Treat Your Feet Right – Naturally
Our feet take us places and allow us to leap, hop and kick but sometimes we do not appreciate them as much as we should. Just imagine some of the things we do – standing for long periods of time, walking on high heels and even wearing shoes that are uncomfortable.
Of all, standing may seem like the least strenuous activity but most of us will agree that when done for long periods of time, standing causes nothing but pain. There will be pain in the feet, in the calves and even in the lower back. So if you have to stand for hours, perhaps while shopping or in a crowded train, it is best that you know how to protect your feet. For example, if you have been on your feet all day long and start to feel pain or tightness in them, it is advisable for you to relieve the pressure even temporarily. Instead of just standing still, walk as much as you can, wiggle your toes whenever possible and rotate your ankles.
For those who need to stand or walk a lot…
For the ladies who are required to stand or walk when working, the best advice would be to keep two pairs of shoes at the workplace – a pair of medium height heels and flats. Just switch between them throughout the day so that your legs wouldn’t feel as though they are killing you when you are working. Different shoes actually require you to use different muscles in your feet, thus pressure is exerted on different areas when you switch between the shoes. It is vital that the shoes you choose are absolutely comfortable. This is because standing for an hour in a pair of uncomfortable shoes will cause more pain than an entire day spent in comfy shoes.
For those who need to stand for hours…
For those whose work requires them to stand in one spot, a carpet will definitely help you get through the day as a carpet will help to lessen the strain on both your leg muscles and feet. Another useful tip is to slip off the shoes you’re wearing, raise yourself on tiptoes and lower yourself again, making sure to flex each foot and wiggle your toes after that.
For those who have swollen feet…
Did you know that your feet could swell as much as 10% when you are standing for several hours? So when you have the chance to finally sit, make sure that you do not apply pressure on your feet at all. Instead, prop your feet up if possible and raise them to the level of your hips as this will allow your feet to return to their normal size. A nice foot massage wouldn’t hurt either especially at the end of the day. So, if you know someone who can give you that massage, make sure to treat them good. Else, simply pop into a spa or a reflexology centre to give your weary feet a much needed kneading.
After a long hard day at work trying to ease the pain in your legs until you get home, you finally arrive home where you can put up your feet and breathe a sigh of relief. That’s not all; give your feet some much deserved care regimens that take just 5-10 minutes, all of which can be done at home using natural remedies:
Relaxing your aching feet
Plain ‘ol warm water is one of the easiest remedies for your feet. Before bedtime, soak your feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes. The warm water will help to relax the muscles in your feet. It would be even more beneficial if you add some essential oils into the warm water which will not only be good for your body but also your mind as well. A foot bath containing lavender, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, peppermint or even olive oil would help to relieve your painful or sore feet. Also consider adding some mustard seeds into the water as it is said that the seeds will be able to stimulate blood flow, detoxify tissues and increase the metabolism rate. Alternatively, you can also use the cold and warm treatment on your feet. Soak your feet in warm water first before transferring your feet to cold water, spending 2-3 minutes in each bucket of water.
Controlling that foot stink
For those who are suffering from foot odour, there are quite a number of natural remedies which you can consider taking up. For example, putting sage leaves into your shoe is a time-tested remedy that will definitely help you in controlling your foot odour. You can also soak your feet in a mixture of 50-70g of apple vinegar and warm water. If you are hesitant of using vinegar, you can replace it with lemon juice instead. Lemon juice has anti-bacterial properties that help to kill odour-causing bacteria.
Fungal infections on your toenails can be solved with a mixture of tea tree oil, lemon oil, chamomile and celandine tincture. A foot bath that consists of celandine has been proven beneficial. Just take 4-5 table spoons of celandine flowers and boil them in a litre of water for 3-5 minutes. Let the mixture cool down and then soak your feet in it for 20 -30 minutes.
These natural recommendations are certainly worth a try as they are effective and more importantly, you will not experience any form of side effects which you may experience with the products or medication that you buy at the pharmacy.
