Between snug winter boots and pretty party shoes, it’s no wonder that 78 percent of us are experience foot issues come this time of year! Thankfully, experts say there are some simple strategies we can do at home to give our cranky feet some sweet, sweet relief. Read on for their tried-and-true tips!
To Ease Aches: Buy Memory Foam Slippers
Memory-foam slippers can cushion irritated nerves and weary muscles, say Finnish researchers, nixing foot pain on the first day of wear!
Related: Best Slippers for Foot Pain
To Heal Cracks: Use Aspirin Paste
Cold weather and indoor heat double your risk of cracks and corns. Thankfully, Canadian researchers say you can smooth your feet in seven days, plus cut the risk of future cracks and corns by 65 percent, with thrice-weekly aspirin pedicures! Mix five crushed aspirin ($4.90, Amazon) with 1⁄2 tsp. each of lemon juice and water and massage into rough spots. Wait 10 minutes, then rinse and buff with a pumice stone ($9.97, Amazon) and moisturize.
To Nix Heel Pain: Stretch in Bed
Time spent on your feet can inflame the ligament that connects your heel to your toes, leading to needle-like pains in your heels, says sports medicine researcher Matthew Wyon, Ph.D. The good news? Stretching this ligament as soon as you wake up and any time you’ve been sitting for more than an hour can nix pain in three days, plus cut risk of future heel troubles by as much as 60 percent. Just gently pull your toes toward you, hold them for 10 seconds, and release. Repeat twice.
To Fight Foot Cramps: Try Wintergreen Oil
According to University of Miami researchers, wintergreen essential oil ($9.95, Amazon) contains a natural anti-inflammatory called methyl salicylate that relaxes muscles and improves circulation, erasing foot pain and swelling in five minutes or less. To use it, mix six drops with 2 ounces of lotion and massage into your feet, using firm pressure.
To Calm Bothersome Bunions: Eat More Fish
While silicone-gel toe spacers ($8.99, Amazon) in your shoes can give you an instant break from bunion pain, enjoying four fish meals weekly can offer more long-term relief. Immunologist Jessica Teeling, Ph.D., explains that the healthy fats in fish can tamp down joint-damaging proteins, reducing toe swelling and stiffness by 55 percent.
To Halt Fungal Growth: Do Vinegar Soaks
Hot boots are a breeding ground for athlete’s foot. To halt fungal growth, soak your feet for 10 minutes three times weekly in diluted vinegar ($2.99, Amazon) with one part white vinegar to two parts very warm water. Dry feet thoroughly before slipping on clean socks.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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