Many people make a living at jobs which require them to stand on their feet for 8 and more hours a day. This means that the whole weight of the body is put on the feet for extended hours, and it is no surprise that such a load and overuse can easily lead to fatigue, soreness, tingling and pain the heel, feet, legs and lower back. Often, plantar fasciitis can occur due to this type of overuse as well. In fact over 2 million people in the US seek treatment for this painful inflammation every year.
Thankfully, there are measures and preventive actions which you can take, in order to alleviate the pain and reduce the risk of soreness and injury as a result of having to spend hours and hours standing on your feet.
Here are some tips on how to do that:
1. If you already suffer from plantar fasciitis, tendonitis or another foot health problem and soreness
you should take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, naproxen or other to help treat the inflammation and resolve the pain. Follow the directions on the package for the correct and safe dosage.
2. Sit or lie down with elevated feet
After or during work (if possible) take the time to sit or lie down and rest with your feet elevated higher than your body. When you get home, take an ice cold bottle of water or an ice pack and place your feet on top of it by putting some pressure.
3. Massage your feet
Massage the feet by rolling them backwards and forward for about 20 minutes. If you can, do this during your work breaks too. This will sooth the pain and will help improve the blood flow to the heels. If there is swelling, you could try wearing a compression bandage as well.
4. Switch up standing with sitting down regularly
Make sure you take the time to sit down for a few minutes in every few hours of standing. This is a good time to do some stretching of the feet. Cross one foot over the other grab the toes and gently pull them towards you in order to stretch the plantar fascia. Hold the position for about 10 seconds and switch legs to do the same with the other foot. Repeat this stretch 20 times.
5. Shoes are extremely important
Make sure you wear appropriate shoes for standing on your feet long hours, which fit your shoe size and form well, and provide the necessary support and comfort to the feet and your arches. Properly sized shoes should have about half an inch of space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe. Always try on new shoes when your feet are most swollen, which means going to the store after work or after spending a long day on your feet. It is normal that your shoe size and shape will change with age and use, so measure both feet and try on your shoes every time you buy a new pair. Do not rely solely on the size you know you have worn since your adolescence! Make sure both shoes fit comfortably when you first try them on. They shouldn’t be too tight, and your toes should have enough space to move without being crushed together. For additional comfort, make sure that your shoes are water resistant and yet breathable, to keep your feet dry and safe from slippage at all times. If you work in slippery conditions, choose shoes which have outsoles with reliable traction. When there are other hazards at your job, follow the job and legal requirements and get work shoes or boots which provide the level of safety necessary.
If you need yet further cushioning or arch and foot support, you may want to add additional insoles specially made for standing all day long to your shoes that are suitable for your feet.
7. Consult a professional.
If your pain is persistent, you may want to consult with a pediatrician or surgeon about the proper treatment for an underlying health condition or for recommendations for alleviating the soreness and pain. You may need to wear night splints, orthotics or you may need physiotherapy or surgery to resolve your problem. Some topical creams and gels as well as corticosteroid injections can also help reduce and eliminate the pain.
8. Order custom-made orthotics
If your podiatrist recommends it for your particular situation, you may have to order orthotics to help reduce the impact and pressure on the feet from carrying the body weight and from standing on the hard ground for hours. A cheaper variant is to purchase inserts which can help cushion and support your feet better during the long hours of work.
The heavier you are – the more weight and stress you put on your feet. This is why you should consider losing any extra pounds you have. This will help relieve the soreness in the feet and can also prevent your arches from collapsing or other painful damage be done to your feet.
Working and living with pain in the feet can be a miserable experience, which is why you should take all necessary preventive actions to reduce the stress, overuse and the risk of injury to your feet due to standing up on them for hours on a daily basis. Taking the precautions will help you feel better and perform better on the job as well. In the long run, spending more money on buying more comfortable and better quality shoes, inserts or orthotics, as well as allowing your feet to rest on a regular basis can help prevent some difficult to treat and quite painful conditions, such as plantar fasciitis and others.