Happy Feet -Ayurveda for your foot problems
The foot is one of the complex structures of the body to support our weight and movement. The 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100s of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the foot helps in walking, running, climbing, and jumping. Foot arches help in holding our body in the erect position. The thousands of nerve endings in the foot helps in the coordinated function between organs and organ systems. The narrow structure of the foot helps in the stabilization of the body while walking. Every single human foot has distinctive two longitudinal and one lateral arch which minimizes the risk of musculoskeletal tear or damage. They can also store the energy of these forces, helping in moving forward and backward while walking and running. The muscles give power and balance to the movement of the foot. Tendon joins muscle to bone and ligaments attach one bone to another bone. Both of these structures protect the foot from sprains. The skin on our foot soles is the thickest on the body.
This complexity of the human foot makes it prone to injuries like pain, strains, sprains, foot drops, tendinitis, torn ligaments, arthritis, neuropathies, diabetic foot, cracks, fungus infections, fractures, swellings, and ulcers. Researches show that women are more prone 4 times to foot problems than men. The incidence of foot complaints tends to intensify with age producing more risk of injuries and falls for elderly people. Problems with feet in individuals of younger age groups can influence their worker productivity and possible injuries may result in a decreased quality of life.
Foot Care at Pranava Kerala Ayurveda Clinic
Looking into some of the most common foot problems and Ayurvedic remedies, Pranava Kerala Ayurveda Clinic offers you a wide range of treatment experiences from pampering your sore foot to the healing touch of herbal treatments. The most common type of discomfort people experience with the foot is pain and cosmetic disfigurement. The conditions of foot pain include-
- Calcaneal spur where burning pain starts when you start walking in the early morning which can be relieved by the padded wrapping of the foot, supportive shoes, herbs, and massages.
- Plantar fasciitis is due to repeated stress to fascia causing the heel pain, usually after resting. Stretching exercises and Ayurvedic hot oil massages will help to relieve pain.
- Hallux valgus is the common condition of the deformed foot due to multiple causes ranging from metabolic defects to structural instability where movement can be limited due to pain. Ayurvedic pouch massages (Pindasweda) and oil pads can help here.
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition where there is burning pain aggravated by prolonged standing, walking, and wearing ill-fitting shoes, which can be relieved by taking rest. Ayurvedic herbs and hot oil massages are very effective to control the syndrome.
- Muscle cramps during the night or heavy exercise due to inadequate flow of blood can be dealt with by traditional Ayurvedic teas known as Kashayas, oils, massages, and so on.
- Metatarsalgia is the Degeneration of the metatarsal head (group of five long bones in the foot) causing bursitis (inflammation). Here pain can be better controlled with internal herbs and local massages.
- Ankle sprain has got severe pain and can be managed with herbal oil bandages.
- Pain due to chronic arthritis needs more systemic treatment. They tend to increase with age. Ayurveda offers very effective and long-lasting care for arthritis.
- Achilles tendinitis can cause pain and swelling resulting from tight shoes or long running.
- Pain due to corns and calluses is a common annoying problem that occurs at the bottom of the feet due to prolonged standing or friction. Softening and removal help in the corns.
- Cracked heels are yet another common problem due to hypothyroidism, dryness, diabetes, skin infections, and vitamin deficiencies. Always protect your feet from hot and cold.
- Diabetic Foot occurs due to poor control of diabetes and blood circulation leading to injury and ulcers. Unnoticed or poorly managed problems always make healing difficult.
- Fractures and injuries to bones cause throbbing pain and need immobilization with internal and external therapies. Various herbal preparations used accordingly help in easy healing of simple fractures and post-surgical pain and stiffness of complex fractures.
Treatment for the foot problems is prescribed depending upon the condition ranging from simple massages to systemic treatments. Ayurveda offers very effective foot care plans including anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving herbs, foot massages (Padabhyanga), another local bath, herbal packs, and bandages. It includes the internal administration of medicated herbal decoctions, powders, tablets and oils, herbal jams, and so on. Externally Upanaha bandage (a type of fomentation where specially prepared herbs are tied in a cotton bandage or leaves in the painful area.) Dhara (Pouring streams of oil over the painful area), Avagaha (foot bath in specially prepared medical decoctions), Abhyanga(hot oil massage), various powder massages, and kizhis (herbs are warmed in medicated oils and made into small pouches) will help.
Padabhyanga: (Ayurvedic foot massage)
Ayurveda recommends doing foot massages using hot oils to improve as a part of personal care. Here the massage is administered by giving special care to trigger points/ vital points known as marmas in Ayurveda. Marmas are the vital points of the body where multiple structures cross each other. Stimulating these points helps to improve the flow of energy in the body, circulation, and nerve functioning. On top of increasing general health of the foot, Ayurvedic foot massage is highly recommended for sleep issues as well. Apart from the general benefits foot massage can be tailored to address foot problems by using specific pain oils, herbal scrubs, pouches, and so on. The effects of foot massage can be boosted by giving a foot bath and herbal pack.
General care for foot problems
- Always select footwear of your correct size as 70%of the foot problems are due to poorly fitting shoes or poor foot hygiene.
- If you are suffering from any sort of metabolic disorder take great care of your diet.
- Foot spa will help to maintain healthy and hygienic food. Always remember to pamper yourself once in a while because Simple massages with herbal oils can do wonders and help in improving blood circulation making the skin soft and smooth.
- Look for any signs of injuries, broken and dry skin, corns, discoloration, feeling hot, cold, or numb in feet, etc as these may be the first signs of your yet-to-start foot problems.
The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.
Leonardo da Vinci
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