Why Do People Rub Their Feet Together? [4 Possible Reasons]

Rubbing feet together is observed in humans and animals. This instinctual behavior generates warmth, provides comfort, and eases stress, promoting relaxation and well-being by increasing blood circulation and relieving muscle tension.


Why Do People Rub Their Feet Together?

Animals and people alike have been witnessed engaging in the primal ritual of rubbing their feet together. Warmth, comfort, and stress relief are just a few of the benefits you may experience by engaging in this pastime. By repetitively rubbing their feet together, individuals can create a soothing sensation that helps to relax their bodies and mind.

Additionally, this activity may also aid in increasing blood circulation and relieving tension in the muscles of the feet. While rubbing one’s feet together may seem like a simple activity, it can be an effective way to promote relaxation and well-being, especially after a long day.


It May Be A Harmless Habit 
Caption: NaiLstreaM in Flickr


1. It May Be A Harmless Habit 

Some people will rub their feet from time to time without even paying active attention to it. This is a widespread habit among people, especially at the time they fall asleep. 

Sometimes when people recover from any medical condition that causes rubbing feet, they adopt it as a habit.  If rubbing your feet together is merely a habit of yours, you can rest assured that there’s nothing to worry about. 

Stroking both feet together can also help you feel warm when you’re cold. To sum it up all, as long as you are comfortable with your habit, there’s no need to change it. Many people enjoy rubbing their feet together for comfort. 


2. Self-Soothing Activity 

Another harmless reason for stroking one foot to another may be an unconscious way of your body soothing itself. Touching the skin is a way of providing comfort. So, when your body wants to feel relaxed, it can make your feet rub together without you knowing consciously. 

If you ever catch yourself unknowingly rubbing your feet together, you’ll notice that it’s helping you wash away the tiredness. That’s one of the reasons why it’s a bedtime habit. People usually rub their feet when they’re in bed resting. 

Self-Soothing Activity 
Caption: SachaCC in Flickr


3. Sleep Disorder 

Unlike the prior harmless reasons, rubbing or jerking your legs in sleep or before sleeping can be a sign of a sleeping disorder. This disorder is related to Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD). It causes frequent leg cramps when you sleep. 

Symptoms of PLMD can include sleep disruption, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, etc. If you are experiencing disrupted sleep without any particular reason, feel tired during the day, and your leg cramps, you should consider consulting a doctor. 

Restless Leg Syndrome
Photo Credit: @toofoot48


4. Restless Leg Syndrome

Another common reason for rubbing legs together is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). This syndrome is also called the Willis-Ekbom Disease. If you feel a strong urge to move your feet when you’re lying down, it can be a symptom of RLS. 

RLS is explained as both a sleeping disorder and a neurological disorder. It’s more prominent at night and when you’re inactive. If you stay seated all day, the symptoms can become more painful. 

If you doubt you’re suffering from RLS, it would be better not to delay seeing a doctor.  

Related Post: 9 Hidden Tips On How To Keep Feet From Sweating In Work Boots


How To Relax Your Feet
Caption by DeaMax


How To Relax Your Feet? 

No matter the cause of rubbing your feet together, if you want to get rid of it, you’ll have to soothe your feet. There are several ways of doing that. Following a strict routine may help a lot with rubbing feet together. 

1. Quit Bad Habits

Habits like consuming too much caffeine, smoking, and an unhygienic food routine can result in causing your feet discomfort. The healthier you lead your life, the more comfortable you feel with your body. 

Harmful habits can cause diseases like iron deficiency, leading to conditions like RLS. So, the first step is to always take care of yourself. Besides, prevention is better than cure. 

If your rubbing feet isn’t a result of PLMD or RLS, leading a healthy life will reduce any discomfort you’re feeling. 

Photo Credit: @sometimes_precious


2. Exercise 

The necessity of exercising goes without saying. The less active life you lead, the more likely you’ll feel discomfort, especially while lying in bed. On the contrary, exercise isn’t mandatory to reduce your pain or discomfort if you lead a very active life. 

