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Foot Pain - Natural Relief and Herbal Remedies

Updated on April 12, 2011

Foot Pain

Whatever the reason for your foot pain, natural relief and herbal remedies are always at hand.

Foot pain can be caused by any number of reasons, and can affect any part of the foot; from the Achilles tendon to the tip of your toes.

The foot is made up of 26 bones, has 33 joints, and hundreds of muscles, ligaments, and nerves.

Minor foot pain can be very uncomfortable, but usually passes very quickly once the feet are rested. More serious pain however, can take a long time and a lot of care to relieve, and can lead to serious injury if not treated correctly.

Tired, Aching Feet are Unbearable

Diagram of bones in feet
Diagram of bones in feet

Natural Relief and Herbal Remedies

After a full day's work, particularly for those who are on their feet all day, your first instinct is to sit down and raise your feet up to decrease the blood flow to your feet. In the case of tired feet, this is usually enough. Sometimes it is also necessary to soak the feet for a while, or massage where possible.

In other cases, however, these actions don't help much at all, and at times even a good nights sleep doesn't help. If you wake up in the morning with your feet still hurting, you know you have a bad problem.

People who are on their feet all day are the most affected, and those who stand still for long periods of time are more likely to suffer foot pain, as well as back pain. A job which involves a lot of walking will tire your feet, but at the same time they're getting exercised. Standing still puts a lot more strain on your feet, legs and back.

The most important thing in these cases is to find shoes which are comfortable, and which support your feet well, and hold your feet in the correct position. Dr Scholl's inserts are helpful for this.

Make sure you drink plenty of water, dehydration can cause foot pain. Feet which sweat a lot will lose a lot of moisture, leading to foot pain also.

Instead of sitting down and putting your feet just a little higher, try lying flat on the floor with your feet up on the sofa or a bed, for up to half an hour. This will more quickly slow the blood flow to your feet and clear the lymph nodes. It will also help with back pain, lying flat on a hard surface.

Tea Tree Oil.

A basin full of warm water, or a foot spa with added tea tree oil is a good soother for the feet.

Epsom Salts.

Two tablespoons in warm water makes a good solution for soaking feet, but no longer than 20 minutes as Epsom salts can have a drying effect. Use moisturiser, baby oil or baby lotion afterward.

Flour and White Wine as a paste, applied to sore areas; including sprains, is a soothing, painkilling remedy.

Olive Oil.

Massaging your feet with olive oil is very soothing, especially for overtired feet.


Alternate hot and cold wraps with towels soaked in vinegar is a great cure for aching feet, and also for sprains and tendinitis. Soak a towel in a hot mixture of half and half vinegar and water, wring out excess liquid, wrap it around your foot and leave for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat with a cold mixture. Repeat the hot and cold sequence three or four times - very soothing. Again the vinegar may be a little drying to your skin, so moisturise afterwards.

You can also use a hot then cold method with bowls of water.

Soak your feet first in hot water for a couple of minutes, then cold for half a minute. Repeat several times, for about 20 minutes

An ice pack will help, if your feet are red and burning from overuse. A bag of ice, or a package of frozen peas will do.

Place them in a bowl and put your foot on top, in the case of sore soles. Or lie them across ankle or foot, wherever pain or swelling occurs.


This time, to eat! Not for soaking feet but for eating, fresh asparagus steamed or cooked lightly, is a natural diuretic, will flush out fluids and help prevent sore feet.

Aside from asparagus, for bloated, swollen feet there are other foods that can help to keep fluid levels balanced.

Fresh fish and poultry, and yoghurt are amongst the best.

Cayenne pepper.

Cayenne has a chemical, capsaicin which is a natural pain reliever. Add some cayenne to your foot bath, or sprinkle on a sponge, flannel or cotton wool, and place it underneath your feet, leave to act approximately half an hour. If it starts to irritate, cease immediately, and rinse off in cold water.

Capsaicin also has a warming effect, so it's helpful with cold feet too.


In the case of cold feet, not only capsaicin, but cinnamon helps too. Drink an infusion of cinnamon three times a day, to help prevent cold feet. Or soak your feet in hot water with added cinnamon to help warm them. A mixture of capsaicin and cinnamon in your foot bath will be doubly helpful.


Fresh sage leaves, rubbed between the palms to release the chemicals, and boiled with apple cider vinegar (with the mother preferably) After boiling, leave to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, soak a cloth in the solution, wring out and apply to sore areas. Use it as hot as you possibly can, and leave on until cool. Dried sage can be used, but leave it in the boiling water to 'steep' like tea.

