How to alleviate foot pain

How to alleviate foot pain

Pain is a symptom common to many foot conditions, and pain medications can often help relieve foot pain. You also can try other approaches, either before resorting to pain relievers or in conjunction with them. For example, you can try an ice pack or a warm foot soak before reaching for the pain pills.

In general, if your skin feels warm to the touch (indicating that your foot is inflamed and possibly swollen), apply ice. Don’t apply warmth to an inflamed area because it will only increase the blood flow and make the inflammation worse.

If your feet are tired and sore and your skin feels normal or cool to the touch, try soaking your feet in a warm bath to relax and soothe them. Pharmacies sell gel packs that you can either freeze or heat in the microwave, then apply to your feet. You can also try massage (see “Foot massage,” below). Gently rubbing sore muscles and joints can often provide needed relief. But don’t massage a foot that is inflamed or that you think might be injured.

Foot massage

When you think of massage, you may think of a neck or back rub. But your feet also benefit from a regular rubdown. And you may even be able to do it yourself. Massage improves circulation, stimulates muscles, reduces tension, and often alleviates pain. It also provides a time for you to examine your feet, giving you the chance to notice a problem before it gets worse. To do a massage:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair. Bend your left leg and rest your left foot gently on your right thigh.
  • Pour some skin lotion or oil into your hand. Rub it gently into your foot and massage your whole foot — toes, arch, and heel.
  • Do a deeper massage. Press the knuckles of your right hand into your left foot. Knead your foot as you would bread. Or work the skin and muscles by holding a foot with both hands and pressing your thumbs into the skin.
  • Using your hands, pull the toes back and forth or apart. This gently stretches the muscles underneath.
  • Repeat on the other foot.

To enhance your massage, you can buy massage devices in local drugstores or health stores. Look for foot rollers; these can provide fast foot massages at home or at work — take off your shoes and roll your feet over the massagers for a quick pick-me-up.

When it comes to pharmaceutical treatment, there are a number of different options. Some medications are topical — that is, you apply them to the skin. Others are systemic; these are usually taken in pill form. A summary of the major categories of pain relief medications follows.

1. Oral analgesics. This class of medications encompasses pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which relieve pain without relieving inflammation. Be sure to follow directions because taking too much acetaminophen can cause liver failure.

2. Topical analgesics. Topical pain medications are available in lotion, cream, or gel form. They are spread on the skin and penetrate inward to relieve some forms of mild foot pain. Some topical preparations — such as those containing menthol, eucalyptus oil, or turpentine oil — reduce pain by distracting the nerves with a different type of sensation. Another group delivers salicylates (the same ingredient as in aspirin) through the skin. A third group counters a chemical known as substance P, which is a neurotransmitter that appears to transmit pain signals to the brain. These creams contain a derivative of a natural ingredient found in cayenne pepper. For that reason, they may burn or sting when first used.

3. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs are available both with and without a prescription. Popular over-the-counter NSAIDs include aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), and naproxen (Aleve). If you are taking an NSAID solely to relieve pain, expect to take a low dosage for a limited amount of time — usually until the pain is gone. If you have a condition that involves inflammation as well as pain, such as Achilles’ tendinitis or a sprain, your doctor may advise you to take an NSAID at a higher dose and for a longer period, sometimes as much as several weeks. Why the difference? You can feel the pain-relieving effects of NSAIDs almost immediately, but you do not experience the full anti-inflammatory effects until a sufficient amount of the medication builds up in your bloodstream. Be aware that NSAID medications have a variety of side effects, so it is important to discuss your personal health risks with your doctor when considering their regular use.

If these over-the-counter options don’t solve your foot pain problems, your doctor can prescribe a variety of prescription medication and treatment options, as described below.

4. COX-2 inhibitor. A type of prescription NSAID known as a COX-2 inhibitor — such as celecoxib (Celebrex) — relieves pain and inflammation and may reduce the risk for gastric ulcers and bleeding, which sometimes make older NSAIDs difficult to tolerate. COX-2 inhibitors have their own side effects, though, so it is important to discuss your personal health risks with your doctor when considering the long-term use of these medications.

