If you are one of those lucky enough to deal with foot pain (**sarcasm alert**), there is every possibility that you might have tried natural remedies.
If this is true and you are yet to try Arnica, it could be that you have heard little or nothing about it. Studies have shown this plant to be very useful in foot pain relief (and other types of pain too!), and it might just work for you also.
Let’s learn more about it, shall we?
What is Arnica?
Arnica Montana is a plant that is found within the mountainous North American and European regions. Arnica is also found in Siberia. Arnica has yellow-orange flowers that look a lot like daisies. Also known as mountain daisy, arnica is a perennial plant and grows approximately 1 to 2 feet tall.
For several centuries, both the fresh and dried flowers of the arnica plant have been used as a remedy for various ailments, including foot pain. Today, this natural remedy comes in the form of a cream and gel. They are also available as supplements but should only be taken under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.
Over the years, homeopathic doctors have used arnica in treating swelling, especially the type caused by sports-related injuries. They have been known to relieve swollen veins and muscle pain. Apart from foot pain, there are lots of other ailments that arnica may be used for.
How Does Arnica Work?
To make the most of arnica, it is essential that you understand how this natural remedy works. Arnica, whether in cream or gel form, is applied to the affected area of the skin to help reduce the pain and swelling.
Studies have shown that extracts of arnica are full of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune-stimulating, and analgesic properties. When applied to the affected foot, the compounds found in arnica interact with mitochondria to protect cells from oxidative stress. This is what promotes healing with consistent use of the plant extract.
In a nutshell, arnica works by doing the following:
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing pain
- Protecting your blood vessels from damages resulting from bruising
- Reducing edema (a fancy word that means swelling)
How to Use Arnica
Whether you are using the cream or gel form of arnica, it is important that you follow proper application directions provided on the packing or by your doctor. This remedy can be applied directly to the skin. Some users have also applied arnica by making it into poultices and compresses.
Arnica is most often used topically, due to the possibility of severe and unpleasant side-effects when taken orally. However, oral remedies are heavily diluted, and as such, the chances of potential harm are significantly reduced. Regardless, always check with a physician before opting for any natural remedies, including arnica.
Side Effects & Interactions
Arnica comes with side effects, whether taken orally as a supplement or used topically, especially when the gel or cream is applied to broken skin. The Canadian government prohibits the use of arnica as a food ingredient because of its safety concerns.
Some of the side effects of arnica include but are not limited to the following:
- Fast heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Digestive issues
- Muscle weakness
Also, WebMD warns that pregnant or lactating women should avoid applying arnica to the skin as it is considered to be LIKELY UNSAFE. You should always check to make sure your skin is not broken before applying arnica gel or cream.
If you are also having any digestive issues, high blood pressure, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, fast heart rate, or any other type of intestinal conditions, you should consult your physician before you make use of arnica gel or cream.
Recommended Arnica Creams & Gels: Quick Comparison
Boiron Arnicare Cream
This brand of arnica cream is made to help you get quicker and significant relief from foot pain. It works by reducing swelling, inflammation, discolorations, and pain from bruises and sprains. This non-greasy, non-sticky, unscented, and paraben-free cream is also suitable for very sensitive skin.
Boiron Arnicare Gel
With its active ingredient being arnica Montana, this gel helps you get relief from stiffness, muscle and joint pain around your foot. Unlike the cream, this gel has a reduced risk of side effects, as long as it is used as directed.
MaxRelief Arnica Montana Pain Cream
This cream has turned out to be a favorite among those who are dealing with foot, knee, joint, and muscle pain. It offers you powerful and long-lasting quick relief from foot pain. The cream is made to work on its own or used in complementary therapies like ice packs, heating pads, massagers, braces, tendonitis supports, neuropathy socks, and others.
Miracle Plus Arnica Bruise Cream
This arnica cream contains Vitamin K to ensure quicker healing of the bruises and fading of the discoloration on the affected foot. It also contains Horse Chestnut and L-Arginine that reduces recovery duration as it improves circulation around the foot.
Sources & Additional Reading
- Fitness Magazine: The Truth About Using Arnica To Relieve Muscle Pain
- Web MD: Arnica Facts
- RxList: Arnica Effectiveness
- Kiwi Herb: How Does Arnica Really Work?
- Live Strong: How Does Arnica Work?
- University Health News: Arnica Montana Uses
- Very Well Health: Arnica – What Arthritis Patients Should Know
- Healthy Living Online: 10 Arnica Gel Side Effects You Don’t Want to Experience
- DIY Natural: A Natural Homemade Arnica Bruise Cream Recipe