I’m 28 and for many years I’ve had problems with my toes. Three years ago I had been told that this is because I have very flat feet. I’ve arch supports for my shoes, but my shins still hurt especially when I’m exercising. In addition, I have swollen ankles. My GP says there’s not any remedy. Is there anything you can suggest?

Flat feet are due to dropped arches

Arches make standing possible since they help to distribute weight throughout the bottom of the foot. We walk by using a ‘heel-toe’ movement. Arches permit the toe and heel to make contact with the floor alternately. If you’ve got flat feet your feet and heels need to be lifted to walk: Running is eased by the propulsion made by the arches, together with the feet as the point of contact. People born with lost arches seldom feel much distress since they’re utilized to them. But if the arches fall because of, say, weight gain, poor nutrition, excessive acid in the body or standing all day, this may cause enormous pain.

The technology of the feet is complicated and fascinating. The major curvature of the arch is formed by the bones, of the toes, including those on your feet and heels, as well as the muscles that flex and bend the feet downwards. Also involved is the thick rope of fibrous tissue running from the heel to the toes, known as the plantar fascia. Problems with this horizontal tendon-like sheath of connective tissue are the root cause of most aches and pains in the feet.

You may feel the plantar fascia beneath the thick skin of the soles. It starts off in one piece in the heel, then, about a third of the way up the foot it divides into five segments, each attached to a toe. With flat feet, the plantar ligaments may become overstretched and inflamed. They are painful when walking or standing and may hurt so much at night they wake you up. The pain can shoot up the leg, leading to backache. I believe that your shins hurt since the muscles are getting to be strained trying to assist the body to walk and this is also impacting the ankles.

Here are my recommendations:

      • Excess acidity causes pain in ligaments and tendons, so avoid acidic foods (citrus fruits, kiwis, nuts, pickles, hot curries, chillies, white wine, champagne, brandy, vinegar, pineapples, tomatoes and especially tomato juice, ready-prepared foods that contain additives and preservatives). We don’t know precisely why the acidity causes this pain – it might be because it affects the collagen.
      • Avoid coffee and extra salt that make the pain worse.
      • Massage the foot and leg with Oil, or make your own mix with 50 drops of clove oil, 30 drops of eucalyptus oil in l00mlof Ayurvedic Narqran Oil. Start massaging the shin downward from the knee to the ankle, with your thumb or four hands. Then massage the calf down into the Achilles tendon. Do this for five minutes. Then use your thumbs to massage the bottom of your feet, beginning from the heel and going up to your feet. (You will need to sit down and bend your knees to try it, bringing up each foot over another knee – if you are not able to do so, ask somebody else to do the massage for you.) The plantar fascia will feel really sore, so begin with a gentle massage and increase the pressure as you get used to it. Then, with the bottom of your palm, rub it vigorously until the friction makes it warm. This may take five to seven minutes, by which time you should feel a burning sensation.
      • Twice each day, roll your toes onto a rolling pin for five minutes.
      • At bedtime, use a hot salt poultice. Heat a cupful of table salt in a dry pan until it gets quite hot. Pour the hot salt to a little piece of cloth and tie it up to make a ball. Apply the poultice to the sore areas of the foot (If it is too hot, place a piece of towel between the poultice and your foot until it is cool enough to apply right.) Leave for five minutes.
      • Anyone who doesn’t have arch supports for their sneakers should get them (from a chemist or foot-care center ). Ideally, you should be quantified for these by a podiatrist.

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