5. Nerve pain medications. Pain caused by nerve damage (neuropathy) may not respond well to acetaminophen or NSAIDs. Three commonly prescribed medications for neuropathy are amitriptyline (Elavil), gabapentin (Neurontin), and pregabalin (Lyrica).

6. Nerve blocks. A nerve block is an injection that numbs a particular nerve to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain (much as lidocaine does in a dentist’s office). It’s effective for severe pain or for use during a surgical procedure.

7. Corticosteroids. These medications are synthetic forms of naturally occurring hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Corticosteroids may be given in the form of pills or injections to decrease inflammation and thus relieve pain. Topical corticosteroids, applied directly to the skin, are useful only in treating rashes, not for pain due to musculoskeletal injuries.

For more information on caring for your feet, buy Healthy Feet: Preventing and treating common foot problems, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Image: mheim3011/Getty Images

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As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Articles On Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis – What Can I Do for My Plantar Fasciitis?

  • What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
  • Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms & Diagnosis
  • Plantar Fasciitis Treatments
  • Plantar Fasciitis Dos and Don’ts

With plantar fasciitis, you suffer from chronic pain in the bottom of your heel or the bottom of your foot. While it may feel like inflammation, it is associated with a degenerative problem involving the tissue that connects your toes to your heel bone. Plantar fasciitus happens a lot with runners and people who have flat feet, high arches, are overweight, or who are on their feet a lot.

It can take 6-12 months for your foot to get back to normal. You can do these things at home to ease the pain and help your foot heal faster:

Rest: It’s important to keep weight off your foot until the inflammation goes down.

Ice: This is an easy way to treat inflammation, and there are a few ways you can use it.

To make an ice pack, wrap a towel around a plastic bag filled with crushed ice or around a package of frozen corn or peas. Put it on your heel 3 to 4 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Or you can fill a shallow pan with water and ice and soak your heel in it for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day. Be sure to keep your toes out of the water.

Another option is to fill a small paper or foam cup with water and freeze it. Then rub it over your heel for 5 to 10 minutes. Never put ice directly on your heel.

Pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can make your foot feel better and help with inflammation.

Stretching and exercise: Stretch your calves, Achilles tendon, and the bottom of your foot. Do exercises that make your lower leg and foot muscles stronger. This can help stabilize your ankle, ease pain, and keep plantar fasciitis from coming back.

Athletic tape: Tape can support your foot and keep you from moving it in a way that makes plantar fasciitis worse.

Shoe inserts. Also called insoles, arch supports, or orthotics, they can give you extra cushion and added support. You can get them over-the-counter (OTC) or have them custom made. Typically, your results will be just as good, and cheaper, with OTC inserts. When you choose one, firmer is better — and make sure it has good arch support.

Continued

You might also see advertisements for magnetic insoles to help with plantar fasciitis. Research has generally shown that these don’t work.

Heel cups. With each step you take, your heel pounds the ground and puts tension on your plantar fascia. These heel-shaped pads that go in your shoes may help. They raise your heel to relieve tension and give you extra cushion. They often don’t work as well as inserts, but they’re a cheap option to try.

Night splints. Most of us sleep with our feet pointed down, which shortens the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. Night splints, which you wear while you sleep, keep your feet at a 90-degree angle. So instead of shortening your plantar fascia, you get a good, constant stretch while you sleep.

They can be bulky, but they tend to work really well. And once the pain is gone, you can stop wearing them.

Walking cast or boot. Typically, your doctor would suggest a walking cast or boot — called a controlled ankle motion (CAM) walker — only when other treatments have failed. The cast or CAM walker forces you to rest your foot, which can help relieve pain. But it’s not a cure. When the cast comes off, the pain may return. That means you’ll need other treatments too, like insoles and stretching.

Can You Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?

Once your foot feels better, you can make a few lifestyle changes to help keep plantar fasciitis from coming back. These include:

Lose weight. If you’re overweight or obese, you may put more pressure on the bottom of your feet. That pressure can lead to plantar fasciitis.

Choose shoes with good support. Replace your athletic shoes often. Stay away from high heels.

Don’t go barefoot on hard surfaces. This includes your first few steps when you get up in the morning. It’s common to feel plantar fasciitis then. So you’ll want to keep some supportive footwear by your bed.

