Caring for sore feet

Do your feet sometimes ache or even hurt? Mine do.  I’m on them a lot of hours every day, due to work, and also because I don’t really like sitting down. There’s nothing worse than standing around on achy feet. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a lot more tired than I really am. I have a few tricks for dealing with them that I teach my massage clients, and also use myself.

Of course, there many different reasons people have sore feet, not all of which lend themselves to these techniques, so here are my caveats. If you have a neuroma between your toes, you definitely don’t want to put extra pressure on it. You can tell if you have one, because the pain is nasty or zingy. Usually, it’s between the middle toe and one of the toes next to it.  If you have neuropathy (ie numbness or serious pain that goes all of the time), you should be careful putting pressure on your feet, though it can sometimes actually make the pain better (but that depends upon the cause of the neuropathy and the condition of your feet – tissue damage can be a serious concern). Swollen feet are another consideration, because you don’t want to cause bruising and tissue damage.

That said, if your feet are basically healthy, here are some things to try. For all of them, barefoot is best.

1. Stretch your calves. Surprisingly, a lot of foot pain comes from your lower legs, especially if you have plantar fascitis.

2. Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes to loosen them up and get the circulation going. Do this a couple of times a day. I like to do it in bed before I go to sleep.
3. Stretch your feet two different ways. First, put the bottoms of your toes flat on the ground and lift your heel up. Push your heel as far forward as you can, keeping the heel straight in front of your toes. Next, turn your foot over, so that the top is on the ground, and push your heel forward again, once more keeping it aligned (heel comes straight forward).

Stretch with your toes flat

Stretch the top of your foot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Roll a tennis ball around under your foot. You can even put it in one place and stand on it, and move it to different spot. Tennis balls are great, because they are cheap and they have some give. You don’t want to use something too hard. You can buy specialized tools for this foot massage, but the ball is easy. I keep one on my desk.

5. Get a foam roller, and use it to massage your calves.

6. Foot soaks in epsom salts or cool water with a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and lying with your feet propped up are great ways to ease the sore feet we all get from standing.

If this doesn’t do the trick, reflexology and foot massage can help. Better shoes, orthotics, and acupuncture can make a difference. I have specialized training in myofascial release for the feet and find that it’s very effective. Often, if people are willing to do some home care, their feet feel better in one or two sessions. The feet are the foundation for your body, so doing something about them can affect everything else. I’m always accepting new clients. If you live in or visit Central Oregon feel free to contact us to set up an appointment. Go to our WEB site at Radiant Health Acupuncture and Massage for more information.

Do you have questions about this post, more ideas for foot care, or  requests for future posts? Please leave a comment for us.

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Gluten-free vegan bread

These days, a lot of people are avoiding gluten, for various health reasons, and many of them are either allergic to eggs, but also trying to maintain a vegan diet. If you are one of those people, then finding bread that doesn’t taste like cardboard and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg is difficult. Since I fall into this category, and also can’t eat potatoes without sneezing, I came up with this recipe:

1 c millet flour
½ c tapioca flour
½ c sorgum flour
½ c. buckwheat flour
½ c other flours (such as brown rice, teff, quinoa, amaranth, almond, fava, or coconut)
2 tsp. dry yeast
2 tsp. guar gum or xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive or safflower oil
1 Tbsp honey or agave syrup
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2  c. warm water (add more if the flour is dry, since you want the mixture to flow just a little)

Flours should be measured loose. Mix the dry ingredients well. Add the oil, honey and vinegar, then mix in the warm water until smooth. Put in greased bread pan. Bake in non-preheated oven at 350°F for 1 hr 15 mins or until a knife put in the center comes out clean. Times vary depending upon altitude….

Notes on flours: You can use 3 cups of any flour. I find that without the tapioca flour, the bread is too crumbly. Brown rice is a good choice for at least a cup, to eliminate that crumbliness, but its nutritional content is low. Teff makes it more of a hard bread and is high in fiber and protein, so I usually only use 1/4 c. Coconut flour is lovely, but very dry so you need more water. Amaranth is expensive, but high in protein. Quinoa flour works, too, but it’s a little bitter as is fava/garbonzo flour. Usually I buy a bunch of flours to have on hand and then blend to get different effects. Almond makes the bread crumbly, so I use small amounts of it (1-2 T). If you aren’t allergic to potato, you can use it instead of tapioca.

 

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