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Our feet are perhaps the most underappreciated part of our body. Every day, our feet bear the brunt of 2,265,000 kilograms of total pressure; however, sometimes sudden and unexpected foot pain strikes out of nowhere.
Since your feet take you everywhere you want to go, sore feet can literally be a pain. For those of you who suffer from this very troublesome malady, we have provided you with a list of what’s good for foot pain.
But before we jump to that, let’s take a look at the various types of foot pain and what causes them.
Different Kinds of Foot Pain
Foot pain is one of the most common ailments; however, the cause can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms of many different foot problems may be the same. The location of the pain and how it feels — tender, aching, throbbing, stabbing pain — can offer a few clues, but these symptoms may not be enough for a correct diagnosis at home.
Below is a list of some of the most common foot conditions. But before you embark on any self-medication or self-care strategy, do consult with a podiatrist.
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. This may be caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. The plantar fascia may become strained due to:
- Very high arches
- Frequent standing
- Ill-fitting running shoes
- Flat feet
The condition can worsen over time, and may range from dull to sharp. Pain often occurs when your feet have been resting for a long time.
Pain or small protrusions at the front of the heel may indicate heel spurs. Heel spurs can occur due to calcium deposits between your heel and arch, and this condition is often confused with plantar fascia.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the posterior tibial nerve — the nerve that passes through a canal in your ankle — is squeezed or compressed. The condition is similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which occurs in the wrist.
With Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, you may experience an ache, sharp or shooting pain, a burning, or a tingling sensation that radiates from the inside of the ankle to the sole and arch of your foot. In worse cases, the pain may travel to your calf. It also sometimes worsens during the night.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome may be caused by:
- Sprained ankle
- Bone spur
- Varicose vein
- Swollen ankle joint
- Flat feet
Metatarsalgia, or stone bruise, is a type of pain associated with the ball of your foot, or in the place where your foot connects to the toe. This type of pain can be caused by:
- Loss of ligament support to the five metatarsal bones that make your forefoot.
- Wearing footwear with high heels and no cushioning
- Standing up or walking for a long period of time
Older people, athletes, and overweight people are more at risk for developing metatarsalgia.
Morton’s neuroma causes a sharp burning pain in the ball of the foot, and is the result of the thickening of the tissue that surrounds the tiny nerves between your toes. Aside from the pain, people with Morton’s neuroma may experience a numb sensation and pain when wearing certain types of shoes. Morton’s neuroma may be caused by:
- Wearing narrow and tight shoes
- Wearing high heels
- Flat feet
- Athletics requiring repetitive movement
Achilles tendonitis refers to the inflammation or strain of the Achilles tendon, which connects your lower leg muscles to your heel bone. This condition can result in a burning or aching sensation when you are walking or stretching your foot. You may also experience pain, stiffness, warmth, and mild swelling when you touch your tendon.
Causes that contribute to Achilles Tendonitis are:
- Tight calf muscles
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes
- Training in cold weather
- Flat feet
- Excess exercise
- Difference between the length of the two legs
An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of your nail is pressed tightly to your skin. Even the slightest pressure on the toe can be very painful and may hamper your walking ability. Ingrown nails may be accompanied by redness, bleeding, pus, and swollen skin.
Some common causes are:
- Excessive trimming of the edge of the nail
- Compressed toes
- Injury to the toes
A knob-like bump on the side of your big toe may be a bunion. This can occur when your big toe shifts out of position and press against your second toe. Bunions typically grow larger over time, and you may experience soreness, redness, swelling, stiffness, or a burning sensation on your big toe.
Some common causes of bunions are:
- Wearing tight shoes
- High heels
Hammertoe is characterized by toes that curve downwards and usually occurs in the second, third, and fourth toes. People with hammertoe may experience pain not just on the tip of their toes when they are walking but also in the ball of the foot. It is often also accompanied by redness, stiffness, and swelling.
Some common causes of hammertoe are:
- Poor-fitting footwear
- High arches
- Wearing high heels
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses develop when the skin of your foot experiences repeated friction or too much pressure. Corns have a central core surrounded by dead skin and occur on the toes, while calluses occur on the sole of your foot. Corns are very tender and sensitive to touch, while calluses are generally not painful. If not treated, they can become irritated.
Some common causes of corns and calluses are:
- Wearing thick, tight-fitting shoes
- Toe deformities like hammertoe
Blisters are bumpy pockets of pus that can be caused by standing or walking too long, having sweaty feet, or wearing tight shoes.
Blisters can be painful, but fortunately, they are not serious. Most of the time, they can be treated at home.
A plantar wart is caused by human papillomavirus transmitted through swimming pools and moist environments. They generally occur at the bottom of your feet and can cause pain when walking. However, they can easily be treated at home.
Flat foot is a genetic condition that is characterized by a very low arch when you are standing. People with flat feet can find it painful to stand or walk for a long time. Their feet can also get swollen.
