Foot Pain Relief – Here’s How To Ease The Ache

Is there anything worse than foot pain? I’m thinking about our key workers, the shop workers, nurses, care assistants, emergency service workers and teachers who are on their feet all day without a break.

And, for the rest of us, this is the time of year when we start to think about getting our feet out again and saying hello to summer footwear.

But ill fitting footwear is often the cause of foot problems.

If you are suffering from sore burning feet or heel pain, read on for some simple self care treatment.

So how can we soothe our aching feet when we get home.  And how do we know when our feet need some professional care?

Did you know that there are over 300 different foot conditions, many of which are caused by poorly fitting footwear?

Our feet have an incredible 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and 100 ligaments and their condition is a very good indicator of how healthy we are.

Women are 4 times more likely than men to have foot problems due to our choice of footwear and the worse offenders are:-

  • Flipflops – these offer no arch support leading to Plantur Fascitis, tendon injuries and ankle sprains
  • High heels – too much pressure is put on the forefoot leading to blisters, bunions and metatarsalgia
  • Flats (e.g. ballet pumps) – again, these offer no arch support leading to ankle injuries and foot pain
  • Pointed or tight-fitting shoes – extra pressure is put on the feet leading to corns, bunions, blisters and ingrown toenails.

If you have ever had an incredibly relaxing reflexology session, you’ll know that an experienced therapist can quickly tell you what’s going on in your body just by massaging your feet.

Here are some of the common foot problems that may be causing you discomfort.

Heel Pain

There are various types of heel pain and the more common ones are conditions such as

  • Heel spurs (plantar fasciitis)
  • Heel bursitis (subcalcaneal bursitis) and Heel bumps.

They are very common and the pain is generally caused by some form of mechanical injury caused by small repetitive injuries that occur at a rate faster than the body can heal them.

Your heel pain could also be caused by lower back problems or inflammatory joint conditions.

The most common of all is Heel spurs (plantar fasciitis or fasciosis) which can be caused in various ways such as extensive running/walking/standing for long periods of time, especially when you are not used to it.  It can equally be caused by a sedentary lifestyle.

Heel pain is a common condition and in most cases will diminish following some routine self-care measures but if the pain persists longer than three weeks, it is best to seek professional advice from someone who specialises in heel pain, such as a podiatrist or chiropodist.

Heel pain can affect everyone, whatever your age, but those more commonly affected include those in middle age (over 40’s age group) as well as athletes.

Simple Self Care Treatment

  • Avoid wearing ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes.  Make sure that your shoes fit the width of your foot as well as the length.  There is a much greater choice of wider fitting shoes on the market these days.
  • Wear shoes that cushion your heel and give you good arch support.
  • Avoid walking or exercising on hard ground if you can.
  • Rest regularly and try not to walk or run too fast.
  • Wear a raised heel (no more than 6-10 mm higher than normal).
  • Consider wearing shoe inserts for heel spur as well.

Coloured trainers in a circle


This is a term for pain and inflammation that occurs in the forefoot which may be experienced as burning.

It can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, inherited long or short metatarsals, bunions and wearing badly designed shoes.

Simple Self Care Treatment

  • Change the style of shoe you wear to one that is roomier.
  • Use shock-absorbing insoles
  • Exercise your ankles and stretch your Achilles Tendon (at the back of your ankle)


Blisters are fluid-filled lesions that usually form on the upper layers of the skin.

They most commonly develop through skin being damaged by friction through poorly fitting shoes.

Simple Self Care Treatment

  • Cover small blisters with a plaster to avoid further rubbing and aggravation.
  • Cover larger blisters with gauze pad or dressing that can be taped in place.
  • Most blisters do not require medical attention

Should you burst a blister?  It depends. New skin is forming underneath the affected area as it heals and any fluid will simply be absorbed so avoid puncturing a blister unless it is large, painful or likely to be further irritated.


Did you know that more than 15% of women in the UK suffer from bunions?  A bunion is a deformity of the big toe where the toe angles towards the second toe and creates a bony lump on the side of the foot.

This can also form a large sac of fluid called a bursa which can become inflamed and sore.

They are caused by a problem with the mechanics of the foot which is often genetic – surprisingly your footwear may not be the actual cause!

The eventual crossover of the toes can make it difficult to walk and tends to get progressively worse. Before you jump back into your heels though, be aware that badly fitted shoes will make the problem worse because they will squeeze the toes together.

Eventually, surgery may be required but there are things you can do to help yourself.

Simple Self Care Treatment

  • Buy wider shoes that give your toes plenty of room to move and limit heel height to no more than 4 cm for maximum comfort.
  • Avoid backless heels because they make your toes “claw” as you walk which will strain your muscles if you wear them for long periods of time.
  • Vary the height of your heels from day to day and if you have to wear the same shoe every day, try to keep the heel height to 4 cm or less.
  • Shoes with straps or laces over your instep can also help to stop your foot sliding forward and aggravating the bump.
  • Simple calf stretches will help to keep your feet in good working order.

Athletes Foot

This is a fungal skin infection which can cause intense itching and gives cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin with redness and scaling.

It usually appears between the fourth and fifth toes at first where the skin has become overly moist. It can also appear as dry flaky skin around the heels or elsewhere on the foot.

If left untreated, large painful fissures can appear and the infection can spread along all five toes and even to the soles of the feet.

You can catch Athletes Foot from someone else’s shedded infected skin so communal changing areas and anywhere you walk around barefoot are hotspots. It can also be passed on directly from person to person contact.

Leaving your feet in hot sweaty shoes or trainers is not going to help!

Simple Self Care Treatment

  • The number one rule is to make sure your feet are completely dry after washing before you then put your shoes and socks on.
  • Try to change your footwear regularly because it takes 24-48 hours for shoes to dry out properly.
  • You can dry out your work shoes by using a hairdryer on a cold setting and remove any detachable insoles.
  • Don’t wear your shoes too tight because this encourages moisture to gather between your toes and encourages fungus.
  • Choose shoes made from natural materials and change your socks daily.
  • Wear flip-flops in the bathroom and in public showers (but limit their wear elsewhere!)
  • Don’t wear anyone else’s shoes, trainers or slippers.
  • Restore moisture to the dry areas of your feet with an anti-fungal cream or spray and remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards (or use disposable gloves).

If your Athlete’s Foot has been caused by excessive moisture (those hot, sweaty shoes again), then wash your feet in cold water, dab dry with a separate towel and dab between the toes with surgical spirit. Applying a moisturising cream will just make things worse.

Make sure you keep up the regimen for as long as possible because even if the symptoms vanish, it’s possible for the fungus to return.

Sweaty Feet

Being on your feet all day can lead to excessive sweatiness and, whilst the weather can affect you, sweaty feet can also be an inherited condition.

The condition needs managing because sweaty feet can lead to Athletes Foot or blisters, not to mention unpleasant odour.

Simple Self Care Treatment

  • Stick to a daily foot hygiene routine, washing with an anti-bacterial soap.
  • Don’t wear the same shoes every day.
  • Choose socks made from a material that absorbs sweat – e.g. wool and cotton.
  • Try detachable insoles or medicated one which can deodorise your shoes.
  • Buy well-fitting leather shoes.

If you are worried about your foot condition then see your GP who may be able to refer you to an NHS Podiatrist or, if you have the funds, a private Podiatrist.

You can find more information on a variety of foot conditions at The College Of Podiatrists.


Review:  Scholl Footcare Products


1 Comment

  1. Jo m welsh
    19 February, 2021 / 5:19 pm

    Very informative and a good read

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