Hi readers, glad to see you managed to make your way over here today. That means I’m doing something right in my never-ending journey to healthy living. Speaking of which, you can’t really make the trip to a healthy utopia if you don’t take care of your foot soldiers; literally. I know the world may be in your hands, but you walk through it with your feet – and they demand to be taken care of.
For example, did you know that you will have likely walked over 75,000 miles by the age of 50? And that’s just walking; we haven’t even taken into account all the running, jumping, dancing, swimming, various exercises, and sporting activities. That’s a lot of wear and tear if you ask me.
Due to this, chances are that you will develop a few foot problems over the course of your life. That’s why I’ve decided to shift focus to a few crucial things that we all need to know about our feet.
In this segment, we’ll be looking at what exactly our feet are and what role they play in our lives. We’ll also be looking at some of the most common foot issues that plague us and what we can do about them. I’ll even let you in on some of the time-tested, age-old, natural treatments, recipes, and remedies that should help soothe the old steppers.
So kick off your shoes, pull up a seat, and scoot on closer, because this is Olivia’s ultimate guide to everything you need to know to keep your feet in tip-top shape.
Foot And Function
So, what are feet? Well, boring old snobs will tell you that feet are anatomical structures and terminal portion of your limbs that allows locomotion and bear your weight… Boooooo. This is a massive understatement; a blatant disregard of what the feet are and what they can really do.
There’s really no other way to put it except Olivia’s way; the foot is an evolutionary marvel more than capable of handling hundreds of tons of force including your weight in motion for every single day of your life. Feet are the very foundations of our bodies, assisting us in both basic and complicated functions of daily living.
The human foot contains 26 bones, 42 muscles, 250,000 sweat glands and at least 50 ligaments and tendons that keep all the moving parts together. All the different parts of your feet such as toes, sole, heel, and ball all work together in harmony to get you from one place to the other either by walking or running, support your weight and maintain balance while performing sports activities.
So, no matter which way you look at it, the feet are marvelous and far more vital than we’d all care to think. I can now confidently say that I understand why some people have a foot fetish.
Common Foot Problems
First off, I believe we’re all in agreement that the feet are an evolutionary marvel charged with some of the most arduous tasks of any organ in your body. As mentioned above, years of walking thousands of miles and the stress of supporting your weight day in day out can really take its toll on your only pair of wheels.
In addition to wear and tear and general fatigue, there are also a myriad of other foot problems including blisters, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, athlete’s foot, corns, calluses, claw and mallet toes, toenail fungus, bunions, plantar fasciitis among many more.
There are also some foot problems that could indicate serious diseases such as diabetes and gout. I’ve compiled some of the most common foot problems that you are likely to face through the course of your life as well as their symptoms and causes. But fear not, we’ll also look to experienced podiatrists for simple solutions and Mother Nature for natural, healthy treatments and remedies that will sort all these issues out for good.
This is hands down the most common foot (and hand) problem of them all. Blisters are pockets of soft, raised skin filled with clear fluid. These frequently occur from friction and pressure as a result of walking for long periods of time, wrinkled socks, stiff shoes, and ill-fitting footwear.
Blisters are often very painful and tend to make walking extremely difficult and excruciating. While common, blisters are not really that serious of a condition unless you don’t give them time to heal.
Podiatrists advise people to never pick at or pop blisters at all. That’s because a popped blister is actually far more susceptible to infection. Instead, they recommend trying to let blisters heal naturally at home by applying a bandage for comfort. Other medical experts also recommend applying an antibiotic cream to the blister and covering up with a bandage for a few days. However, the antibiotic creams can have some unwanted side effects. I’ll show you which essential oils are perfect for blisters later on.
2. Corns and Calluses
Here’s another incredibly widespread foot issue that is closely related to blisters. When you have friction and pressure on your feet, it forms blisters. But when this pressure is prolonged and repeated on a daily basis, then your feet protect themselves by literally growing a hard shell. The round circles of thick skin formed to help your feet withstand the pressure are what are known as corns. Over time, the corns and calluses can become irritated causing significant pain and discomfort.