Moisturising your feet
You moisturise your hand, your face and your body but most of the time, you forget about your feet. They should not be neglected and in fact, your feet should be moisturised every day along with the rest of your body.
The key to preventing dry feet is to rub some petroleum jelly or lotion onto them before putting on socks every night before you go to sleep. A word of caution though: Be careful when you are moisturising as there is a danger of slathering on more lotion that you need to especially between your toes, which will cause a fungal infection.
You may not know this but your feet will get exposed to a lot of dirt and dust by the time you get home at the end of the day. If you do not shower at night, then at least make it a routine for you to wash your feet before you go to bed. Use soap and make sure you rub in between the toes so that your feet will be thoroughly washed. Then, don’t just let your feet dry by walking all over the house but use a clean towel to wipe your feet gently instead. This is not just good personal hygiene but washing your feet before you go to bed prevents you from bringing a day’s accumulated dirt to bed too.
A pedicure will do wonders for your feet as well, so make this a habit for yourself. Taking care of your feet will prevent them from becoming dry and making sure that they stay soft while at the same time ensuring that your toenails are neat and clean. If you are concerned about the lack of time or extra expenses from having to go to a nail parlour to get a pedicure done, don’t worry as you can have your very own inexpensive pedicure in the comfort of your own home.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Soak your feet for 5-10 minutes in lukewarm water and add some essential oils to it.
2. Exfoliate your feet to remove dead and dry skin but make sure to moisturise afterwards. When you are exfoliating, make sure that you do so in a filing motion and never rub your feet too hard.
3. When you are cutting your nails, make sure that you cut it straight across and not curved as doing so will cause ingrown toenails.
4. Your cuticles are important as well, so don’t forget about them. Apply cuticle oil to soften and moisturise them.
Re-energise your feet
Now that you know how to pamper and care for your feet, how do you make sure that they are good enough to start a new long day at work, and many more days ahead? This is when you need to re-energise your feet. Like the rest of your body, your feet will slowly lose steam as the day wears on. The following are simple tips and exercises to re-energise your feet wherever you are, so try them out and see if any of them suits you. Most of these exercises will require you to sit down and take off your shoes but it shouldn’t be a problem at all as you can simply work your feet and toes out under your office desk or while watching TV at home.
As the name suggests, take the opportunity to tap your toes as though you are pressing down on a pedal whenever you are seated. It doesn’t matter if you have both feet doing this simultaneously, as long as you remember to give the toes of both feet a stretching.
The first thing that you need to do is to shake your feet as this will help loosen the muscles and relax the joints of your feet. You would have most likely jiggled your arms to shake out cramped muscles in your hands and fingers; this is what you are doing with your feet now. After that, wiggle your toes, first on one foot and then the other.
This particular exercise will require a rolling pin (make sure you get one that you will use exclusively for your feet!) and you sitting on the floor. Use your foot and roll the pin back and forth, then do the same with the other foot. If you think this exercise makes your feet feel good, why not take the rolling pin with you to the office where you can do this little exercise to relieve tension in your legs at work. Other items that can be used to substitute the rolling pin include a bottle or even smaller objects such as a golf ball.
All you need to do is to know the alphabets and use your toes to write them from A to Z in the air. It is as simple as that.
Sit with your back against a chair and then hang your handbag over one foot. Make sure the bag isn’t really huge or a heavy one filled with an entire makeup kit. Slowly raise your foot until the bag hangs in the air and try to hold that position for as long as you can before slowly lowering it to the ground. Now, switch the bag to your other foot and repeat the exercise. The guys can perform this handbag lifts too by borrowing a bag from your wife or girlfriend.
Use your feet to pick up an object like a pen or pencil. If you have a marble, you can use it too as it only makes the gripping exercise more challenging.
With these tips on how to improve the well-being of your feet, the natural remedies that you could use to care for your feet and the exercises that ensure they continue to take you far, you are one step closer to having feet that are up and kicking.