Natural Ways to Get Rid of Foot Pain Caused By Running

Our feet are the pillars that support us in everything we do. We rarely get an opportunity to appreciate the importance of something we take for granted, and the moment our feet start to hurt, we start realizing what a huge gift mobility is.

Today we’ll talk about natural ways to get rid of foot pain caused by running — easy and effective ways to mend the hurting areas with household supplies, so let’s dig straight in.

A runner addresses foot pain while out on the trail

Foot massage

Massaging almost any area of the body promotes better blood circulation, reduces physical stress it has endured, relieves pains, and ultimately makes the area healthier. In addition to these benefits, foot massages also alleviate swelling and can actually improve your mood.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is reflexology — the method of applying pressure to specific areas of a person’s feet (or hands), which stimulates, relaxes, and relieves stress and pain from other areas of the body.

Combining both methods, you can rid yourself of fatigue caused by running, pent-up stress from work, alleviate foot pain, and get a good night’s sleep while you’re at it.

While foot massages can be performed by people who have little (or no) experience to great effect, the reflexology approach requires special foot charts and a pair of skilled hands. Fortunately, accurate charts can be found online, so you can start practicing this method easily. Just be gentle to yourself at first.

Stretch often

Exercising when you’re feeling pain can feel counter-intuitive, but stretches can help you get rid of it in the long run.

Heel spur stretches in particular are exceptionally effective when it comes to alleviating foot pain caused by running. One of the most basic heel spur exercises is called the ‘wall calf stretch’. Essentially, support yourself against a wall with your back slightly inching towards it. Keep one leg straight while the other supports it in a comfortable position. Move your body downwards while keeping the stretched leg as straight as possible.

It’s normal to feel pain in your calves; pick a tempo that doesn’t bother you, and reset when the pain becomes too much to bear. Repeat the cycle for a few minutes each day, and the pain will go away.

A runner follows an off-road trail through the woods

Use ice packs

Using ice to treat any kind of pain is referred to as cryotherapy. Basically, most kinds of pain are caused by inflammation, which is a direct consequence of overexertion of the muscles and nerves, and ice works like a charm to reduce its effects.

Applying ice reduces the blood flow towards the targeted area, which was scientifically proven to be the best method (and the quickest) to reduce inflammation, regardless of how severe it might be.

Ice should never be placed directly onto your skin, though. This way, it would not only reduce but also constrict the blood flow (which is called vasoconstriction — constriction of blood vessels), which may have a negative impact on your systemic blood pressure.

Instead, wrap a block of ice in a piece of cloth or a towel. Hold the wrap around the pained area for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes; remove it if your skin starts turning pale or if you experience any kind of uncomfortable sensation other than the initial coldness of the wrap.

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can also work as substitutes if your feet hurt too much, as these medications act faster and with improved efficiency. Most popular anti-inflammatory medications include ibuprofen, naproxen & aspirin.

Buy more breathable running shoes

One of the leading causes of foot inflammation is the foot not being able to ‘breathe’. Shoes made of certain materials, such as polyester, denim, obviously cowhide, and some types of artificial leather, are particularly bad for this. One of the most breathable footwear fabrics is nylon, which is also fairly lightweight.

A runner ties shoes built from potentially problematic material

Another factor that you should consider when opting for a new set of running shoes is the type of support that they have to offer. If you’re struggling with foot pain exclusively, you can easily address this issue by buying orthopaedic insoles rather than a brand-new pair of shoes.

In terms of insoles, you can either opt for a general-purpose model for global foot pain or get an area-specific insole (ball-of-foot, sides, heel, and such).

However, if you’re also struggling to keep balance and tend to become fatigued faster than you believe is normal, you may need lighter shoes with better arch support.

A pair of breathable shoes, good for reducing foot pain from running

Foot baths

Foot baths are very enjoyable and should be frequently used regardless of whether you’ve started experiencing foot pain or not.

There are numerous benefits to foot soak baths: they reduce the effects of athlete’s foot, treat foot fungus diseases, loosen the skin so that splinters can be removed, and reduce gout pain, as well as promoting better blood circulation.

If you want to turn your foot soak into an actual treatment, you should also try adding half a cup of Epsom salt, a couple of drops of any essential oil, and a dozen teaspoons of carrier oil.

This is, by far, the most efficient personal foot pain treatment by a long shot, although it may not be efficient if you’ve developed a serious condition that is causing it to hurt, such as bone spurs, bunions, avulsion fracture, Achilles' tendon rupture, or any broken bones/torn nerves.

A runner bathes their foot in a stream

Keep your feet elevated

It’s important to pinpoint the exact cause of your foot pain. Knowing that it’s caused by running is just the first step; next, you should find out whether your foot is swollen, inflamed, or physically hurt (splinters, cuts, and bruises).

The methods we discussed so far are versatile, but their main emphasis is on treating inflammation and physical pains.

If your feet are swollen, keeping them in an elevated position is an efficient way of relieving tension and stress, which will gradually reduce the swelling. Feet can accumulate excess fluids for a variety of reasons, the most notable ones being non-breathable shoes and overexertion.

Rest properly and avoid walking as much as possible

Rest is a crucial part of any type of recovery, foot pain included. Overexertion is essentially a phenomenon that occurs when an inflamed, swollen, or physically damaged limb is used in spite of pain and stress, which is the most detrimental course of action for anyone who wants to get rid of these nuisances.

Delegate any chores that require you to walk, and try to stay in bed with your feet in an elevated position as much as possible. If you absolutely need to walk, consider using crutches to support your weight on your healthy foot (unless both are hurting).

If both of your feet hurt and you need to go to the hospital, take extra slow steps while re-balancing your weight from one foot to another. Hail a cab or ask friends to drive you whenever possible until your feet stop hurting.

We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on how to get rid of running-related foot pain in a natural way. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one!

Originally published 24/06/21

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