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Solid Footing

From the WebMD Archives


Swelling is caused by overuse, heat, or certain medical conditions. Elevate and ice feet to treat. Cool feet down with Jergens' Cooling Sensation Moisturizer, or massage with For Every Body Peppermint Foot Cream for a tingling sensation.

Odor is caused by sweat. Avoid by wearing white cotton socks and spraying feet with deodorant. Johnson's Foot Soap leaves feet fresh and odor free. Prairie Rose Footsie-Tootsie Powder helps keep them dry and deodorized.

Throbbing and aching are caused by standing too long, uncomfortable shoes, or medical problems. Treat by soaking feet in an herbal footbath (see below), massaging, and elevating. Try wearing Loofah Loafers around the house. These special slippers increase circulation, stimulate nerve endings, massage muscles, and exfoliate. Terry cloth Aroma*Souls slippers, with floral detail, have natural loofah insoles infused with essential oils to soothe or freshen feet.

Cramping is caused by overusing generally underused muscles, kneeling for long periods of time—which reduces circulation to feet—or by dehydration, which throws off electrolyte balances. To treat, stop what you are doing, massage, walk it off, and rehydrate.

Reflexology Techniques

Laura Aho of the Reflexology Association of American recommends these self-help moves. Place your thumb or finger on the following locations and use an alternating press and release technique to stimulate the reflexes of the foot.

If you find your shoulder tight, place the corresponding leg across the opposite thigh and reach for your foot. Work the ridge across the foot just under the toes.

If your neck is tight, work the big toe and the shaft of all toes.

If you find tension and discomfort developing in your back, work the medial (inside) aspect of the foot from the big toe down to the back of the heel. The toe areas represent the cervical area; the medial aspect of the heel represents the lower back; and the thoracic area is represented in between.

Herbal Footbath

Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar suggests this recipe in her book Family Herbal (Storey, 2001).

2 parts lavender

1 part hops

1 part sage

1⁄2 part rosemary

A few drops of lavender essential oil (optional)

Place the herbs in a large pot and fill with water. Cover tightly and bring to a low simmer. Simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour some into a large basin and adjust the temperature with cold water. It is important to keep the footbath water very hot—enough to be almost uncomfortable but without burning the feet. Slowly immerse feet. Cover the basin with a thick towel to keep the heat in. Refill the basin with hot herbal tea as it cools.