Apart from these baths, and soaking, there are a couple of ways to massage your own feet.

Take a small plastic bottle, like a mineral water bottle, fill it with water and freeze until almost solid, but still pliable.

Sit down and put this bottle under your foot on the floor, rolling it backwards and forwards with your foot. This will massage the underside of your foot.

With a tennis ball, you can do the same kind of thing, but not only rolling backwards and forwards, also side to side, and round and round.

You can also buy foot massaging boards, which have rows of balls on wires or sticks, looking somewhat like an abacus, only with more balls, and closer together. These are used in much the same way, except the board stays still, and you move your foot around.

You can also buy foot spas with massaging motion in the bottom.

Most drug stores sell a mentholated foot balm, which can be very soothing to your feet. You can massage it into your feet from time to time, or coat the inside of some socks and keep them on for long periods when resting, even overnight.

You can make your own foot balm by mixing any of the above mentioned herbs and spices, particularly cayenne, cinnamon, and sage, mixed into a paste of flour and white wine. The properties of all these different ingredients will work together as one, and achieve great results.

Baby lotion or baby oil are very good moisturisers for the feet, with no side-effects. Keeping your feet moisturised goes a long way to foot health. Again best done overnight, so that your feet aren't 'slippery' when you need to stand on them.

Make sure your shoes are the correct size, even if they feel comfortable, they may not be correct.

The best way to test this for yourself, is to place your bare foot flat on the floor, on a piece of paper, and trace around it.

Then take your shoe, and place it on top of the tracing of your foot. If you can see any part of this tracing around the outside of the shoe, then that shoe is not a correct fit, and could be causing pressure on this part of your foot, even though you don't feel it. Even slightly too small shoes can cause incredible foot pain.

If you try any of these remedies, or other creams and lotions for foot pain, and don't see any improvement, you should see a doctor. Whatever is causing your pain could be something more serious than you realise, and can in extreme cases, lead to serious damage and even permanent injury to your foot.

Foot pain can also be a symptom of diabetes, or arthritis or gout, and your doctor will be able to test for these.

Foot pain can be one of the most uncomfortable to put up with, but there are ways and means of making it more comfortable, and curing it. For me, natural ways are the best, but sometimes we need help from the doctor, too.


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    • dianew profile image

      dianew 2 years ago from Spain

      thanks Suzanne for taking time to read and comment. Much appreciated, I will try to reciprocate.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 2 years ago from Texas

      What interesting, unusual ideas! I will keep this handy for reference! Voted up and interesting! :)

    • dianew profile image

      dianew 4 years ago from Spain

      Brittany the paste should keep for a few days but later will go a little 'vinegary', although will still help. I would suggest mixing a little at a time, for best results. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Brittany 4 years ago

      Can you store the foot paste?? Or does it spoil??

    • dianew profile image

      dianew 5 years ago from Spain

      Thanks shara63 I hope it helps

    • shara63 profile image

      Farhat 5 years ago from Delhi

      wonderful information and great tips for natural relief of foot pain ..i hope it works for me to get rid completely of my foot pain..though i'm following Nell rose and she too recommended amazing ways in foot pain therapy through her Hub...thankyou dianew for this aid!

    • profile image

      Deep 5 years ago

      warm and cold soak alteration is very soothing easing tendinitis, comfortable footwear a must

    • dianew profile image

      dianew 5 years ago from Spain

      Thanks for the comments and for taking the time to read, Ruby and Goodlady. I haven't had much time to read lately but I will definitely check out your hubs. Thanks again.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      No help here for spurs!!! So oooh painful. Was hoping for the magic wand here. But love your Hub anyway. Poor feet, need pampering and you've suggested some really pampering the sage one, and ice sounds practical when the pain's bad too. Thanks.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Thank you for some new remedies I didn't know about. Ice is good for so many things. Great Hub, thumbs up and shared.

    • dianew profile image

      dianew 6 years ago from Spain

      Thank you Jackie. I see you write similar hubs, I'll take a look.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This sounds like some good remedies, thanks.

    • woodamarc profile image

      Marc Woodard 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Agreed. With foot pain, postural alignment many times is impacted through attempt at posture shifting throughout the day, creating more acute to chronic pain. This can cause many pain trigger points that are not realized as originating from the foot. Correction of the foot needs to be attended to early on in order to take preventative measures in weight bearing injuries that could later cause serious pain disorders.