1. Gel inserts
($7 and up)
These new-‘generation reusable liners target primary sore spots such as the heel and ball of the foot, so whatever the complaint, you’re likely to find an appropriate insert. They can ‘aid in foot conditions like corns and calluses,’ says Stephen Hartman, a chiropodist (podiatrist) and the chief executive officer of the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine. However, even though the purpose of inserts is to relieve pressure, ‘they can also create pressure, as they add more bulk,’ says Hartman, who is based in Waterloo, Ont. Also, gel inserts are not breathable, and therefore can make your feet sweat.
2. Magnetic insoles
($20 and up)
Made from flexible leather or rubber and lined with raised magnetic bumps, they claim to stimulate nerves and aid blood circulation. Do they really work? Scientific backing for magnetic therapy is less than conclusive, but they might be worth a try because they do add comfort. Also, they can be cut to size and are easy to clean.
(Around $60 to $70 an hour)
If you’re partial to a foot rub’hey, who isn’t?’a reflexology treatment might suit. The practice is based on the idea of healing through stimulation of pressure points in the foot’s sole. ‘Reflexology helps to relieve tension, relieve pain and improve circulation throughout the body,’ says Sherri Gunn, a Winnipeg registered reflexologist.
4. Massage sandals
For foot therapy while you walk, slip on a pair of massage sandals. The arch contour can enhance foot comfort, and all those little nodules along the insole are meant to stimulate circulation through nerve endings in the feet’although it can take some time to adjust to the prickly sensation.
5. Foot spas
($45 and up)
If you have a foot spa stashed away at home and some ‘me’ time up your sleeve, treat your feet with a bit of bubbling hydro healing. Regular soaking can soften rough skin (and most spa models have a range of nodes and rollers ‘for a heightened massage). But use in moderation, as excessive soaking can encourage dry skin.
6. Foot soaks
(Around $5 for 450 g salts)
If you’re after a home remedy for overworked feet, keep a box of Epsom salts handy for a ready-to-go soak. They draw fluid buildup out of the skin to alleviate muscle aches and swelling, and can also exfoliate. And they’re affordable. Just add one to two cups (250-500 mL) of salts to a basin of warm water, and voila!
DIY foot massage
Try this simple and effective foot massage on yourself:
1. With eyes closed, start at your toes and move each joint up and down.
2. Move to the ball of your foot and gently knead this area.
3. Grasp the ball of your foot and twist it gently in a circular motion.
4. Gently massage beneath the arch, the heel and the sides of your ankle.
5. Repeat on your other foot.
6. Wake up and realize that it’s not Daniel Craig.
This article was originally titled "Happy Summer Feet," in the Summer 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.