Podiatrists advise people with corns not to try any drastic measures such as cutting them off. Instead, they encourage their patients to use medical treatments such as corn plasters and surgical procedures. However, corn plasters contain acids that could harm your feet while surgical procedures also come with their own risk factors. Alternatively, you could try natural home remedies such as occasionally rubbing the corns down with a chiropody sponge or pumice stone while in the bath and apply some essential oils to help remove the excess, thickened skin.
Bunions are among some of the most common foot problems. Although anyone can get them, they tend to be more common in women than men. This has been likened to the possibility of the types of restrictive footwear typically worn by women. Bunions develop when the joints and ligaments in the big toe no longer fit together. As a result, there is some swelling and tenderness around the larger toe. Contrary to popular belief, bunions are not entirely caused by ill-fitting shoes. The primary cause is usually a defective mechanical structure that is genetic.
Podiatrists recommend wearing wide-cut shoes, taping the foot, wearing pads and orthotic devices if the bunion is not too severe. For more severe bunions, doctors can prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone injections for the pain, and surgery to relieve pressure and repair the toe joints. The aim of the surgery is to address underlying deformity and also prevent recurrence.
4. Sweaty Feet
Yeah, so you remember those 250,000 sweat glands we talked about? Turns out that they’re not just there for show. Collectively, these glands can churn out over half a pint of sweat consistently every single day. That’s a lot of sweat that gets absorbed by your socks and shoes. Of course, the first symptom of sweaty feet is obvious and quite conspicuous. Just a few minutes in the house and the stench becomes unbearable.
But it’s not just the foot odor that’s the issue; there’s a myriad of foot problems that can occur from sweaty feet. These include cracked heels, flaky, scaly skin, and several fungal infections. Podiatrists have sighted hyperactive sweat glands as the primary cause of sweaty feet.
So, doctors will usually recommend using antibacterial soaps, creams, and extra absorbent foot powders. Even home remedies will have you squirting baby powder in your favorite pair of sneakers. However, all these methods are messy and can be a nightmare to clean off. I’ll show you how to use essential oils later on to get rid of foot odor and use them to control sweaty feet in a natural, mess-free way.
5. Athlete’s Foot
First off, we all agree that athletes have great feet; so I’ve never understood why they call this skin condition after some of the most physically fit and well-groomed people on earth. That said, athlete’s foot can be a very painful and severe condition.
The condition is caused by a fungus that enjoys warm, dark and moist environments such as the area between the toes. It is highly contagious and appears after you make contact with fungus from wet conditions like public showers, locker rooms, and even swimming pools.
In addition to redness and scaling, athlete’s foot can lead to intense itching, cracked feet, blisters, peeling, crumbly toenails, burning and stinging pains.
Podiatrists will recommend over the counter sprays, steroid creams, and antifungal creams to keep athlete’s foot under control. However, the side effects associated with steroid creams and pharmaceuticals can be dire. I’ll show you how to whip up a sweet essential oil recipe to help kill all the fungus on your feet and prevent recurring athlete’s foot infections.
6. Aching, Tired and Sore Feet
As we age, we’re all the more likely to develop more foot problems due to ongoing wear and tear. That’s because the ligaments and skin lose their elasticity while the bones become much more fragile. That’s why the older you get, the more painful simple activities get and the sorer your feet and muscles feel after slight physical activity.
Likewise, being on your feet for hours on end or wearing the wrong types of shoes can really aggravate your feet and make it painful to stand.
Podiatrists advise people to attend to foot pain at the first sign. That’s because ignoring foot aches could lead to more debilitating issues such as chronic pain, trouble walking and back issues.
Sure, doctors will give you painkillers and over the counter analgesics, but that won’t get to the root of the problem. Ensuring you give your feet breaks and wear the right shoes should help remedy most foot aches. However, I’ve got a few amazing essential oil recipes that should help put the pep back in your feet.
7. Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs
I’ve put these two together because it’s quite common for doctors and podiatrists to confuse plantar fasciitis and heel spurs whenever a patient comes in with underfoot pains. While over 70 percent of people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, these are two very different conditions.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful disorder that occurs when the fascia ligament becomes inflamed, swollen, weak and the foot loses its arch support. Heel spurs, on the other hand, are calcium growths that cause bony protrusions at the heel base.
For plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, podiatrists recommend anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, orthotics and in worse case scenarios surgical procedures (if people are still in pain after trying other treatment options for 6-12 months) to treat the cause of your inflamed fascia and also get rid of the heel spurs.
Well, this condition is not exactly a foot issue. However, the disease can affect your feet in a number of ways. That’s why I’ve included it as precursors to underlying illness.
Diabetes is the most common disease that develops from high blood glucose levels. These high levels can damage the body’s nerve systems and prevent important messages from getting to and from the brain. Typically, the nerves affected are the longest ones, i.e., those that reach the legs and feet.
In addition to making your foot skin extremely difficult to heal when injured, diabetes can also lead to lost feeling in the feet. This means that you can be pierced, stabbed or scratched in the feet without realizing it. Your doctor will be able to perform tests to see whether you have diabetes or not and advise you on how to keep your cholesterol and blood glucose in check. You will learn that a healthy and active lifestyle will really help keep diabetes in control and avoid most of the foot problems that I have just mentioned above.
Essential Oils For Feet: Putting Your Best Foot Forward With Mother Nature
Alright, so let’s be honest for a minute here. Just how often do you think about giving your poor feet some tender loving and care? If you’re like most people, you probably trudge along and stomp onwards day in day out – literally forcing your feet to carry your full weight.
And as if that wasn’t torture enough, you go ahead and cram your feet into tight socks, oddly shaped formal shoes, heavy work boots, high heels, and pinching stilettos.
To top off our three cardinal foot sins, you probably won’t even give your battered feet a second thought until they begin hurting. But sadly, that’s not the worst part. The most unforgivable thing that we’re all guilty of is neglecting our feet for years, and then bombarding the poor things with toxic chemicals, foot creams, and pharmaceuticals at the first sign of trouble. Well, it’s time to change all that by pampering, treating, rejuvenating, and revitalizing your feet all in one go.
You guessed it; I’m talking about Mother Nature’s own life-giving extracts known as essential oils. For thousands of years, many cultures across the world have recognized, accepted and proven the medicinal, cosmetic and therapeutic values of these ethereal extracts.
Packed with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiseptic, sedative, cicatrizant, analgesic, anti-fungal, and a myriad of other helpful properties, essential oils are a force to be reckoned with. When it comes to dealing with foot-related issues, the benefits that come with using EOs are literally hundreds.
Don’t believe me? Well, when used correctly, essential oils have the power to lower inflammation, reduce irritation, ease pain, resolve an array of skin conditions, prevent infection, soothe sore muscles, balance hormones, increase skin elasticity, slow the aging process, reduce anxiety, disinfect footwear, and help you sleep better… you get the idea, right? Essential oils are pretty darn awesome.
What’s more, your feet are connected to every single part of your body; so using essential oils on them could also be beneficial to other areas of your body. Combined with the fact that there are virtually no side effects, it’s easy to see why EOs are the best, all-around care and treatment for your feet.
Of course, there’s no one size fits all even with essential oils. That’s why I’ve selected only the best and most effective out of the hundreds of thousands of possible picks, as well as some time-tested recipes to help you put the oils to good use.
Top 5 Essential Oils For Feet: The Best Oils To Use For Happy, Healthy Feet
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Extracted from the leaves of the Australian Tea Tree, this particular essential oil is globally prized for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties. The oil is widely used to treat, clean and disinfect cuts and scrapes on the skin.
Similarly, fans of Olivia will also recall all the wonderful Tea Tree oil recipes we’ve cooked up to treat fungal infections, burns, colds, infected wounds, rashes, warts, insect bites among others. Research has actually shown tea tree essential oil more effective as an antifungal cream than most OTC pharmaceuticals. That’s why it’s a must-have if you’re dealing with athletes foot, toenail infections or other fungal infections.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil
Extracted from the leaves of the strong mint-scented peppermint plant, peppermint essential oil is another incredibly popular oil known for its medicinal and therapeutic qualities. The stimulating effects of peppermint make it great for treating inflammation, bruising, skin irritation and severe itching.
However, peppermint essential oil contains a unique component known as menthol. Menthol boasts of potent sedative and calming abilities that not only help with muscle aches and joint relief, but also boost energy levels and help calm the mind. Similarly, the strong, minty smell of peppermint EO can also help combat foot odor.
