As a former ballet dancer, I have come up with many ways to care for sore feet. Like most ballet dancers, I have lost more than a few toe nails, have had sprained ankles, have had blisters, and have had terrible cramps in my feet. Because I wasn’t going to stop dancing just because of my foot problems, I started looking for ways to care for sore feet. These tips are useful for anyone who has foot pain, not just ballerinas with bloody and blistered feet.
1. Epsom Salt
One of the best ways to care for sore feet is to soak your feet in hot water that has had Epsom salt added to it. The hot water relaxes tired and achy feet, and the Epsom salt helps reduce swelling. Epsom salt also helps restore magnesium levels, which further helps with achy muscles. You don’t even have to have a bath to soak your feet; I just fill a bucket with hot water and add ½ a cup of Epsom salts. Then, I chill out in front of the TV while my feet start to relax.
2. Tennis Ball
A simple tennis ball can be really helpful in relieving sore feet. I often carried a tennis ball in my dance bag and would roll my feet on it when they started to feel tight. When rolling your feet on a tennis ball, you want to roll each foot very slowly and stop when you find a place that is especially sore. You should place a little extra pressure on the sore spot and hold until it starts to release. For the most benefit, you should try to roll each foot for a couple of minutes. However, even just a short amount of time can really help, especially if you have been wearing high heels all day.
3. Separate Toes
I used to have socks that would separate my toes, and I would wear them after a long day to help the muscles in my feet relax. Separating your toes stretches the muscles in your feet and helps them release. You can find toe separators at most drug stores and they are fairly inexpensive. I recommend leaving them on for 10 minutes. I always found that after 10 minutes of wearing my special socks my feet felt better.
While the tennis ball and the toe separators are really helpful, one of the best ways to relieve foot pain is a massage. Of course, it is ideal if you can have someone massage your feet for you, but it is possible to do it yourself. When massaging your feet, you want to see if there are knots in the muscles and try to work them out. It can also be really helpful to massage with essential oils, like lavender oil, that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Stretching can really help foot pain. If you have tight calves or Achilles tendons, you are much more likely to have sore feet. A simple calf stretch can help loosen up both of these tight places. You will want to hold it for 60 seconds on each side because it takes a minute for a muscle to release. You can also stretch your feet by kneeling and tucking your toes under your heels. This position will stretch the ligaments and muscles in the sole of your foot. If you are really tight, it can be painful, and you will want to be gentle. Stretching should never be really painful. If it is, you need to ease up a bit.
6. Supportive Shoes
Both high heels and flip flops can contribute to foot pain. High heels force your weight onto your toes and put your feet in an awkward position that places stress on the tendons and ligaments. Flip flops have no arch support and force your foot muscles to work extra hard to keep your shoes on your feet. If you have foot pain, you should look for shoes that have arch support and do not have a heel higher than 2 inches. I realize this limits your shoe selection, but there are some really fashionable options, you just have to look.
Elevating your feet when they are really sore can help reduce swelling. I have been known to lie on the floor and put my legs on the wall when my feet get very sore. You probably don’t need to go this far. However, propping your feet up on several pillows will ease sore feet.
If you are on your feet a lot, you probably experience a fair amount of foot pain. Using these tips will help ease your sore feet. They have certainly worked for me. What do you do when you have sore feet?