Our feet take us everywhere we go, quite literally! Yet, we often neglect them and let them come last when practising self care. In fact, a 2014 survey of 1000 US Adults reported that 8 out 10 have had a foot problem, ranging from ingrown toenails to chronic foot pain (1). It’s so important to take care of your feet so that these issues don’t crop up. Below I’ll give you a few different ways to take care of your feet so that you are prepared and able to have healthy feet.
Try the Legs-Up-the-Wall yoga pose
Simply do exactly as it says! Sit with your bum against a wall and your back on the ground, then set your legs against the wall above you. This semi-supine pose combined with controlled breathing leads to whole body relaxation. Not to mention that elevating your legs like that helps encourage lymphatic drainage, preventing fluid backup, and helps encourage circulation by driving blood back to your heart. Additionally, when you elevate body parts over your heart, it reduces swelling. This pose can stretch your hamstrings, relieve lower back tension, and relax your pelvic floor. It’s a great all around pose to help your body recover, but especially great for your legs and feet.
Roll a ball under your feet
anatomē has spoken before about the benefits of self-massage and the feet are no exception. Rolling a ball (lacrosse works best, but in a pinch, tennis balls will do) over your feet helps to stretch and loosen the connective tissue that lays over the muscles, otherwise known as the fascia, making it easier for the underlying muscles to move more freely. Simply sit in a chair and roll your foot over your lacrosse ball on the floor, with as much pressure as feels comfortable (start light and work up to a deeper massage), ensuring that you get all of the spots in your feet that feel tight. If you feel like this isn’t doing enough, try standing on one leg and putting the ball under the other foot, it will allow you to provide more pressure and hopefully give you some relief.
Give yourself a foot massage
- Find a comfortable place to sit and rest your foot on the opposite knee.
- Pour a moisturising oil onto your hands, then rub your hands lightly over the whole surface of your foot, making sure to get your toes, arch, and heel. Apply gentle pressure as you rub the oil into your foot.
- For a deep massage, use your knuckles and press firmly into the muscles of your foot. Press firmly, then release as if you’re kneading dough on the fleshy part of the foot, such as the bottom of the heel, the arch, and the ball of the foot.
- Grab your foot with both hands and slide your thumbs over the top, using firm but gentle pressure as you move from your toes to the back of your foot. Repeat on the bottom of your foot. It helps to move your thumbs in small circles as well to help loosen the connective tissue over the muscle and relieve soreness.
- Focus on your arch and other trigger points to relieve pain and tension.
- Gently pull your toes back to stretch the foot and help reduce inflammation in your plantar fascia.
- Stick your fingers in between your toes and stretch your toes to help relieve tension in your toes.
- Repeat on the other foot.
Use a pumice stone and foot balm
Now that you’ve taken care of the muscles, it’s time to take care of the skin on your feet. Using a pumice stone is a great way to help remove calluses, dryness and discomfort. Paired with a restorative foot balm, it will help to soften hard skin on your feet. Simply wet your feet in warm water, then rub a foot balm over your feet to help soften the skin you’re about to remove. Then gently massage the pumice stone into your hard skin to help remove calluses and restore your feet. Once you’re happy with your feet, rinse and moisturise to help keep them baby soft.