You may also want to ask your doctor if it would help to wear inserts in your shoes.

Do low-impact exercise. Activities like swimming or cycling won’t cause plantar fasciitis or make it worse. After you’re done, stretch out your calves and feet. For instance, curl and relax your toes and make circles with your feet and ankles.

Continued

Avoid high-impact activities. These include running and jumping, which put a lot of stress on your feet and can make your calf muscles tighter if you don’t stretch them out.

Keep doing your leg and foot stretches. Two of these include:

  1. Stretch your calves. Stand facing a wall. Put your hands on the wall. Step one foot behind the other, keeping both feet parallel to each other. Gently lean toward the wall, keeping your back heel on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, and then switch feet. Repeat several times on each side.
  2. Stretch the bottom of your foot. Sit down and cross one foot over your other leg. Hold your toes and gently bend them backward.

Untuck your bedsheets. If your sheets are tucked too tightly and you sleep on your back, your feet will be in a pointed position while you sleep.

Sources

American Family Physician: “Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.”

American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.

Medscape: “Plantar Fasciitis Treatment & Management.”

The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association: “The integration of acetic acid iontophoresis, orthotic therapy and physical rehabilitation for chronic plantar fasciitis: a case study.”

UpToDate: “Plantar Fasciitis.”

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Plantar Fasciitis and Bone Spurs.”

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You honestly don’t know what pain is until you’ve experienced nerve pain. To say that it is among the most excruciating and intense forms of pain, there is a gross understatement. Think – searing heat, electric shock, and lightning bolts all wrapped into one. Yup, that should paint a pretty clear picture.

The mother of them all is the lower back, leg, and foot pain caused by sciatica. It holds the crown for the most dreaded type of nerve damage there is.

What makes sciatica so painful? Is it curable? Is there anything you can do to make it better if you have it?

This guide explores the answers to these questions in-depth and details the exercises you can do to relieve sciatica, causing foot pain.

Sciatic Nerve and Foot Pain – How Are They Related?

Sciatica refers to the pain that affects the sciatic nerve. It is the longest and largest nerve in the human body that extends from the lumbar region of the lower area of the back down through each leg.

Most people often assume that the pain is the result of the sciatic nerve getting compressed somewhere along its path. Plausible as it may be, this isn’t always the case.

More often than not, it’s the individual nerve roots that get compressed, causing the infamous excruciating pain that people with this condition experience. Compression could be due to a spinal bone spur, a herniated disk, or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine).

It manifests as a sharp pain that shoots through the leg along the path of the nerve. In most cases, it typically affects the L4 or L5 of the sciatic root.

Doctors can pinpoint the exact nerve roots by identifying where the pain terminates. It could go down to the side of the foot or down to the big toe. Other common symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Sciatica pain in shin and foot
  • Sciatica pain pins and needles in the foot or a tingling sensation in the region
  • Shooting pain that originates from the lower back, through the buttock and down the back of either leg

What Is the Treatment for Sciatica Foot Pain?

The treatment route depends on whether you’re suffering from acute or chronic sciatic nerve pain.

Treatment for acute sciatica includes taking self-care measures like:

  • Taking over-the-counter painkillers
  • Brisk walking or doing light-stretching exercises
  • Using hot and cold compression packs on the lower back region

Remember, while you might feel the pain in your foot, you need to treat the source of the pain, which is your lower back. Treatment for chronic sciatica foot pain, on the other hand, involves the same self-care measures prescribed for acute pain combined with some medical treatments that include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy – which trains the affected individuals to react differently to their pain
  • Surgery – when the symptoms continue to intensify despite other treatments

Surgical options might involve doing a lumbar laminectomy where doctors widen the spinal cord in the lower back region to reduce pressure on the nerves or a discectomy, which is a procedure that involves partially or completely removing a herniated disk. Surgery is always the last resort after all other options fail to yield the desired results.

Exercises for Sciatica

Exercises for sciatica focus on stretches that externally rotate the hips to release compression on the root nerves in the lower back. Try these six exercises to alleviate sciatica foot pain.

