The secret to the perfect foot massage

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When you work hard every day, spending long shifts standing on your feet, pain and discomfort are inevitable. After you end your shift, you might get into your car and feel your feet throbbing all the way home. Even if you stretch during the day, chances are good that you'll take your work shoes off and feel that familiar throbbing along your arches. It's uncomfortable and, for some, can seem like an unavoidable part of the job.

Now imagine coming home from work to a nice, relaxing foot massage. Sounds great, doesn't it? You don't have to go to an expensive spa to get a massage that eases foot pain. With the following tips you can work the sore areas of your feet and find some relief from the daily pain and strain:

1. Warm up

Just as you should always warm up before exercising, you'll also need to warm up the muscles in your feet before massaging them. This will prevent cramps and further soreness from occurring. You can do this by sitting down on the floor, on your bed or at the edge of a chair. Find a spot where you feel relaxed and comfortable. Also, if you've been working all day, give your feet a quick wash with warm water before starting.

To warm up your ankles, make a V-shape with your hands by tucking in your thumbs and placing your extended fingers on either side of your Achilles tendon. Slowly move your hands back and forth in a sawing motion. Keep your foot relaxed and do this for about 30 seconds – you should feel your ankle and heel warming and loosening up a bit.

For your arches, PopSugar recommended placing one palm against the top of your foot and the other palm on the bottom, then gently pressing and holding for a minute. This will warm up the plantar fascia and promote blood flow. Then, hold your foot with one hand and use the other to gently rotate the toes in a circular motion.

Rather than go to the spa, you can give yourself a relaxing foot massage at home.Rather than go to the spa, you can give yourself a relaxing foot massage at home.

2. Find the pain points

After you're warmed up, it's time to locate where you're experiencing the most pain. For many people, pain is often exhibited along the arch of the foot. One way to prevent this type of pain is to replace worn out shoes with ones that provide better support. It may also be helpful to use cushioned insoles.

To find the pain points, LiveStrong suggested using both thumbs to "march" across the bottom of your foot. When you find a tender spot, press down on it with both thumbs while wiggling your foot. Hold this for a minute, then release. You may feel a slight tingling sensation. Repeat this for every painful area you find. Be sure not to use too much pressure, or you could bruise yourself.

After this, cup your hands around either side of your foot and use the pads of your fingers to knead the space between your toe bones. Meanwhile, use your thumbs to smooth down the areas between your ligaments, working from the top of the foot down between the toes. Again, keep your pressure at a medium level to avoid injury.

3. Continue to work the muscles

Once you've worked the painful spots, finish up the massage by going over the entire bottom of your foot with your thumbs. According to Massage Therapy, there are two ways to do this. First, move your thumbs in a T-shaped position up the length of your sole, then spreading them out to either side as you reach the base of your toes. Second, make concentric circles with your thumbs beginning at your heel and working your way up. You can do this for as long as you want.

And that's it! These three steps should give you some relief from the pain that comes from standing at work all day long.

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