Our hardworking feet don’t get nearly enough credit. They cart us everywhere we need to go day in and day out for our entire lives. And yet, let’s be honest, we don’t always treat them very well.
We shove them into uncomfortable shoes, expose them to harsh situations and often stay on them far too long. So it’s really no wonder that from time to time they demand a little extra attention.
But if you’re battling a minor foot complaint, giving your tootsies a little extra TLC at home could be the solution.
Tackle common foot problems with home remedies
Following are four common foot problems along with some proven natural remedies to tackle them and get you back on your feet fast.
1. Nail fungus:
Toenail fungus typically starts with a white or yellow discoloration under the nail. Left untreated your entire nail can become thickened and discolored. Eventually it can even begin to loosen and cause pain.
If you’ve picked up a minor case of nail fungus before you resort to a heavy-duty prescription drug, consider trying tea tree oil. This affordable essential oil is a natural antifungal and antiseptic. Which means it can help kill fungus under and around your nails.
But keep in mind treating nail fungus always takes time, so don’t expect quick results. Apply directly to clean, dry nails using a clean cotton swab and let sit for ten minutes. You can then wipe away any excess oil that has not been absorbed.
Apply daily, twice a day, for at least two months. As your nail grows over the next two to 12 months you should see the infection begin to clear.
White vinegar is a good option for folks who can’t use tea tree oil. The acidity in the vinegar can kill the fungus over time. Soak your toes in a basin of equal parts white vinegar and water for 30 minutes daily. Adding a few drops of menthol oil can make the fungus-fighting soak even more effective.
Once again, this fix will require patience. You should expect to continue with the soaks for several months to see results. But stick with it and you can tackle one of the most common foot problems there is, without drugs.
2. Achy, puffy feet:
If you’ve got achy, puffy feet from being on your feet all day, go old school with an Epsom salt soak. Dissolve one half of a cup of the salts in a tub of warm water, and soak your feet for 20 minutes.
The magnesium in the salts will help tackle the inflammation, as the salt helps draw the excess liquid out of your swollen feet. For best results, follow with a cool water soak for 20 minutes, then dry off and relax for the rest of the evening with your feet elevated if possible.
No time for a full foot soak? Another option when your dogs are barking at the end of a long day is pure grapefruit oil. Combine five to seven drops of the oil with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and give yourself a soothing foot massage.
Be sure to rub up your leg with firm, but not painful, strokes toward your knee, not down towards your toes. This will help move the edema away from your ankles and feet, and back into regular circulation.
3. Swollen feet:
If your feet swell up from sitting too long, talk with your doctor about taking magnesium. Magnesium deficiencies are common and a 200-400 mg supplement daily could help keep swelling under control.
If you’re currently battling a case of swollen feet, your best bet is to elevate them above your heart. Stretch out on your back and put your feet up on the wall, headboard or arm of the sofa. Keep them elevated for at least a half hour, but the longer the better.
If you find you’re constantly battling swollen feet “for no reason,” it may be a symptom of a bigger health issue. So go ahead and give your doctor a call.
4. Athlete’s foot:
When it comes to foot problems, few are as annoying as Athlete’s foot. This common fungal infection causes a scaly uncomfortable rash on your feet that itches and burns.
But you may already have an effective cure in your medicine cabinet. Rubbing alcohol can kill the fungus. Apply the alcohol directly to your feet using a cotton ball, and concentrating on obviously infected areas. Or try a rubbing alcohol foot soak, with a 70-30 blend of alcohol and warm water. Soak daily for 30 minutes.
Green tea, which is naturally antifungal, is a good option too. Steep three to five teabags in boiling water then allow the water to cool. Check carefully to make sure the water is a comfortable temperature so you don’t burn yourself. Then soak for 10 to 15 minutes and allow your feet to air dry without rinsing them off.
And before bed, sprinkle your feet with cornstarch to help keep them dry overnight. Repeat as necessary until the infection clears up.
Keep in mind that sometimes foot complaints can be a sign of something more serious. So if you’re unsure check in with your doctor before tackling your foot problems at home.