Gout is caused by excessive uric acid in the body, which can result in very painful inflamed feet, especially the big toe. Some people experience gout on and off, while others may develop chronic gout with joint damage over time.
Gout typically occurs in middle-aged men and postmenopausal women, and is usually worsened if you eat specific food like liver, seafood, and spinach.
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to nerve damage in the feet, known as diabetic neuropathy. The symptoms of this ailment include experiencing pins and needles, numbness, and sensitivity in your feet. It can also lead to foot injury and infection.
If you contract this condition, see a doctor right away to get your blood sugar level reduced. However, its symptoms may be eased with topical ointments, painkillers, and home remedies.
Yellowing, scaly, streaking, or flaking nails may indicate a fungal infection. Infections, like athlete’s foot, can also occur in between your toes because of wearing sweaty shoes for a long time. These infections can continue for a long time and may require antifungal medication.
Some risk factors associated with fungal infections include:
- Transmission of fungus from sweaty shoes, locker rooms, and swimming pools
- Contaminated pedicure instruments
- Injury near the nail area
Best Painkiller for Foot Pain
If you suffer from any of the above foot conditions, there are various over-the-counter and prescription medications that you can use to treat foot pain as well as other symptoms like inflammation and swelling.
Lidocaine Ointment for Foot Pain
One of the best painkillers for foot pain is lidocaine ointment, which acts as an anesthetic. The numbing medication works by blocking the nerve signals, and reducing pain and irritation caused by diabetic neuropathic foot pain. It also prevents itching and tingling sensations.
One of the most popular lidocaine medication to use is Aspercreme for foot pain. The topical ointment is very fast-acting, and can numb the pain by sensitizing nerves. Because of this, it has become a popular pain relief ointment for people who suffer from arthritis, joint pain, and diabetic foot pain.
To use lidocaine, you need to first wash and dry your feet properly. Then apply the ointment in an even layer to the affected areas. Typically, you may need to use it two to three times daily or as directed by your physician.
If there is an infection, open wound, or sore in the area, do not use the medication unless directed by your doctor.
Ibuprofen for Foot Pain
Ibuprofen is a common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which is sold as Advil, Motrin, and others. This medication is very effective in treating foot pain.
If you are taking ibuprofen only to get rid of foot pain, you may be recommended low doses for a small period of time. However, if you suffer from a condition that is also accompanied by inflammation, like foot sprain or Achilles Tendonitis, you may be advised to take a higher dosage for a longer time. This is because even though the pain may be alleviated in a short time, it sometimes takes several weeks for the medication to reach its full anti-inflammatory potential in the bloodstream.
Icy Hot for Foot Pain
Icy Hot contains menthol and methyl salicylates, and hence provides temporary relief for joint and muscular pains caused by sprains, strained ligaments, foot bruising, and arthritis.
The medicine can cause an icy cold or burning sensation when applied to the affected area, but the sensation lessens in a short time.
Make sure your foot is clean and dry before you apply the medicine to the affected area. Be careful not to apply Icy Hot to open wounds, sores, or sunburned, windburned, or chapped skin as it may cause a severe burning sensation. Rub the ointment in gently until it is completely absorbed by your skin.
You will experience almost instant relief from your foot pain.
Use Icy Hot for foot pain one to two times a day, or as directed by your doctor.
Celebrex for Foot Pain
Celebrex is a type of COX-2 inhibitor which is effective in relieving pain and inflammation of the foot. They are believed to be better than traditional NSAIDs as they reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects that come from using NSAIDs.
Celebrex can be used to treat plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain.
Easy At-Home Foot Pain Remedies
Sometimes all you can do for foot pain is to turn to topical or oral medications. However, a lot of the time, simple home remedies can be the secret to how to heal foot pain fast.
Home Foot Soak for Pain
Sometimes, your aching feet can be a sign of overworked, stressed-out, and tired muscles. A relaxing and stimulating foot soak can do wonder to relieve you of your aches.
You can make a foot spa in your own home. Fill one basin with cold water and another with hot water. Place your feet for five minutes in the cold water bath, take them out, and then place them in the hot water basin for five minutes. Then repeat the steps.
This is called a “hydromassage” and it can alternately dilate and constrict your blood vessels, stimulating better blood flow.
You can also pamper your feet with the help of essential oil. Add two drops of peppermint oil, four drops of eucalyptus oil, and four drops of rosemary oil into a basin of hot water. Then soak your feet into the hot water for about 10 minutes.
If you don’t have any essential oil, brew some peppermint tea, and add a cup to your hot water.