3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Made from the Evergreen tree, Eucalyptus essential oil is a very powerful bactericidal with some of the strongest anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and analgesic properties. Multiple researchers have already proven that this oil is quite useful as a pain-killer.
So, if you suffer from aching, tired, sore and fatigued feet, then the potent analgesic properties of eucalyptus will help soothe and relax them. Likewise, a nice eucalyptus oil recipe will help with foot inflammation, bunions, joint pains and blistering.
4. Lavender Essential Oil
In addition to being one of the sweetest smelling compounds, Lavender essential oil is famous for being one of the most widely studied compounds in the market. When it’s not being used for perfume, lavender has some of the most effective relaxing properties.
It can be used to cut down stress, improve relaxation, and help with a wide range of foot problems. Similarly, lavender EO also helps lower inflammation, soothe any skin irritation, assist with minor burns and speed up the healing process significantly. That’s why lavender is a great all rounder for several foot problems such as athlete’s foot, toenail infections, among others.
5. Lemon Essential Oil
When it comes to antiseptic, detoxifying, and antibacterial capabilities, no essential oil comes close to lemon. The health benefits of lemon essential oil are wide ranging and far reaching.
Lemon EO also contains anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties that target most of the foot-related problems and ailments. This makes it not only ideal for combating most foot issues, but also perfect for preventing recurrences and flare-ups of problems like athlete’s foot, toe fungus, blister infections and foot odor.
The above 5 essential oils come in an organic version in a handy carry bag. Want to try some! Click here.
5 Best Essential Oil Recipes For Feet: Treating, Healing, Pampering and Maintaining Foot Health
Recipe 1: Cleansing EO Dead Salt Foot Soak
- 5 drops Eucalyptus EO
- 5 drops Tea Tree EO
- 3 drops Lavender EO
- 2 drops German Chamomile EO
- Cup of Epsom bath salts or Dead Sea salts
If you’re looking to prevent foot ulcers, infection, inflammation, or just bring them down a bit, then this is the perfect, all rounded recipe. Start by mixing all the above essential oils as indicated and then pour the entire mixture in a cup of Epsom or Dead Sea salt. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and then store it in a glass jar for regular use.
The tea tree and eucalyptus oil more effective as antifungals than most OTC pharmaceuticals. That’s why they’re a must-have if you’re dealing with foot diseases like athletes foot, toenail infections or other fungal infections.
Chamomile EO brings about its strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties making it suitable for abscesses, allergies, boils, burns, inflammation, rashes, wounds, athlete’s foot and other foot problems. To use this recipe, pour boiling water in a large bowl or basin and cool it to a comfortable temperature. Add in 2 Tablespoons of your Dead Salt Soak and stir it in until it dissolves. Soak your feet in for up to 20 minutes to get a thorough cleansing to prevent and treat bacterial and fungal related foot issues.
Recipe 2: Rejuvenating EO Footbath for Tired Feet
- 10 drops of Lavender EO
- 10 drops Pine EO
- 6 drops Peppermint EO
- Small footbath
This one’s for all those times you walk into your house feeling like you could just take off your feet and leave them at the door. Tired feet are not a joke, especially when you have to do it all over again. For this recipe, I’ve included the awe-inspiring pine essential oil for its unrivaled refreshing and invigorating properties. It’s already been in use for centuries to bust stress levels and increase energy.
Combined with the peppermint and lavender, the strong, woodsy, sweet, and minty smells alone are enough to leave your entire being feeling calm, relaxed and at ease. But it’s the cooling effect found in peppermint that quickly refreshes your feet by increasing blood circulation to relieve aches and sores. To make use of this recipe, simply fill a small bowl with hot water and add in your essential oils as indicated. Stir the bowl thoroughly and soak your feet for about 15 minutes and enjoy the rejuvenating, soothing effect.
You can also try the L’orpur Soothing Therapy Foot Gel which has an array of soothing properties including the essential oils of eucalyptus, marjoram and juniper berry.
