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( Originally Published Mid 1800s )
From childhood we impose upon our feet, making them conform to a shape in shoes decreed by fashion and quite at variance with Nature's arrangement.
I find ninety-nine women out of a hundred have taken just such or kindred liberties with their pedal extremities, and once the feet have been thus tampered with, they never quite recover. Massage is a wonderful method for soothing the aches of feet that have been improperly shod, as well as for the pain that comes from overexertion, long walking, or standing.
To give, tired feet, restful, delightful massage the operator need not be an expert masseuse.
The process begins with an application of a quieting lotion to the foot by the hand of the operator.
Arnica diluted with warm water will prove a simple and soothing application.
After the lotion has dried rub the foot gently, using a good toilet cream or oil of sweet almonds. Always draw the blood from the ankle or instep to the toes. Support the instep or ball of the foot with the left hand while rubbing with the right, using the downward movement on the outside of foot and ankle. A rotary motion on the instep is also very restful.
All the nerves start from the feet, which should be treated the same as the head-removing the shoes and elevating the feet to a comfortable position-not too high.
The foot should never be massaged without using a little oil or cream. For a tender foot which perspires too freely always use oil, alcohol and ammonia combined, one ounce of oil, two ounces of alcohol and one tablespoonful of ammonia. For a burning foot use cream or oil. Iodine should never be used on the foot in its full strength. After a corn has been cut, it should always be protected from the stocking (for an hour at least) by a piece of adhesive plaster, or by applying some good cream and wrapping a small piece of cotton around the toe.
Take extra care in fitting shoes. Pay no attention to the toes, but fit the heel and instep, thus bringing the pressure on the instep, where it should be, and not on the toes.
There is no permanent cure for an enlarged joint or corn. They can only be relieved, and all "magic cures" should be avoided, as they eventually do more harm than good.
Ingrowing nails can be cured by proper cutting and protecting the corners after the diseased part has been removed, which is essentially the work of a skilled chiropodist.
Distorted great toe joints are always caused by shoes too short for the foot.
To relieve the pain and' throw the joint back into place put a bit of thick felt between the great and second toes.
To massage the sore joint always hold the toe in place by separating the great and second toes. This of itself will give relief. Never massage the great toe joint by a pressure that will bend the great toe still further toward the second toe.
A soda footbath is as effective as any other treatment for burning feet. Take a handful of common washing soda and let it dissolve in a large foot tub two-thirds full of tepid water. Soak the feet in this bath for twenty minutes. Usually it will remove the burning sensation and give great relief.
Above all things avoid short shoes. They are the cause of that obstinate and painful trouble called ingrowing toe nail. The best shoe is that which is long and broad, with the sole projecting as much as one-eighth of an inch beyond the foot. Avoid extremely sharp-pointed shoes. Happily they are no longer in fashion, and the woman who has a square foot need not pinch her toes in order to be correct.
For tired and tender feet try bathing them in hot water into which a big handful of sea salt has been dissolved. Let the feet remain in the water fifteen minutes. Dry and rub the soles with half of a lemon. The relief is most grateful.