Step Up! Podiatric Insight for Happy, Healthy Feet


Sometimes it’s easy to write off foot pain—blame a long afternoon, ill-fitting shoes or yesterday’s workout—but it’s not something to ignore, especially if it’s persistent.

Fortunately, the podiatric specialists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery have some insight for keeping your feet happy, healthy and steadily stepping along.

The Most Common Foot Pain Offenders

The list of common causes for foot pain is extensive and includes everything from bunions and bone disease to flat feet and fractures. For most of us though, the culprits are injury, overuse, inflammation or arthritis. But we’re going to narrow our focus even more, since arguably the most common foot ache complaints stem from those first two offenders: injury and overuse.

Foot ache that stems from overuse may include:

  • Dull ache
  • Painful arch
  • Difficulty wearing shoes
  • Tenderness to the touch

Meanwhile, symptoms of injury could include any of the above as well as:

  • Inflammation
  • Inability to walk or apply pressure
  • Pain in ankles, knees or hips
  • Visible bruising or redness

If you have pain or swelling that you consider severe (especially if it’s stopping you from walking or standing), or if you’re a diabetic with open wounds on your feet, it’s time to call your doctor. Otherwise, consider some targeted home remedies.

A Good Excuse to Prop ‘Em Up

That euphoric feeling of relief when you prop your feet up isn’t just in your head. By elevating your feet, especially if they’re at or above the level of your heart, you’re using gravity to help reduce inflammation and redirect blood back to your heart. Plus there’s a lot to be said for simply taking your body weight off your feet, which helps further reduce inflammation and lets your muscles recover.

In addition to simple rest and elevation, ice or a hot Epsom soak are great healers, too. If you choose to ice an injured foot, we recommend leaving your ice pack in place for about twenty minutes then removing it; after twenty minutes off, you can put the ice pack back in place, then continue the on-and-off rotation as needed.

As for the Epsom soak, Epsom salts are actually a form of magnesium sulfate, which is a mineral that can be absorbed through the skin and provides numerous benefits including pain relief, reduced inflammation and improved circulation. Just fill a small foot tub with warm water up to your ankles and add one cup of Epsom salts; soak your feet for 10-15 minutes, then dry them off and prop them up!

Learn More About Happy, Healthy Feet

For more insight regarding how to care for your feet, check out “Tips for Healthy Feet” from the American Podiatric Medical Association. Then take a moment to consider whether it’s time for you to visit the podiatric specialists at Methodist Hospital for Surgery

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