Knee to Shoulder

  1. Lie flat on your back
  2. Raise your left leg toward your upper body and clasp your hands around the knee
  3. Gently pull it as towards your right shoulder and hold for 20 to 30 seconds
  4. Return your leg and arms to their original position
  5. Repeat with the other leg and alternate between them

Spinal Stretch

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you
  2. Bend your left knee and place your left foot flat on the ground on the outer side of your outstretched right leg
  3. Use your right hand to clasp around your bent left knee for supports as you slowly twist your torso towards the right as far back as you can
  4. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds and return your hand and leg to their original position
  5. Repeat with the other leg and keep alternating between them

Hamstring Stretch

  1. While standing, place your left foot on an elevated surface that’s at your hip level or below
  2. With both arms outstretched, bend forward and attempt to touch your toes trying to get your face as close as possible to your knee without hurting your back
  3. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds and release
  4. Return your leg to its original position
  5. Repeat with the other leg and keep alternating between them

Reclining Pigeon

  1. Lie flat on your back and lift your right leg into a right angle position and hold it there
  2. Lift your left leg and place your left ankle on top of your right knee
  3. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds before returning both feet to the ground
  4. Repeat with the other leg and keep alternating between them

Sitting Pigeon

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you
  2. Bend your left leg and put the left ankle on top of the right knee
  3. Lean forward with arms outstretched and touch the toes of your right foot
  4. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds before stretching both feet again
  5. Repeat with the other leg and keep alternating between them

Forward Pigeon

  1. Kneel on all fours
  2. Move your left leg forward across you as though attempting to sit cross-legged
  3. Out-stretch your right leg behind you
  4. Use your arms to lower your upper body to the ground like you would when doing a push-up and hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds
  5. Use your arms to raise your body and return both feet to their original position
  6. Repeat with the other leg and alternate between them

We know sciatica is a huge pain in the …. foot. Hopefully some of these exercises and remedy ideas will help you deal with that pain. Good luck!

In this Article

  • Exercises to Help Plantar Fasciitis
  • Safety Considerations

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the bottom of the foot, mostly around the heel or the arch. When the ligament that connects your heel and toes (plantar fascia) becomes too tight, it can cause small tears and pain.

Another name for plantar fasciitis is heel spur pain, since most of the pain is under the heel. Most people who experience plantar fasciitis notice it in the morning when they first step out of bed or when they stand up after sitting for a while. Usually, the pain and discomfort subside after you start moving around.

Heel spur pain is a result of plantar fasciitis, but performing exercises that target this area can help relieve the pain. Exercises for plantar fasciitis, along with shoe inserts, resting, icing, and avoiding activities that make the pain worse usually help alleviate the discomfort and inflammation.

Exercises to Help Plantar Fasciitis

You can get pain relief for plantar fasciitis through stretches and exercises that strengthen this area of the foot. By loosening the plantar fascia ligament, you can help prevent further stress and inflammation that causes foot pain.

Continued

Toe Curls with a Towel

The first exercise for pain relief for plantar fasciitis you can try is toe curls with a towel.

Step 1: Put a small towel on the floor, and sit in a chair so that your feet are over the towel.

Step 2: Using your affected foot, scrunch your toes onto the towel and try to pull it toward you.

Step 3: Relax your toes and let the towel go. Repeat this motion 10 times, once or twice daily.

Gastrocnemius Stretch

One of the best stretches for plantar fasciitis is the gastrocnemius stretch. This stretch is very simple and can be done anywhere with a wall to support you.

Step 1: Stand facing the wall, place your hands on it, and stretch your affected leg back. Both of your feet should be planted on the ground facing the wall. Your unaffected leg should be bent at the knee.

Step 2: Lean toward the wall so that you feel a stretch in the calf muscle of your back leg.

Continued

Step 3: Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then relax. Repeat it six times a day.

Tennis Ball Roll

For this exercise, you’ll need a tennis ball or another small ball of similar size. If you don’t have a ball handy, you can use a water bottle or other cylindrical object instead.

Step 1: Sit in a chair and place the ball under your affected foot.

Step 2: Roll the ball back and forth under the arch of your foot so that you can stretch out the plantar fascia ligament.

Step 3: Continue rolling for three to five minutes. You can do this stretch twice a day.

Toe Extension

The toe extension is one of the easiest stretches for plantar fasciitis since you can do it anywhere at any time.

