In a perfect world, you would never wear uncomfortable shoes. Sometimes, though, the fashionable allure of too-tight heels, flats and other high-style, low-comfort footwear gets the best of you. If your feet feel mummified by the time you yank off your shoes, a few home remedies can bring them back to life -- wearing those tight shoes too often, though, can send you straight to the doctor.
Ice Them Down
When your feet are aching and swollen after too many hours in a tight pair of kicks, treating them with cold compresses helps. This numbs the pain while also reducing swelling, and while it may be uncomfortable at first, give it a few minutes and you'll feel a positive difference. Wrap a few bags of frozen peas or a couple of ice packs in thin T-shirts or paper towels, then place them under and on top of your feet. The layer of protection prevents the frozen compress from hurting your skin while still letting the cold seep through to numb your feet. Remove the compresses after no longer than 20 minutes.
Too-tight shoes restrict the blood flow in your feet, so use this cure to get your circulation going again. Fill a large bowl or a bucket with cold water and another one with comfortably hot water. Dip your feet in the cold for five minutes, then switch over to the hot. After another five minutes, switch back. Switching back and forth between the extremes gets the blood in your feet to flow freely again after being constricted.
Just like stretching after exercise, stretching after taking off tight shoes alleviates soreness. For example, sit cross-legged so the ankle of your crossed leg is propped up on the opposite knee. Weave your fingers in between your toes, fanning them out and stretching them. For another exercise, lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees pointed up in the air. Lift your toes up, then lift your heels so only the balls of your feet are on the ground. Keep lifting up your heels, rolling your feet on the balls until the tips of your toes touch the floor and the balls of your feet rise up. Repeat this 10 times to relax and strengthen sore feet.
Seeking Professional Help
Tight shoes can cause serious, long-term health problems for your feet, and soreness is usually the first symptom. Bunions and hammer toes caused by tight shoes can become so debilitating that they require surgical correction, so don't rely on temporary remedies for your sore feet -- your podiatrist can identify the early stages of a serious medical problem.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.