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Can CBD Reduce Foot Discomfort?

runner holding sore foot

Our two feet contain 52 bones, constituting more than over 25% of the bones in our entire body! Those 52 bones are accompanied by 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and multiple tendons (which hold everything together).  

Knowing the intricacies of our feet makes it a little less shocking to learn that, according to a 2014 survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association, eight in 10 Americans say they have experienced a foot problem, with half of those saying it affected their quality of life.

A 2018 American Podiatric Medical Association survey found that 81 percent of obese Americans suffer from foot pain ...

A 2018 American Podiatric Medical Association survey found that 81 percent of obese Americans suffer from foot pain and, at times, “experience multiple foot and ankle conditions.” The same survey revealed that 74 percent of overweight Americans experience foot problems. 

Foot pain can be devastating both emotionally and physically because we rely on our feet for mobility. So, if you suffer from foot discomfort and are a believer in the medicinal benefits of CBD, it’s only natural to wonder (and hope) that CBD can help you.  

Does the Science Support CBD For Foot Pain?

The most common type of foot pain originates from the largest bone in the foot: the heel. A common heel disorder is plantar fasciitis. About two million Americans suffer from it each year. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia that spans the sole of your foot. Plantar fasciitis can develop because of such things as obesity, prolonged standing, excessive training (especially running) and improper footwear. Other causes of foot pain are bursitis, flatfeet (pes planus), tendonitis and gout. The one thing they have in common is that their symptoms are all the result of inflammation.

Unfortunately, studies on CBD and foot pain are extremely limited. But the good news is, along with promoting a feeling of calmness, easing the discomfort experienced from inflammation is the benefit most heralded by users of CBD. Fortunately, there are studies that give credence to the pain reduction raves CBD has received from its users.

A 2016 study by the European Journal of Pain concluded that topical CBD application may have therapeutic potential for relief of pain‐related behaviors and inflammation “without evident side‐effects.” A 2017 study by the Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology concluded that: “Nevertheless, the preclinical and human data that do exist indicate that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment of joint pain.” A 2018 study published by the journal Molecules states that “There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that cannabinoids are beneficial for a range of clinical conditions, including pain, inflammation …”

A note about inflammation: There is “good inflammation” and “bad inflammation.” Good inflammation is an indispensable part of the healing process, eliminating the initial cause of cell injury and fighting off foreign invaders. 

Bad inflammation (also called chronic inflammation) occurs when your immune system mistakenly thinks one of your inherent body components is a foreign invader. Your body essentially attacks itself, which can cause various autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and gut health issues, to mention just a few.

Studies have shown that CBD may play a role in keeping bad inflammation in check. It has to do with small proteins called cytokines, which are released by the immune system to coordinate our body’s response to infection by triggering inflammation. Sometimes excess cytokines are produced, resulting in hyper-inflammation. A 2018 study by the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics confirms that CBD and other cannabinoids help regulate the release of cytokines that can inflame allergic responses. 

Another type of foot pain originates from peripheral neuropathy. This is when the nerves in your feet are damaged. When this happens, you may feel numbness, tingling or intense burning pain. A 2020 study published by the National Library of Medicine concluded “that the transdermal application of CBD oil can achieve significant improvement in pain and other disturbing sensations in patients with peripheral neuropathy. The treatment product was well tolerated and may provide a more effective alternative compared with other current therapies in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy.”

“Transdermal” refers to CBD delivered by a patch or an ointment applied to the skin.

So, whether your foot discomfort results from inflammation or peripheral neuropathy, CBD may offer you some relief. As with many medicinal solutions, the only way to find out for sure is to try it yourself. The best strategy would seem to be to ingest it and apply it topically to the area of your feet where the pain originates. If you experience easing of your symptoms, chances are you’ve taken a step in the right direction.

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