Step 1: Sit on the floor or on a chair with the affected leg crossed over the unaffected leg.

Step 2: Hold your toes with your fingers of one hand and bend your toes and ankle up as far as you can. You want to feel a stretch in your calf and the arch of your foot.

Continued

Step 3: Use your free hand to massage the arch of your foot.

Step 4: Hold this for 10 seconds and then relax. Continue this pattern for two or three minutes, two to four times a day.

Plantar Fascia Stretch on a Step

For this stretch, you need to stand somewhere with a step.

Step 1: Stand on a step and keep your unaffected foot flat. Slide the affected foot back until the ball of the foot is resting on the edge of the step.

Step 2: Lower the heel of the affected foot down toward the floor until you feel a stretch in the calf and the arch of the foot.

Step 3: Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. You can repeat this exercise four to six times a day.

Safety Considerations

These exercises are for pain relief for plantar fasciitis and should not cause you further pain. If any of the exercises for plantar fasciitis are causing you more pain or discomfort, you should stop and talk to your doctor.

To help with pain and inflammation, you can ice your foot after stretching. You can also take an ibuprofen or naproxen 30 minutes before exercise, to help ensure you get the most pain relief from these healthy stretches.

Sources

Loyola Medicine: “Best Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis.”

Royal Berkshire NHS: “Advice and exercises for patients with plantar fasciitis.”

UConn Health: “Three Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis.”

University of Michigan: “Plantar Fasciitis: Exercises to Relieve Pain.”

Washington UniversityPhysicians: “Plantar Fasciitis Exercises.”

Posted by Spine Correction Center January 25, 2017 Comments Off on How to Relieve Foot and Ankle Pain in Just 20 Minutes

How to alleviate foot painOf all the visible parts of your body, nothing works harder than your feet! Of course, the hardest working muscles and bones are also the most susceptible to pain and injury. By performing these five exercises two to three times per day, you can relieve foot and ankle pain , strengthen your muscles, and improve your balance.

Toe Presses

Complete a set of toe presses as your warm up. This low-impact exercise helps get the blood flowing and can actually be quite relaxing. To perform this exercise:

  • Stand up straight with a slight bend in your knees.
  • Grip the floor with your toes, but don’t curl them.
  • Hold this position for three seconds.
  • Release, relax for a few seconds, and repeat 10 more times.
  • Note: When you’re ready to up the intensity level, increase how long you grip the floor with your toes.

Toe Walking

Also called tiptoeing, toe walking is a great exercise to strengthen your foot muscles and ligaments surrounding the balls of your feet. Here’s how to toe walk:

  • Tiptoe forward for 20 strides.
  • Rest for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Turn around and tiptoe back to where you started.
  • Repeat the exercise five times.
  • Note: When you’re ready for a challenge, increase how far you walk before taking a break.

Ankle Circles

Having flexible ankles is important, not just to reduce foot and ankle pain, but to prevent other areas of your body from compensating. Ankle circles strengthen your muscles to help reduce knee, hip, and low back pain. To perform this exercise:

  • Lie on your back and extend your right leg over your head.
  • Rotate the extended ankle clockwise 10 times.
  • Switch directions and rotate the ankle counterclockwise 10 times.
  • Bend your knee and rest your right foot back on the floor.
  • Repeat the exercise with your left foot.

Resisted Flexion

This foot exercise targets small, hard-to-reach muscles on the top of your foot and ankle, which play a crucial role in maintaining good balance. Strengthening these muscles helps prevent falls and subsequent injuries that may occur. You need an exercise band to perform resisted flexion. Here’s how it works:

  • Wrap an exercise band around a bedpost or sturdy chair.
  • Sit on the floor and extend your legs out in front of you.
  • Place the exercise band over the top of your right foot and slide backward until you feel tension in the band.
  • Flex your foot and hold for five seconds.
  • Slowly release your foot, feeling resistance from the band as you do.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times on your right foot.
  • Move the band to the left foot and repeat the exercise another 10 times.

