Have you been enjoying taking more walks since the start of the pandemic? Many of us have, and for good reason: studies show that long walks in nature are proven to lift spirits by 157 percent! Foot trouble can get in the way of those strolls, though — so we rounded up easy, affordable fixes for the most common complaints. If you’ve been sidelined by achy feet, try these home remedies to feel better fast.
“Extra activity can inflame the ligament stretching from your heel to your toes, leading to needle-like pains — a condition called plantar fasciitis,” says podiatrist William Levine, D.P.M. The fix: tucking over-the-counter silicone heel cushions into your shoes, which scientists at Chicago’s Rush University say provides instant relief. To lessen the odds of recurring flare-ups by 60 percent, keep feet limber by gently pulling your toes toward you while seated and holding this stretch for 20 seconds daily. (And check out the best sandals for plantar fasciitis, too!)
Cold winter air can lead to painfully cracked skin, especially on our heels. The easy Rx: Three times a week, mix five crushed aspirin with a half teaspoon of lemon juice and a half teaspoon of water; massage into rough spots and let sit for 10 minutes before buffing and moisturizing. Mount Sinai Hospital scientists say aspirin’s salicylic acid dissolves dead cells, softening skin in seven days and reducing the odds of future cracks by 65 percent.
As the weather warms, you lose more fluids through your skin, causing a shortfall of muscle-relaxing magnesium that can trigger painful foot cramps. For fast relief, try rubbing on some magnesium oil, which delivers the mineral straight to where it’s needed most. And to dodge future trouble, take 400 mg. of magnesium daily. Canadian scientists say this puts an end to foot cramps in 72 hours. Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
Bunions and Corns
Instead of wearing slippers at home, go barefoot! Orthopedic surgeon Carol Frey, M.D., says “when you stroll without shoes, your foot muscles and ligaments can stretch and move properly, and that quickly improves circulation and reduces bunion swelling and pain.” For corns, UCLA scientists suggest covering them with petroleum jelly and a bandage at bedtime, then buffing skin each morning. This can flatten the painful bumps in 10 days!
Do fun-filled days make your feet sweaty? Simply spritz them with antiperspirant spray before donning shoes, and you’ll cut your risk of blisters by 76 percent. Australian scientists say keeping feet dry is the key to sidestepping blister-causing friction. One to try: Odorex Foot Antiperspirant Spray — Buy from Amazon, $12.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.