Healthy feet don't just happen. In fact, I’m here to tell you that planning to prevent foot pain should be part of your every day life. Whether you're spending the day running errands, heading to a party, or simply spending the whole day behind a desk, you need to make smart decisions BEFORE your feet hurt if you don't wan't to pay the price later.

And, by the way, while you might be tempted to live your best life in the hottest high heels, just know that it’s a really bad idea. Not only will your feet ache by the end of the day, but you’ll also be leaving yourself open to ankle sprains and other injuries.

Smart Ways to Prevent Foot Pain Running on a treadmill in orthotics by Houston podiatrist

When it comes to keeping your feet happy, some moves are just obvious (but I'll spell them out for you anyway.) Here you go:

1. Wear walking shoes or sneakers to avoid foot pain.

And NEVER leave your house in flip-flops or even Uggs if you'll be spending extended time on your feet. If errands are the order of the day, your feet will be taking a major beating. So you should wear the most comfortable and supportive pair of shoes you own.

2. I always say, it all starts with the socks.

So, if you aren't heading for a workout, I'd suggest wearing cotton socks. They'll absorb sweat and keep your feet dry, helping you avoid athlete’s foot.  Just remember: if you are running or working out, you'll be better off with a sweat-wicking athletic sock. Because, when your feet are really sweaty, cotton socks can soak up too much moisture and become soggy. This can create a situation where your damp socks rub against your feet. It could leave you with painful blisters because of the friction. 

Even better? Try this new foot hack from some creative inventors in Israel. They've created special summer insoles that help prevent foot sweat. These layered insoles come with over 400 holes in the top most layer. This helps keep sweat away from your feet. So sweat doesn't build up and create problems with odor, rubbing or fungal infections.

Still, you have to remember: insoles and orthotics are different. Insoles can help give your feet a bit more padding. Or they can keep foot sweat from causing you trouble. But they can't make up for faulty mechanics in your feet. So, if you're fighting foot pain, stick with orthotics. (Which, as it turns out, is my next foot-pain fighting tip!)

3. Consider investing in orthotics.

If your feet have flat arches, or tend to roll to one side or the other, the simple act of walking, or even completing every-day tasks, may be extremely painful. So, if foot pain is a concern, a custom-molded orthotic could be the answer to your problems.!

Now, we promised you seven tips for foot pain relief, and don't worry--we'll deliver. We've just broken them up a bit. These first three are preventative tips. And the final four? They're all about the post-pain recovery process. Happy healing! 

Your Custom-Crafted Foot Pain Recovery Plan

Already dealing with foot pain? No problem, I'm here to help. Here's what I want you to do, with my final four tips:  

1. Stick 'em up.

If your feet are sore, especially if you've also got some swelling, your go-to move must be elevation. Why? Elevating your feet makes it easier for excess fluid or pooled blood to flow out of your feet, which means swelling should go down fairly quickly. Now, any elevation can help, but this move works best when your feet are higher than your heart. So, if possible, lie down and propr your legs and feet up with some pillows.  Bonus? This is a super-relaxing way to end your day.  Soak tired feet for an end-of-day foot pain solution

2. Get Moving.

Sometimes, putting your feet up just isn't possible. So, if you need to get blood flowing out of your feet, but propping them up is a no go, just move them around a bit. Rotate your ankles, clench and unclench your toes, or get fancy and try tracing the alphabet with your feet. Whatever your jam, this motion should help get blood flowing and help your feet feel better. 

3. Stretch your feet. 

Just like the rest of your muscles, foot muscles tighten up and get sore, especially after a particularly taxing day. To help loosen things up, soak your feet in warm water as soon as you get home, then start stretching those newly-relaxed muscles. Using your hands or a strap if you're tight, sit in a comfortable position, legs out, and stretch out the ankle and toe joints with a nice firm tug. Hold for 30 seconds or as long as feels comfortable.

4. Give yourself a sweet massage. 

Get some lotion and apply it to dryer spots on your feet, like your heels or the balls of your feet. Then, using light pressure--or whatever you prefer--gently take your thumbs and give a good rub to any spots that feel sore. This is a great way to release the tension that may have built up over the day and prevent next-day soreness. 

Follow these tips and I’m fairly certain your feet will feel great, today and every day. But if for some reason you find yourself experiencing foot pain that won't succumb to my genius healing tips, come see your Houston podiatrist at Tanglewood Foot Specialists as soon as possible.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.
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