Resisted Plantar Flexion

A particularly good exercise if you have plantar fasciitis, this type of resisted flexion targets muscles on the bottom of your feet and your calf. You need an exercise band to perform resisted plantar flexion. Here’s how it works:

  • Sit in a sturdy chair and raise your right leg parallel to the floor.
  • Wrap the exercise band around the ball of your raised foot and hold onto it strongly with your right hand.
  • Press the ball of your foot into the band, keeping your right arm where it is.
  • Gently return your foot to a flexed position, feeling resistance from the band as you do.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times.
  • Move the band to the left foot and repeat the exercise on this side 10 more times.

Treat Foot and Ankle Pain at Spine Correction Center

When your feet hurt, it affects your entire lifestyle. Don’t live in pain another day! Try out these at-home exercises, and then come to Spine Correction Center for foot pain treatment. We’ll begin with a biomechanical analysis to pinpoint exactly where your troubles lie. Then, we begin work to correct the problem. Our specialists can help reduce symptoms of plantar fasciitis , bunions , metatarsalgia , Morton’s neuroma , iliotibial band syndrome , and many other foot conditions.

To schedule your free consultation, please contact Spine Correction Center in Fort Collins at (970) 658-5115.

How to alleviate foot pain

Many people experience foot or ankle pain at some point. By keeping the feet strong, a person can alleviate soreness, and improve overall health and flexibility.

Regularly exercising and stretching the feet and ankles can help to ensure that muscles are providing the best support. These exercises may also increase the range of motion in the feet, keeping a person active for as long as possible.

Most foot exercises are simple and require no complicated equipment. They can be done at home or in the gym as part of a regular exercise routine.

The following exercises have been developed to improve flexibility and mobility in the feet.

1. Toe raise, point, and curl

How to alleviate foot pain

Share on Pinterest There are three stages to the toe raise, point, and curl.

This exercise has three stages and will help to strengthen all parts of the feet and toes.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Keeping the toes on the floor, raise the heels. Stop when only the balls of the feet remain on the ground.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds before lowering the heels.
  • For the second stage, raise the heel and point the toes so that only the tips of the big and second toes are touching the floor.
  • Hold for 5 seconds before lowering.
  • For the third stage, raise the heel and curl the toes inward, so that only the tips of the toes are touching the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Build flexibility and mobility by repeating each stage 10 times.

2. Big toe stretch

Keeping a wide range of motion in the big toe is important. The following exercise also has three stages, and it was designed to stretch and relieve pain in toes that have been squashed in shoes.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Bring the left foot to rest on the right thigh.
  • Using the fingers, gently stretch the big toe up, down, and to the side.
  • Remain in this position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat this 10 times before switching to the other foot.

The following exercises can help to enhance the strength of the feet.

3. Toe splay

The toe splay was developed to improve control over the toe muscles. It can be done on both feet at once, or on alternate feet, depending on comfort.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair with the feet gently resting on the floor.
  • Spread the toes apart as far as possible without straining. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat this motion 10 times.
  • Once some strength has been built up, try looping a rubber band around the toes. This will provide resistance and make the exercise more challenging.

4. Toe curls

Toe curls build up the flexor muscles of the toes and feet, improving overall strength.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Lay a small towel on the floor in front of oneself, with the short side facing the feet.
  • Place the toes of one foot on the short side of the towel. Try to grasp the towel between the toes and pull it toward oneself. Repeat the exercise five times, before switching to the other foot.
  • To make this exercise more challenging, weigh down the opposite end of the towel with an object.

5. Marble pickup

The marble pickup was designed to increase strength in the muscles on the underside of the feet and toes.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Place an empty bowl and a bowl of marbles (20 is good to start with) on the floor in front of the feet.
  • Using only the toes of one foot, pick up each marble and place it in the empty bowl.
  • Repeat, using the other foot.

6. Sand walking

Walking barefoot on sand is a great way to stretch and strengthen the feet and calves. This is a good exercise in general because sand’s soft texture makes walking more physically demanding.

To do this exercise:

  • Head to a beach, desert, or even a volleyball court.
  • Remove shoes and socks.
  • Walk for as long as possible. Increase these distances slowly over time, to avoid overexerting muscles in the feet and calves.

The following exercises can provide pain relief.

