The Anatomy Of Foot Pain And Natural Home Remedies
When did you last think about your feet? Almost never, right? You only notice your feet when they hurt. This is because we take a utilitarian view of our feet: have feet, will travel. And we usually walk around (a whole lot) without thinking about our feet.
Human feet are not simple machines. They are a complex and intricate interconnection of about 26 bones, 33 joints and about a hundred different tendons and ligaments.
If you remember your high school biology, ligaments connect muscle to muscle while tendons connect bone to muscle.
2 Major Tendons In The Feet Where Pain Lives
One is in the back of the heel and it connects the calf muscle to the heel. This is called the Achilles tendon after the demigod Achilles. Greek legend tells that the mother of Achilles wanted to make her son invincible and so she dipped him in the River Styx, holding him only by his ankle.
That part of his ankle that his mother held as she dipped him in the river was not touched by the powerful water of the River Styx and so, Achilles’s heel is his weakest part. We may not be demigods but still, the Achilles heel is where we experience a lot of pain.
We also experience pain in the arch of our feet. This is because the arch is really a tendon that connects the heel bone to the toes. These two areas of our feet are where we bear most of our body’s weight. Some scientists have estimated that our feet absorb about 2,000,000 kilograms of accumulated pressure during our lifetime.
Remedies Based On Cause Of Pain
The remedies for foot pain really depend upon the cause of the foot pain.
-If there is a strain or a sprain in any of the soft tissues of the feet, there will be inflammation, and hence, pain.
-If there is a malformation of bones (bunions) or fracture of bones in the feet, then these will cause excruciating pain.
-Ingrown toenails, callouses and corns often cause pain as well.
-Most of us, though, experience pain in our feet because of overuse of our feet without giving them the proper support necessary to keep them pain-free.
Support for the feet means shoes that fit well; shoes that have proper cushioning for the heel; shoes that absorb the pressure that we put on our feet as we engage in strenuous activity.
Often, wearing a good thick pair of socks also protects the feet from injury such as blisters, splinters and cracked heels.
If the foot pain is caused by a wound, then tend to the wound by running water over the wound to remove dirt and other foreign matter from the wound. Wash it with soap to disinfect the area.
Clean and dry the wound with antiseptic, such as, iodine. Put gauze on the wound and keep it clean and dry. Clean the wound regularly until a scab is formed and change the dressing regularly until the wound heals. Avoid wearing closed shoes while your wound has not yet healed.
Muscle Sprains And Strains Treatment
If your foot pain is due to muscle sprain or strain, and the foot is sore to the touch, it might mean that there is inflammation.
The first aid for inflammation is to use a hot and cold soak alternately. You may fill two basins with hot water and ice water.
Put Epsom salt and vinegar in the both the basins. Dip your feet in the basin with the hot water and soak or about five minutes. Remove your feet and soak it in the cold water. Do this repeatedly until you feel relief.
Soaking your feet alternately in hot and cold water will cause the blood vessels in the feet to dilate and constrict. This jump starts circulation of blood in the feet thereby giving the feet relief.
After this, rub your feet with peppermint or eucalyptus oil. Put some socks on your feet and keep them elevated. Keep off your feet for a while.
You can also get a rolling pin or a tennis ball and roll your foot on the rolling pin or tennis ball. This will allow the muscles of the feet to stretch after a day of being constricted inside tight pinching shoes or high-heeled stiletto shoes. It will also allow the arch of the feet to stretch and regain its flexibility.
If the pain in the feet worsens when weight is put on it or when the pain prevents you from wiggling your toes, these are signs of a fracture in the small bones of your feet. You must immediately seek medical help for this type of pain.
Depending upon the site of the pain and the fracture, you might need to wear a cast or a splint, use crutches to lessen the pressure on the feet or wear orthopaedic shoes until the fracture heals.
For pain caused by fractures, an orthopaedist will probably prescribe a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory to reduce the perception of pain. After the fracture has healed, the doctor may also prescribe physical therapy to strengthen the muscles of the feet that have been immobilized while the fracture was healing.
Ignoring pain in the feet can affect posture and the pain can radiate up to the calves up until the waist. The feet contain a lot of nerve endings and for this reason our perception of pain in our feet is often immediate.
Take care of your feet, they were meant to last a lifetime – and it’s not likely that you will ever find a replacement for them.