Why Do My Feet Hurt?!
The human foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles and tendons. All of the bones in the foot comprise about 25% of the bones in your entire body! And everyday, all of these bones, joints and ligaments are tied up, strapped in, and bound with a high probability of being extremely overused and overlooked.
We limit our feet in their ability to move by cramming them in shoes all day and then wonder why they cramp, swell, and limit our ability to effectively achieve certain positions (such as during the squat or running) without some sort of pain or discomfort.
Foot Pain Remedies
Outside of movement, our feet are important: our immune system, digestive tracts, circulatory systems and kidney and liver functions are all connected to our feet. These are but a handful of reasons why we need to care for them. Here are some tips to get started!
The Golf Ball – Rolling out your feet with a COLD golf ball (yes, stick it in your freezer) helps stimulate blood flow to the foot and break down adhesions, especially those caused by plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Begin by rolling at the center of your foot from the outside of the foot back into the middle. Roll for as long as it takes to break up “the crunchies” (as my friend’s daughter calls them).
Voodoo Floss Band (by Rogue) – Wrap the Voodoo Floss Band around your ankles or calves just tight enough to create compression, but without losing circulation. Once around your ankle or calf, think about moving your foot in all planes of motion, actively and passively loading the tissues. While wearing the Voodoo Floss Band, try writing your name with your foot, stretching your calves, squatting, stepping up onto a box, stepping off a box and onto your toes, lateral lunges and add a kettlebell while in the bottom of a squat. Work through these various ranges of motion for no more than 2 minutes and then remove the band.
Soaking Your Feet in Ice – When you dunk your feet in an ice bucket, you’ll probably want to scream! But, before you run away, did you know that soaking your feet in ice water for 15 minutes a day can help relieve muscle soreness? According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Cold water baths appear to be significantly more effective than rest in relieving delayed-onset muscle soreness, which typically occurs one to four days after exercise or other physical activity.” The practice of soaking your feet in ice also helps mood, sex life, circulation, adds extra shine to your hair, improves your skin’s health, flushes lactic acid out of your body and so much more! Try dunking for 15 minutes-on, 15 minutes-off, 15 minutes-on, only increasing that time as you become more comfortable.
The Bells – The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in your entire body, connecting your calf muscle to the back of your heel. It is a tough area to massage and it also gets a lot of wear and tear, especially if the calf muscle is tight. More often than not, most resort to a foam roller when wanting to increase circulation to this area. I want to suggest using a kettlebell or a slightly elevated barbell (add small plates to each side). Take 2 minutes each day to roll out your calves and Achilles by laying them atop a kettlebell or a barbell and rolling out, side to side on the kettlebell and back and forth on the barbell, allowing gravity to do all the work. We like the kettlebell and dumbbell because it penetrates a little deeper into the tissue than a foam roller ever could. Hold still and take 5 deep breaths in places where you find that “sticky” or painful point.
Stretch – Stretching gets a bad rap and is totally overlooked. Stretching not only prepares the joints for movement, but it also prepares the muscles for optimal activation. It is especially important post workout or after a long day of being on your feet because it helps increase circulation to the muscle being stretched as well as increases flexibility and range of motion. Spend a few minutes stretching your feet and calves every day and you will be (and feel) much better for it!
Grounding – when was the last time you took your shoes off and walked (or stood) barefoot on the earth? Grounding is said to be the transfer of Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body. Benefits include better sleep and reduced pain. Try this very simple exercise for just 5 minutes a day. We think you’ll love it!
Elevate your legs – Lay on your back with your booty up against the wall. Then lift your legs until they are straight and lying gently on the wall. Some of the benefits?
It’s super calming for the nervous system
Regulates blood flow
Alleviates menstrual cramps
Relieves swollen ankles and varicose veins
Helps testicular, semen, and ovarian problems in men and women respectively
Restores tired feet or legs
Stretches the back of the neck, front torso, and back of the legs
It helps quiet the mind
Try it at home for 5-10 minutes per day for starters.
Taking care of our feet, Achilles, and calves is so often overlooked which is odd considering we spend a considerable amount of time on our feet on a daily basis. Shouldn’t our legs get more of the love and attention they deserve for all the work they do? Take a few moments each day and try some of these self care practices; your legs will thank you!
Disclaimer: If you are ever in doubt or experiencing pain, please stop the movement immediately and seek medical advice from your doctor.