7. Toe extension

The toe extension is useful in preventing or treating plantar fasciitis — a condition that causes pain in the heel when walking, as well as difficulty in raising the toes.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Place the left foot on the right thigh.
  • Pull the toes up, toward the ankle. A stretching feeling should be felt along the bottom of the foot and heel cord.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Massaging the arch of the foot while stretching will help ease tension and pain.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times on each foot.

8. Golf ball roll

Rolling a golf ball under the feet can help to relieve discomfort in the arches and ease pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Place a golf ball — or another hard, small ball — on the floor next to the feet.
  • Lay one foot on the ball and move it around, pressing down as hard as is comfortable. The ball should be massaging the bottom of the foot.
  • Continue for 2 minutes, then repeat on the other foot
  • A frozen bottle of water can be a soothing alternative if no suitable balls are available.

9. Achilles stretch

The Achilles tendon is a cord connecting the heel to the calf muscles. It can strain easily, and keeping it strong may help with foot, ankle, or leg pains.

To do this exercise:

  • Face a wall and raise the arms, so that the palms rest flat against the wall.
  • Place one foot back, keeping the knee straight. Then bend the knee of the opposite leg.
  • Keep both heels flat on the floor.
  • Push the hips forward, until the Achilles tendon and calf muscles can be felt stretching.
  • Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat three times on each side.
  • For a slightly different stretch, bend the back knee and push the hips forward.

How to alleviate foot pain

Many people experience foot or ankle pain at some point. By keeping the feet strong, a person can alleviate soreness, and improve overall health and flexibility.

Regularly exercising and stretching the feet and ankles can help to ensure that muscles are providing the best support. These exercises may also increase the range of motion in the feet, keeping a person active for as long as possible.

Most foot exercises are simple and require no complicated equipment. They can be done at home or in the gym as part of a regular exercise routine.

The following exercises have been developed to improve flexibility and mobility in the feet.

1. Toe raise, point, and curl

How to alleviate foot pain

Share on Pinterest There are three stages to the toe raise, point, and curl.

This exercise has three stages and will help to strengthen all parts of the feet and toes.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Keeping the toes on the floor, raise the heels. Stop when only the balls of the feet remain on the ground.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds before lowering the heels.
  • For the second stage, raise the heel and point the toes so that only the tips of the big and second toes are touching the floor.
  • Hold for 5 seconds before lowering.
  • For the third stage, raise the heel and curl the toes inward, so that only the tips of the toes are touching the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Build flexibility and mobility by repeating each stage 10 times.

2. Big toe stretch

Keeping a wide range of motion in the big toe is important. The following exercise also has three stages, and it was designed to stretch and relieve pain in toes that have been squashed in shoes.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Bring the left foot to rest on the right thigh.
  • Using the fingers, gently stretch the big toe up, down, and to the side.
  • Remain in this position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat this 10 times before switching to the other foot.

The following exercises can help to enhance the strength of the feet.

3. Toe splay

The toe splay was developed to improve control over the toe muscles. It can be done on both feet at once, or on alternate feet, depending on comfort.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair with the feet gently resting on the floor.
  • Spread the toes apart as far as possible without straining. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat this motion 10 times.
  • Once some strength has been built up, try looping a rubber band around the toes. This will provide resistance and make the exercise more challenging.

4. Toe curls

Toe curls build up the flexor muscles of the toes and feet, improving overall strength.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Lay a small towel on the floor in front of oneself, with the short side facing the feet.
  • Place the toes of one foot on the short side of the towel. Try to grasp the towel between the toes and pull it toward oneself. Repeat the exercise five times, before switching to the other foot.
  • To make this exercise more challenging, weigh down the opposite end of the towel with an object.

5. Marble pickup

The marble pickup was designed to increase strength in the muscles on the underside of the feet and toes.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Place an empty bowl and a bowl of marbles (20 is good to start with) on the floor in front of the feet.
  • Using only the toes of one foot, pick up each marble and place it in the empty bowl.
  • Repeat, using the other foot.

6. Sand walking

Walking barefoot on sand is a great way to stretch and strengthen the feet and calves. This is a good exercise in general because sand’s soft texture makes walking more physically demanding.

To do this exercise:

  • Head to a beach, desert, or even a volleyball court.
  • Remove shoes and socks.
  • Walk for as long as possible. Increase these distances slowly over time, to avoid overexerting muscles in the feet and calves.