Recipe 3: Pain Relieving EO Soak for Sore Aching Feet
- 18 drops Wintergreen EO
- 10 drops Peppermint EO
- 8 drops Marjoram EO
- Tablespoon of Baking soda
- Half a cup of Epsom salts
Here’s a recipe that will come in handy for pretty much all sorts of foot pain issues. This includes bunions, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, among others. For this one, you’ll need plenty of wintergreen essential oil. That’s because it’s packed with potent antioxidant, energizing, analgesic, sedative, and immune-enhancing properties that are perfect for dealing with aching feet.
The peppermint makes a lovely addition thanks to its unrivaled cooling and relaxing properties. The sweet scent doesn’t hurt much either when it comes to soothing the aches and pains. To make use of this recipe, simply fill a foot soak tub about halfway and add in your Epsom salts. Mix in the baking soda and stir thoroughly before adding your essential oils drop by drop. Sit in front of the tub and soak your feet for a nice half hour to relieve pains and aches.
Recipe 4: EO Foot Kneading Therapy for Itchy Feet
- 12 drops Peppermint EO
- 10 drops Vetiver EO
- 8 drops Helichrysum EO
- 6 drops Birch EO
- 2 ounces (60ml) grapeseed oil
- Small glass dropper bottle
If you’ve ever had athletes foot or a fungus infection, then you know just how itchy your feet can get. But no matter what foot issue you’re dealing with, the last thing you want to do is scratch or irritate the affected area. However, a nice, soothing essential oil massage should do the trick quite nicely.
To make use of this recipe, simply combine all the essential oils as indicated in a glass bottle and shake well. The grapeseed carrier oil helps dilute and retain the potency of your essential oils. Place about 10 drops of this mixture in your palm, rub both hands together and deeply massage your foot kneading and squeezing all areas to get rid of itchy sensations. Or, you could get someone to massage your feet for even deeper relaxation. Repeat for both feet then cover with socks before heading off to bed.
Recipe 5: EO Infused Antimicrobial Powder for Sweaty and Smelly Feet
- 3 drops Tea Tree EO
- 3 drops Peppermint EO
- 3 drops Eucalyptus EO
- 2 drops Rosemary EO
- 4 tablespoons of absorbent powder
More often than not, sweaty feet tend to go hand in hand… or in this case foot in foot with pungent smells. Stinky feet can be very off-putting to many. To avoid excessively sweaty and stinky feet, start by cleaning your feet and washing all your shoes first. Then make this recipe by mixing all your essential oils with absorbent powder as indicated. Dust this mixture to your feet every day before putting on your socks and shoes for a cooling, deodorizing and absorbing effect.
Home Remedies For Common Foot Problems
Now, while we had already looked at some effective home remedies for almost all the foot problems above, there’s always something you could do even from the comfort of your home. I’ve compiled a few that hold potential for temporary relief.
1. Vinegar Foot Bath
Vinegar has already proven to hold numerous medicinal and healing properties. In addition to its acidic characteristics, vinegar boasts of some of the most potent disinfecting and antiseptic qualities. This makes it ideal for killing bacteria and fungus to prevent athletes foot and other fungal infections. Similarly, vinegar can be used as a footbath to relieve pain and soothe itching.
2. Baby Powder
Podiatrists recommend sprinkling a little baby powder or talcum powder in your shoes to kill off any fungus and bacteria trying to grow. Not only does the powder prevent infections and fungi like athletes foot, but it also keeps your shoes fresh and odor free. However, it won’t help much if you’re always walking barefoot in public pools and locker rooms.
3. Orthotics and Arch Support
Shoes that notoriously lack support around the ankles and arches pose a significant risk of injury and aggravation. That’s why podiatrists recommend wearing footwear with proper cushioning and support to avoid overworking your feet unnecessarily. With the right orthotics, most of the above foot issues can be avoided or prevented entirely.
The Final Word
There you have it my loyal readers, another all-inclusive guide to all you need to know to keep your feet strong and healthy. That’s where we wrap up today’s segment; I hope you’ve left here a bit wiser than you came. Remember to always take great care of your feet and give them at least a few minutes of TLC every night whenever you can.
If you enjoyed this article, share it with a few of your friends and family too. Again, there’s no need to wait until it’s too late before you begin doing something. Your journey to proper foot health starts here and now people – so take a stand today.