t.
Obviously, most people won’t be able to go barefoot on the job, but any other time, free those babies.
What is fascia and why does it matter?
Fascia is a giant webbing (laymen’s description) wrapping around our muscles, skeleton and internal organs. It basically holds us together, gives us some structure internally.
Fascia health can impact our ability to move and overall daily comfort.
To fascial researcher Tom Myers, “The ‘illusion’ of separate muscles is created by the anatomist’s scalpel, dividing tissues along the planes of fascia. Fascia is the missing element in the movement/stability equation.”
Fascia is important. Taking care of it is important. Not that you know, you cannot un-know. 🙂
Here’s a simple test/re-test to try…
Notice a difference?
Chances are you gained few inches.
I’ve personally seen people who couldn’t reach within 6 inches of their feet on the first test, roll out for 45-60 seconds, re-test and be able to scratch the top of their feet.
The expressions crack me up every single time.
This very basic fascia release allows for an increase in range of motion, though it may be temporary.
It’s important to understand that basic self-maintenance strategies like this exist and you have the power to work on yourself daily.
Nothing will replace the experienced hands of a manual therapist, but for ongoing relief of aches and pains, tools lying around the house can gives us relief.
Advice: Perform simple maintenance on a daily basis, and over time you’ll start to feel some changes take place. Don’t be surprised if you feel like your movement improves from this great home remedy, that’s quite common also.
Cheers to giving your feet some love…