The following exercises can provide pain relief.

7. Toe extension

The toe extension is useful in preventing or treating plantar fasciitis — a condition that causes pain in the heel when walking, as well as difficulty in raising the toes.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Place the left foot on the right thigh.
  • Pull the toes up, toward the ankle. A stretching feeling should be felt along the bottom of the foot and heel cord.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Massaging the arch of the foot while stretching will help ease tension and pain.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times on each foot.

8. Golf ball roll

Rolling a golf ball under the feet can help to relieve discomfort in the arches and ease pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit up straight in a chair, with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Place a golf ball — or another hard, small ball — on the floor next to the feet.
  • Lay one foot on the ball and move it around, pressing down as hard as is comfortable. The ball should be massaging the bottom of the foot.
  • Continue for 2 minutes, then repeat on the other foot
  • A frozen bottle of water can be a soothing alternative if no suitable balls are available.

9. Achilles stretch

The Achilles tendon is a cord connecting the heel to the calf muscles. It can strain easily, and keeping it strong may help with foot, ankle, or leg pains.

To do this exercise:

  • Face a wall and raise the arms, so that the palms rest flat against the wall.
  • Place one foot back, keeping the knee straight. Then bend the knee of the opposite leg.
  • Keep both heels flat on the floor.
  • Push the hips forward, until the Achilles tendon and calf muscles can be felt stretching.
  • Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat three times on each side.
  • For a slightly different stretch, bend the back knee and push the hips forward.

How to alleviate foot pain

There are several different ways to ease the pain associated with sore feet. Ice packs, over-the-counter pain medications, and rest can all help.

This article lists eight things a person can do to relieve discomfort from sore feet. Read on to learn more.

How to alleviate foot pain

Share on Pinterest A person can try using a cool pack to relieve foot pain.

A cool pack or homemade ice pack can help relieve foot pain. This option could be particularly useful for people with pain in the joints of their feet due to trauma, infection, inflammation, arthritis, bursitis, or gout.

However, it is important not to place ice directly onto the skin. Making an ice pack involves wrapping a bag of ice or frozen vegetables in a small towel or cloth. The person can then hold the pack on the painful foot for around 15–20 minutes at a time.

Another method is to place a cold or frozen water bottle on the floor, then roll the painful part of the foot over the bottle. This is particularly useful for people with plantar fasciitis.

Aspirin and ibuprofen are both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Because they relieve pain and reduce inflammation, they are useful for foot pain related to conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, and gout. They can also help with swollen or tired feet.

NSAIDs are available over the counter from many drugstores. People should take them with food or a glass of milk. They should also try to avoid drinking alcohol while taking these medications.

Ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes can cause many kinds of foot pain. Switching to low heeled, comfortable shoes can help with arch pain and swollen feet, particularly during pregnancy.

People with plantar fasciitis, which causes pain in the bottom of the heel, should try wearing wide shoes with a thick, cushioned sole. Using a cushioned insole might also help.

Wearing comfortable shoes can also help prevent painful ingrown toenails. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons advise anyone with an ingrown toenail to speak to a doctor. Repeatedly cutting the nail at home can make the problem worse, they say.

RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The American Podiatric Medical Association advise people who have sprained or fractured their foot to follow this method.

A sprain is a soft tissue injury that occurs when the ligaments that connect bones to each other are pulled, stretched, or torn. Tripping, falling, and sports accidents are the most common causes of sprains.

The four steps of RICE are:

  • Rest: The person should stay off the injured foot. Walking, running, or playing sports could make the injury worse.
  • Ice: The person should apply an ice pack to the injured foot as soon as they can. For the first 48 hours, they should repeat this step throughout the day, for 15–20 minutes at a time.
  • Compression: The person should wrap a bandage around the injured foot or ankle. The bandage should be snug, but the person needs to be careful not to cut off their circulation.
  • Elevation: The person should lie down and elevate the injured foot so that it is above the heart. This will decrease the swelling.

Sitting with the feet up on a footstool or chair is a simple way to ease sore, tired, or swollen feet.

During pregnancy, excess fluid can build up in the feet, causing them to swell. Elevating the feet as much as possible can help.