How to alleviate foot aches from dancing all night, wearing subpar shoes, and kicking ass all week long
On the right foot
While style icons such as Carrie Bradshaw and Posh Spice may exhort the virtues of sky-high heels, an ill-fitting pair can often spell catastrophe for your tootsies. Exacerbated by the long hours spent upright (see: your everyday coffee run, bus run, and the constant running from your responsibilities), it should come as no surprise that the limp of shame home is shaping up to be a common occurrence.
Save from turning up barefoot the next day (or worse, flip flops), here are some tips and tricks to alleviate the various aches and pains of overworked feet. The full lowdown below:
1. Limber up
What: Simple stretches and exercises to help relieve the sore, tense muscles of your feet and legs.
Who: Rock it solo, or rope a friend in to keep you accountable.
When: Do it one to two times daily for maximum efficacy.
Where: The comfort of your home, the comfort of your office, or the comfort of train cabins for the seriously shameless (we kid!).
How: A yoga block and tennis ball is all you need to get you started. Identify areas of the leg you'd like to work on — is it the heel, or the ankle? Calves or the bottoms of feet?
For tightness along the bottom of the foot, ankle, and calf, opt for the Plantar Fascia Stretch. Start off stepping on the ball of your right foot along the edge of the yoga block, while making sure to keep your heel pressed to the ground. Then, slowly shift your weight forward over the block to feel the stretch — hold for 30 seconds before switching legs. Repeat twice on each side.
2. Soak in it
What: A pampering foot bath for overworked tootsies.
Who: Work it solo, or make it into a fun DIY spa activity with friends.
When: Once or twice a week.
Where: Home, or at an actual foot spa. Nimble/Knead, Feet Haven, and Rule of Thumb are popular options.
How: Depending on what you need, add (or request) these ingredients into your foot bath accordingly: chamomile flowers and catnip for swollen, achy feet; baking soda and your favourite essential oil for tense, knotted muscles; and a hint of apple cider vinegar if you're looking to prevent fungal infections.
3. Mask on
What: A foot peel mask works the way an exfoliator would for the face: it gets rid of dead skin flakes, calluses, and all other nasties, leaving behind nothing but smooth skin for the road.
Who: Either way works — though we'd give props to friends willing to stick around for some seriously gross skin shedding.
When: Once a month.
Where: Home, unless you enjoy leaving behind a trail of peeling skin and flakes wherever you go.
How: It varies brand to brand, but most foot peel masks tend to work like socks — slip feet in the tiny plastic bag-like contraptions then sit back to watch the magic happen. The amount of time to keep said bags on also depends on the product itself, so make sure to check the label before tossing it. Remove masks after the directed period, and monitor tootsies over the next few days: a bulk of the shedding is said to happen after a day or two, with only a scattering of flakes and peeling occurring instantaneously.
Top-rated options include the ever-popular Baby Foot Exfoliant Foot Peel (an Amazon best-seller), the Tony Moly Shiny Foot Super Peeling Liquid, and the Karuna Single Exfoliating + Foot Mask.
4. Massage away
What: Because everyone knows that a true pampering experience involves someone else doing the work for you. Case in point: getting a foot massage.
Who: You and your masseuse. Alternatively, the poor sap (a.k.a. your partner) you've guilted into helping you out.
When: Whenever your wallet (or S.O.) allows for it.
Where: For a complete luxurious spa-like experience, try The Luxe House. For an entirely unique experience located in a 12-seater movie theatre, Green Apple Foot Spa. And for night owls who can only squeeze in an hour or two after dinner? Precious Foot Reflexology.
How: Research is key to a good massage. Look up packages, promotions and reviews before heading down, and make sure to voice out any concerns or preferences you have prior to treatment.