If you are on your feet all day, it can mess with your back, legs and feet. A lot of the discomfort and pains could be prevented by wearing proper shoes suited to your job, along with following a daily foot care routine. Recently I saw a police officer, dentist, caterer and a few teachers, who all had foot pains; and it was mainly due to footwear, and the demands of being on their feet for extremely long periods of time.
Whether you are one of the professionals mentioned, or fall into another category which demands long standing all the same, take notice. Make an extra effort to take good care of your feet and legs; this can go a long way toward staying healthy and happy.
Wear the right shoe
Flat sole shoes may seem like the obvious choice if you work on your feet, but these shoes aren’t recommended for prolonged standing. Actually, your heel should be elevated by at least ¼ inch, and should be less than 2 inches. Work shoes should also provide good cushioning and/or arch support. This helps reduce weakness and soreness in the legs and feet. If your shoes don’t provide enough support, you can purchase arch support insoles.
Ensure your shoes fit
Many people wear shoes that are too small or big; both are not a good fit. A small fit cuts off circulation to your feet; increases your chances of blisters; makes walking or standing uncomfortable; if not unbearable. Too large causes the toes to grip. Getting your right size is key; so shop for shoes later in the day. Your feet are naturally larger at the end of the day, as they swell a bit.
Stretching is vital
Muscles can become stiff and painful when you stand or walk all day. Stop every hour or so to stretch, relax, and lengthen tightened muscles. Calf raises help pump blood out of the foot (where it has pooled while you were standing), and back to the body.
When you’re in the comfort of home, you can help your feet recover from the day, and prepare for the next day. Try one of these treatments:
- Ice your feet
As much as people hate it, immersing the foot as long as the person doesn’t have vascular problems, in a bucket with water and ice for 20 minutes, works to combat the swelling and inflammation that prolonged standing creates in the foot. Each step we take or minute we stand, we are creating micro-damage that the body has to heal. Using ice is an easy, effective way, to help the body heal faster.
- Massage your feet
Roll your foot from heel to toe over a roller, or water bottle. The gentle massage on your feet and arches, will stretch tight foot muscles, and help your feet recover more quickly.
- Elevate your feet
Propping your feet above the rest of your body, will help decrease the day’s swelling. You can place them against a wall, or on a stack of pillows.
See a podiatrist if the pain persists
Pain is a sign that something is wrong. Do not walk through pain. Make an appointment to see your doctor or podiatrist if the pain continues, gets worse, or you begin to notice increasing symptoms such as numbness, stinging, or tingling in your feet and toes.
You may just have a condition such as bone spurs or plantar fasciitis. Bone spurs are a form of outgrowth, and plantar fasciitis is the result of damage or tearing in ligaments of the heel. Fallen arches can also contribute to your foot pain.
Treatment for chronic foot pain
It depends on the underlying cause. Some conditions, such as bunions, may require surgery to correct the problem. If the foot pain is caused by inflammation or arthritis, there are several medications that may help. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), decrease inflammation, and relieve mild to moderate pain. For more advanced inflammation, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids either as a topical cream, or an oral tablet. Topical analgesic creams that are available without a prescription may provide relief. If your foot pain is related to a medical condition such as gout, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor may prescribe medication, specifically for these conditions.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!