You can also add Epsom salt to the water to give you an almost instant soothing effect. Add 1 to 2 tablespoon of the salt in hot water. If your feet are swollen, use cold water to reduce the swelling and keep your feet elevated for about 30 minutes after the home foot soak.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Foot Pain
Many of us use apple cider vinegar to treat various home maladies; however, you can also use apple cider vinegar for foot pain, particularly for pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
Apple cider vinegar contains about 5 to 6 percent acetic acid, which can be great for aching feet.
To get rid of foot ache fast, make a mixture of one cup of apple cider vinegar and six cups of warm water. Pour it in a basin and submerge your feet in the foot bath for half an hour.
The apple cider vinegar is rich in minerals and nutrients, particularly magnesium, which is easily absorbed through your skin. Vinegar is also a powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial agent, so it protects your feet from infections.
People who suffer from smelly feet, plantar fasciitis, athlete’s foot, and warts can use this home remedy daily until the foot problem disappears.
Athletic Tape for Foot Pain
There are several types of athletic foot tapes that can be used to treat foot pain for plantar fasciitis. One of the most popular is zinc oxide tape.
This is an athletic tape for foot pain made of rigid cotton strips. This means it offers more stability to your feet and limits their movement. However, it does allow you to stretch it a bit so that you can snugly wrap it around your foot. The tape is very durable, water-resistant, and hypoallergenic.
To apply the tape:
- Wrap the tape around the ball of your foot and then cut it.
- Then apply a strip of tape around your heel and join both the ends to the tape on the ball of your feet.
- Place a second strip on the back of your heel, pull both the ends across the sole, and then cross them at the ball of your foot. For maximum support, repeat this step twice.
- Then cut several lengths of tape and apply them across your sole until every piece of skin, except your toes, are uncovered.
- Make sure the tape lies flat and smooth.
- Remove the tape every night before sleeping.
In time, the added support of the tape should decrease the pain in your heel. A whopping 90% of plantar fasciitis cases can see dramatic improvements after six months of use.
Using athletic tape for foot pain is one of the most popular ways to alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. It is very effective in reducing the stress on the ligaments, and acts as a preventive measure against other heel problems.
Hot and Cold Treatments for Foot Pain
Using heat and cold treatments can be a great alternative to using pain killers. The best part is that they can be used at home. Applying ice or a hot pack to a tense or injured foot can reduce pain and inflammation and can hasten the healing process.
But which treatment should you use for what kind of foot ailment?
Should You Use Ice or Heat for Foot Pain?
Ice Treatment for Foot Pain
If your foot is experiencing acute pain, swelling, and new injuries, then you should use ice treatment.
When your foot is injured, it can become swollen, inflamed, red, and painful immediately. At this point, using an ice pack can help constrict blood vessels and keep the swelling down.
Moreover, people who go through grueling workout sessions should use ice on their feet rather than heat packs. This will prevent the feet from swelling.
Wrap the ice in a cotton towel or plastic baggie and then apply it to your foot for 20 minutes. Ensure that you take a break for at least one hour before you ice your foot again.
Heat for Foot Pain
You can apply heat to your foot if it is no longer swollen. If you place a hot pack on an inflamed foot, it can increase the swelling and may slow down the healing process.
However, moist heat from warm baths, hot towels, saunas, or steam baths can relax overly tight muscles. It can also help in reducing stiffness and improve flexibility.
When using a heating pad, remember not to place the heat source directly against your skin. Apply heat on the muscle or joint for 15 minutes and then resume after one hour, if needed.
Frozen Water Bottle for Foot Pain
A frozen water bottle can be used to relieve pain caused by plantar fasciitis. The cold will help to reduce inflammation along the ligament, and makes a foot massage even more effective. To do the frozen water bottle exercise, fill a bottle three-quarters of the way with water and place it in the freezer. When it is frozen solid, take it out and place it on the floor on top of a towel, so it doesn’t roll away.
Place a straight-backed chair in front of the water bottle and sit on it. Then place your foot on the bottle and gently press down on it to massage your plantar fascia. Do not press too hard as it can make the pain even worse.
Roll the bottle back and forth from the ball of your foot to your heel, giving your sole a nice, long stretch. Do this for 15 minutes each day. Don’t apply the frozen bottle to your feet for longer than 20 minutes, as that can lead to frostbite.
Repeat this process every day until your plantar fasciitis begins to improve.
The frozen water bottle foot pain treatment should be carried out in conjunction with other plantar fasciitis treatments. The combination of icing your feet, keeping them elevated, and wearing stabilizing shoe inserts can accelerate healing and accelerate healing of your foot.
Feet Hurt? Get Relief-You Deserve It
If you suffer from foot pain, there are many medications and home remedies available that can bring you comfort. However, you need to be patient as these things can take some time to work.
If you feel your foot condition is worsening or if you start experiencing severe pain, contact your doctor. This is particularly true for patients with diabetes who are more vulnerable to infections, inflammations, and other issues.
Painful feet can keep you from enjoying your day to day activities. So, make sure to seek help before the pain becomes debilitating. Good luck!