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3 Ways to Relieve That Mystery Foot Pain

Did you know 88% of women wear shoes that are too small? The wrong shoe size is just one of the reasons behind your aching feet.


1. Be smart about shoes.
High heels aren’t great for your feet, but did you know that flats might be just as bad? The lack of support can cause painful conditions such as plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the tissue that runs from heel to toes), and flimsy shoes can lead to knee, hip, and back pain. To avoid injury, Carly Robbins, DPM, suggests limiting these styles to days that don’t involve much standing or walking. Orthotic inserts and over-the-counter options are available for most shoes — even heels and flats. But for more serious conditions, such as fallen arches, see a podiatrist for custom inserts.

2. Give your feet a workout.
The next time you tone your arms or abs, exercise your tootsies, too. You’ll strengthen the dozens of muscles, tendons and ligaments that make up the foot. Sue Hitzmann, MS, manual therapist, and author of The MELT Method, suggests this simple move:
• Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on floor.
• Open your knees out to the sides as far as you can without allowing the bottoms of your big toes to lift off the floor.
• Hold this position for two seconds and return your knees to the start.
• Complete 10 reps.

3. Don’t ignore soreness.
Strange but true: Physicians can size up your overall health by looking at your feet. It’s normal to suffer from foot pain every now and then, but certain types of discomfort can signal a health problem. If your feet give you grief even when you’re resting, it could be a sign of an artery disease that’s limiting blood flow to your limbs. Unexplained swelling in feet or ankles may indicate heart or kidney problems. Darria Long Gillespie, MD and assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, recommends consulting your primary care doctor if you notice or feel anything unusual, including burning, tingling, or numbness.

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