Painful feet does strike a chord. It has been much worse for me in the past, and I’d now class it as discomfort. I think my pain has been related to blood pooling in the feet, I guess because I’m sitting down too much. Often stone cold, sometimes baking hot, my feet could get swollen and quite colourful (which, thinking about it, I haven’t noticed the purple, swollen feet for a while). Blood flow to the feet is controlled by dilation and contraction of arteries in the calf muscle – my calf muscles are weak, and maybe also the messages from my feet telling the brain they’re cold or swollen aren’t getting through. Also, at night, blood flow slows right down and even though I’m lying down, there isn’t enough pressure to pump the blood back up the legs, so again it pools in the feet, causing discomfort.
Here’s some things I’ve discovered over the years have worked for me. They’re not cures, but they have provided relief.
Immersing the feet in cold or quite warm water for a few minutes (sit on the side of the bath if safe). It doesn’t seem to matter which, but should be a temperature difference you can feel. I might do this before bed. I think it is triggers a strong message to the brain, reminding it there’s a job in the feet to do and to trigger vasodilation / blood flow in the calf arteries.
The next one that works for me is to firmly stroke or scratch the sole of the foot to trigger a Babinski reflex so that, the whole foot flexes upwards uncontrollably. This method causes the calf muscles to flex, and so gets the blood flowing. I’ll initiate this reflex repeatedly for about one minute on each foot. Indeed, simply flexing your feet at the ankle, raising the foot up and down, can be done any time discretely and works for me, though I can’t do this on my left foot.
Maybe you have come across inclined bed therapy. By raising the bottom of one’s bed, blood flows back up the legs much easier when one’s asleep, and this has worked for me, too. Along the same lines, I have had success lying on the floor with my legs pointing straight up against a wall for a few minutes. Not all night, though! Maybe before bed or any time during the day. Having the feet raised during the day where possible, like sitting with legs stretched out on a sofa, also gets the swelling down.
Walking with discomfort is totally distracting and unpleasant, and I have spent a good amount of time finding footwear that works for me and my feet that kept changing size through the day. Theory says that flight socks should also have helped with blood flow, but I don’t remember success with that one. Think I’ll try again.
Finally, mindfulness. I find that if I’m properly engaged in a task, then I’m not conscious of what’s going on with my feet. Our thinking brain can really only apply itself to one thing at a time, so if I’m focused, concentrating on even something simple like reading, cooking, or talking to someone, then I’m not aware of distractions such as my feet. Meditation might work in a similar way, enabling one to be unaware of sensations.
Hope any of these will be of some use to you.