Herbfacts
Close up of a woman's feet with the ocean and beach in the background

Focus on feet: top foot health tips

Healthy feet are essential for our daily autumn walks – and they shouldn’t hurt.

Medical herbalist Gabriella Clarke pinpoints what to watch out for and the best natural treatments for some common foot complaints.

Most of us take our feet for granted – that is until something goes wrong. Foot problems affect eight out of ten of us at some time in life and women are especially at risk from middle age onwards. This is not surprising when you consider that by age 50 your feet have covered an incredible 75,000 miles.

Read on for some common foot problems and what to do about them:

FUNGAL NAIL

Fungal infections in one or more nails are notoriously hard to treat and can take a long time to shift. Anti-fungal oils, such as tea tree or oregano, can be applied directly twice daily. Some sources advocate soaking feet in water to which you have added a drop of apple cider vinegar. Being prone to fungal infections may indicate that you are run down generally. Taking a probiotic daily and cutting down on sugary foods may help.

VERRUCAS

A type of wart found on the soles of the feet, verrucas are often picked up in swimming pools and are especially common in children. Traditionally, creams containing the herb Thuja occidentalis, also known as northern white-cedar or eastern arborvitae, are available in most good health shops and can be applied twice daily.

ATHLETE’S FOOT

To treat this common fungal foot problem try soaking feet in warm water to which you have added a couple of drops of tea tree or oregano oil. After drying feet thoroughly apply an anti-fungal cream – those containing tea tree oil are a great choice.

BLISTERS

Commonly caused by wearing new shoes, or ill-fitting shoes that rub, blisters can be extremely sore and uncomfortable. Try applying calendula cream, which promotes skin healing. Applying a specialist blister plaster will help to prevent further damage.

PLANTAR FASCIITIS

This painful condition, in which the heel becomes inflamed, can be mild or severe and can last for several weeks. It usually goes away on its own and can be managed with anti-inflammatory medications. Turmeric root is a fantastic natural anti-inflammatory and ginger can also be used. Gently stretching and massaging the foot can help too.

TRY THESE TOP TIPS:

  • Always wash your feet thoroughly every day. Make sure you dry them properly, especially between the toes. Damp feet provide an ideal environment for bacteria and fungus to flourish.
  • Keep toenails clipped but don’t over file them as this can lead to ingrowing toenails.
  • Keep your feet well moisturised to avoid sore, dry, cracked heels. Applying a cream containing a few drops of lavender oil is soothing and relaxing.
  • Wear sensible shoes. If you do enjoy your skyscraper heels limit them to nights out and special occasions only.
  • Inspect your feet regularly for lumps, bumps, rashes or anything else unusual and consult your GP or foot clinic if necessary.

 

 

 

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