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Natural remedies for six foot woes.
Warmer weather means open toes and bare feet; but if your poor peds have been boot-bound all winter, they may not be ready to face fair weather. If you’re plagued by foot woes, try these fast fixes—just in time for sandal season.
1. Sore, tired feet
The small muscles and bones in your feet may support more than a hundred pounds of weight, and high heels and ill-fitting shoes only worsen the problem. Save your feet with shoes that fit well and offer arch support. If your dogs are barking at the end of the day, soothe them with soaks and balms that contain soothing and refreshing ingredients. Products with peppermint, tea tree, or rosemary oils are refreshing and invigorating, and can improve circulation in weary feet. And look for soaks with Epsom salts to reduce swelling and foot fatigue, fast. Foot fixes:Badger BalmFoot Balm;aromafloria for Feet’s SakeFoot Spa Soak;Now FoodsPeppermint Essential Oil.
2. Cracked heels
Excess weight, diabetes, psoriasis, extreme dry skin, and nutrient deficiencies can cause fissures in the feet, especially the heels. The best solution: keep weight and blood sugar under control, and keep feet superhydrated. Slather on a concentrated moisturizer designed specifically for feet, with ingredients like avocado oil, shea butter, and coconut oil. Because diet can impact dry, cracked heels, also be sure you’re getting enough zinc, vitamin D, or omega-3 fatty acids. Foot fixes:Manuka DoctorFoot & Heel Cream; Kiss My FaceFoot Cream; Desert EssenceFoot Repair Cream; Nordic NaturalsOmega-3s; Source NaturalsVitamin D3 1000.
3. Stinky feet
Known as bromodosis, smelly feet are caused mainly by sweat. Because shoes trap perspiration, bacteria thrive, producing a compound called isovaleric acid that’s responsible for the distinctive odor. To combat stink, keep feet scrupulously clean. Wash with a natural antibacterial soap, dry feet well, then dab essential oils between toes to fight off bacterial growth and reduce sweating. Use a deodorant designed for feet; look for one with natural mineral salts and essential oils. Foot fixes:Nubian HeritageAfrican Black Soap; CrystalFoot Deodorant Spray; Thursday PlantationTea Tree Foot Powder and Foot Spray; Deep SteepDeodorizing Foot Mist; Aura CaciaSage; Nature’s AlchemyRed Thyme Oil; Desert EssenceTea Tree Oil.
4. Dry, callused skin
Calluses are formed when excessive friction or pressure on the bones in the feet—usually from prolonged walking or running, or poorly fitted shoes—causes surface layers of skin to form a hard, protective exterior. They’re easy to treat. Start by soaking feet in Epsom salts or magnesium flakes to soften calluses, then use a scrub or a pumice stone to remove hard, dead layers of skin. Follow the scrub with an intensive moisturizer designed especially for feet. Or try a simple, intensive overnight treatment: slather feet with coconut oil and/or shea butter and cover with socks before heading to bed. Foot fixes: Aromafloria For Feet’s Sake Intense Repair Foot Butter; Deep SteepFoot Scrub; Life-Flo Health CareMagnesium Flakes; Nature’s WayOrganic Virgin Coconut Oil.
5. Arthritis and pain
Foot pain is commonly caused by arthritis, inflammation, trauma, or sports injuries. Neuropathy, a common condition caused by damage to the peripheral nerves in the toes, is characterized by numbness, tingling, and burning sensations. To combat pain, look for topical creams that contain arnica, belladonna, and rhus toxicodendron, or homeopathic pain relief tablets that contain arnica. B-complex and alpha-lipoic supplements can help treat mild symptoms of neuropathy in the feet. Or try a topical cream that contains capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot peppers; studies show it can reduce symptoms of neuropathy by up to 30 percent. Foot fixes:Boericke & TafelTriflora Arthritis Gel; TopricinFoot Cream; TRR EnterprisesSole Pads; MediNaturaT-Relieve Arthritis Tablets; Prince of PeaceArthritis Rub; Garden of LifeVitamin Code B-Complex; SolgarAlpha Lipoic Acid.
6. Athlete’s foot
Caused by the tinea fungus, athlete’s foot thrives in warm, humid environments like gym showers, locker room floors, and sweaty athletic shoes. It’s easily spread through direct contact, and can be hard to avoid. To banish it, start by soaking feet in apple cider vinegar to help kill fungi, then dry feet thoroughly and apply foot powder made from corn starch and tea tree oil to absorb excess perspiration and moisture. A topical cream with antifungal botanicals is essential; look for rosemary, sage, thyme, tea tree, and sea kelp. Or rub slices of fresh garlic on feet for immediate, if pungent, results. And oregano oil or neem oil applied topically to the affected area also kills fungi, fast. Foot fixes:QuantumAthlete’s Foot Cream; Thursday PlantationFoot Powder; Bragg’sApple Cider Vinegar; Nature’s AnswerOregano Oil; Now FoodsNeem Oil.