However, if you stay seated for most of your day, you should add regular exercise to your routine. People who are involved in desk jobs need exercise more than anyone else. 

When your lower body part doesn’t get enough blood flow due to inactivity, uncomfortable sensations occur. One of the many bright sides of exercise is ensuring adequate blood circulation throughout the whole body, reducing discomfort in your feet. 


3. Develop A Healthy Sleep Routine

Rubbing your feet together is related to sleep disorders. RLS and PLMD can cause insomnia, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and sleepiness during the daytime. Developing a healthy sleeping routine will help reduce this incident no matter the reason.

Try to get yourself inside a strict routine where sufficient sleeping time is concerned. Keep the environment quiet, comfortable, and cool to make yourself most relaxed. 

Develop A Healthy Sleep Routine

4. Baths And Massages Help 

Soak your feet in warm water. It helps you calm your nerves. Massaging them can also help you feel relaxed. If it helps you with your feet discomfort, you can slip it into your day-to-day routine. 


5. Use Warm Or Cool Packs

Using cold or heat on your feet can numb your uncomfortable sensations, making you feel more comfortable. 

Avoid using an ice pack directly on the skin if you’re using an ice pack. Instead, cover the pack with fabric and then use it. 


6. Avoid Using Uncomfortable Footwear

Your footwear should be your foot supporter in every activity. Wearing uncomfortable shoes all day long can cause your feet pain. Find the right size, try them to see if you feel relaxed wearing them, and always keep your footwear clean. 

If you have any medical condition, consult your doctor about what footwear to use. For example, heels may not be suitable for you if you suffer from ankle soreness.  

Take your activities into consideration, too, while selecting your shoes. For example, if you stay standing all day, you should go for something with ample cushioning to support your legs. 


How Do I Know If Rubbing My Feet Is Harmless Or Not?

You can find out by answering a simple question. Are you rubbing your feet because you’re uncomfortable or because it relaxes you? If you are rubbing your feet only for relaxation or out of habit, it’s harmless. 

However, it may be a sign of a disorder if you ‘have’ to rub your fit because you’re feeling an unavoidable urge to move your feet. 

There’s no reason to change your habit if it makes you feel relaxed, warm, or soothed. However, if you feel you don’t like rubbing your feet, but you’re continuously doing it, you should see a physician. 


What To Do If You Have RLS Or PLMD
Caption by Lennoxblaze


What To Do If You Have RLS Or PLMD?

The obvious answer to this question is to visit a doctor. Follow the tips I’ve explained above to feel relief from foot discomfort. However, if the condition doesn’t improve, you must go and see a doctor. 

Making a few preparations before going to a doctor is always a smart move. They can help diagnose the disease, and your physician can provide you with a speedy service. 

Tracking your feet flexing and twitching is one way to determine if you’re suffering from any disorder. Keep a diary and record how frequently this is happening before you fall asleep. 

If you wake up at night and don’t know why write that down too. Note every time you wake up. Tell your doctor if you’re feeling fatigued, tired, or sleepy during the daytime. 

State your daily routine and medical history too. Then, when you go there prepared, it becomes easier for the doctor to diagnose you.



Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is rubbing my feet together a bad sign?

Rubbing your feet together may not always be a thing to worry about. However, it can be a bad sign if you’re too uncomfortable with your feet and experience twitching, pain, and discomfort regularly. 


Q. When should I see a professional rubbing my feet?

If you’re experiencing discomfort regularly and having trouble sleeping because of your feet for quite some time, it’s time to see a doctor. However, if you want to avoid visiting a doctor immediately, try home remedies like a foot bath and massage.


Q. Why do I feel relaxed when rubbing my feet together?

Your feet have many nerve endings. So touching, rubbing, or stroking the feet is like giving yourself a massage by stimulating those nerves. That’s why it feels soothing when you touch your feet. 


Final Words 

Next time someone asks why people rub their feet together, you can have the answers ready. May it be for yourself or someone you know, knowing when to see a professional is crucial. As harmless as rubbing both feet together seems it might not be the case every time.

On the contrary, knowing the facts will also save you unnecessary worries about your feet rubbing. 

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