Spring brings with it a common complaint from clients, “My feet are sore at times!” It took me a couple of years of living on the Sunny Coast to put the pieces together as to why I was hearing this often in Spring. It never happened in Sydney in the 15years I was massaging there…
From my point of view, having healthy feet is an important factor to the overall health of your body. Any pain in your feet will undoubtedly cause issues elsewhere in your body because it will alter the way you walk, whether you do it consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes your altered gait remains long after the pain in your feet is resolved because your brain thinks it needs to continue walking in this altered fashion to keep the pain at bay. This leads to long term wear and tear on your joints as they are not tracking properly and/or muscle imbalances. So, what started out as a pain in your heel can end up causing you other musculoskeletal issues. Hence my strong recommendation that you take good care of your feet and keep them healthy and pain free.
Do you wear shoes inside your home? This is the first question I ask clients who tell they have sore feet & I would surmise that a large majority of people say “no, I hate wearing shoes inside” my next question is “do you have tiles or a concrete based floor at home? To which I hear a resounding YES! So here is a probable cause to your foot pain, the impact of walking around on a cool hard surface is one your feet do not bear well. As a start, this causes damaged to the soft tissue on the soles of your feet, which causes inflammation which causes pain. If you have pain in your feet first thing in the morning and those first few steps are taken tentatively then this is a potential to what is happening in your feet.
If you are wearing shoes inside and you still have sore feet check how much you a gripping on with your toes when you walk in your summer footwear. Sometimes the transition from closed in shoes to slip on shoes can be the trigger if the muscles in your feet are working overtime as your toes grip on to keep your shoes in place.
So, my advice is to wear shoes inside all the time whilst you are walking around on hard unforgiving surfaces. Invest in a supportive and comfy pair of shoes if you are on your feet most of the day. If you are standing in a limited space whilst working get some rubber matting to stand on. I have thick rubber matting on the floor of my treatment room for this very reason, an inexpensive but invaluable investment in my opinion.
If your feet are sore, what can you do? That will depend on the degree of pain you’re in. If they are constantly painful you really need to see a musculoskeletal specialist, be that a podiatrist, acupuncturist, osteopath, physio, chiro or massage therapist, who will help you to get the inflammation and soft tissue damage under control. If you have a relationship already with a practitioner from one of these modalities then book and appointment ASAP or ask a friend, family member or other health professional for someone they recommend. If you are starting to feel a bit of pain occasionally in your feet then there are a few things you can do at home to help. Stretch your calf muscles for a good 15 seconds three times each side three times a day but not to the point that it’s painful. Note if you feel this flares things up more then do it less and gradually build up. One important thing to remember when stretching your calf muscles is that you need to do it with your knee straight and bent to ensure you are stretching all the muscles in your calf as they have different insertion points in your knee. Soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salts for 10 to 15min a day. Then, roll the base of your foot on either a spikey ball or tennis ball whichever is more comfortable. Then massage either magnesium oil or muscle pain relief cream on your feet for a good 5 mins each. Be sure to have a pair of socks ready to put straight on so you don’t slip over! Then put your shoes straight on or put your feet up with a cuppa & a great book.
Walking around on hard floors bare foot is not the only reason to have sore feet so, if your feet continue to be sore then please see your integrated GP, naturopath or other health professional for further investigations into the cause.
At this point in the conversation with my client I can see the disappointment on their face from me telling them they have to wear their shoes. The follow up remark I have is, enjoy not wearing your shoes outside where the grass and dirt can get between your toes in your garden or go for a walk along the beach. The direct contact with earth is important to your overall health and that’s why we enjoy not wearing shoes so much but all I’m suggesting is, do it when it’s going to be of benefit to your body rather than a hindrance to your health.