You’ve likely heard many times about the importance of regularly getting up from your desk and moving about throughout the workday. However, this tip overlooks the millions of people like you who work on your feet all day. Retail workers, nurses, hairdressers, and people in the restaurant industry are only a few examples of those who don’t get a chance to sit down.
When you stand up, your whole body weight is supported by your feet, so it is understandable that this can cause pain and health issues. So, how do you take care of your feet and body overall, given you’re standing so much on the job?
Common issues when working on your feet all-day
Some of the problems that may arise from standing for long periods of time are:
- Circulation issues
- Swelling in the legs and feet
- Damage to the joints
- Knee-related issues
- Poor posture
- Varicose veins
- Circulatory and heart problems
- Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
- Pregnancy complications
- Knee and hip arthritis
- Blood pressure that is too high
- Plantar fasciitis
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the negative effects that being on your feet all day can have on your body. Let’s look at some suggestions here:
Think about your footwear choices
Wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes is one of the most important things someone can do for good foot health. If you are on your feet a lot, it is even more important. High heels, flip-flops, and unsupportive flat shoes, such as ballet shoes, can cause you a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Generally, it’s best not to wear shoes that push your toes forward and move your center of gravity. Also, avoid getting hot, sweaty feet by choosing shoes made of leather or rubber with sufficient ventilation.
Make sure they have a good grip too and provide complete arch and heel support. If you want a little more padding and cushioning, insoles are a good option.
Stand up properly
It is tempting to slouch and sag when your back starts to hurt after a long day of standing. But, bad posture can just worsen back, neck, and shoulder pain.
Our society has moved to a hunched posture, with our heads protruding above our necks, because we’re looking down at our phones so much. This propels our weight forward, increasing the strain on our foot’s arch.
As a result, the muscles that support this section of the foot have to work even harder, putting pressure on them. To help regain good posture, hold your ears over your elbows and your shoulders over your hips while standing.
When you are able to sit down, flex your feet into your shins. That reinforces the muscles in the front of your lower leg that supports the arch of your foot.
Consider wearing compression socks
When you stand all day, your blood circulation system works extra hard to bring blood from the lower parts of your body back to your heart. Varicose veins are caused by blood and fluid leakage from the arteries into the surrounding tissues.
These purple-blue veins are not only unsightly, but they can also cause discomfort and swelling. Thankfully, compression socks can help promote improved blood circulation.
They may not be the most glamorous hosiery on the market, but they can make a significant difference! These are very snug and elasticated, and they operate by applying pressure to your ankles and legs.
This may seem counterintuitive, but it helps veins function properly by compressing the arteries and veins at the surface of the skin. It is also crucial to make sure they are not too restrictive because you don’t want to cut off circulation to your feet.
Soak it up after working on your feet all day
Obviously, you will not be able to do this at work, so it will be something to look forward to when you get home. Fill a large container halfway with warm (but not boiling) water, and add Epsom salts and any essential oils.
Soak for 20-30 minutes. Then, thoroughly dry and moisturize the skin.
Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate compound that helps remove toxins and other substances from the body that cause inflammation and pain. Magnesium and sulfate join the bloodstream, increasing the amount of magnesium required for muscle function and energy production in your body.
Cool it down
While some people prefer heat when they are tired and achy, others prefer something cool to refresh their legs and feet.
That’s especially true in the warmer months. Resting your feet in a bowl or bath full of cool water can be incredibly refreshing, or use body ice packs on your ankles and feet during breaks.
Standing in one place for long periods of time can cause stiffness and pain in muscles. So, try to stretch, relax, and lengthen any tense muscles on a regular basis.
You might do calf raises, for example. To do a calf raise, start with your tummy muscles pulled in and stand on the edge of a step or platform. Next, secure the balls of your feet on the step, and let your heels hang over the edge.
As you stand on your tiptoes, raise your heels a few centimeters above the step and stay for a second before dropping your heels to the same level as the platform. Repeat a few times.
Another one to try is the runner’s stretch. That involves facing a wall and placing your hands against it while extending one leg behind you. Push the heel as far as it will go to the floor and hold for a moment to feel the sensation.
You can also do figure-of-eight hip rotations to avoid constriction in your hips and stagnant blood from pooling in your lower body.
Cushioning while working on your feet all-day
What you are in a tight space and have to stand on a hard surface for work? Consider asking your supervisor for a rubber pad or a mat to cover the floor. This object will cushion the area you are standing on, reducing the effect of the hard surface on your legs and feet.
If you are dehydrated, you can be more prone to foot and leg cramps, which can be incredibly painful. To prevent this discomfort, aim to drink around 8-10 liters of water a day. A bonus of drinking enough water is that you’re less likely to get headaches too.
4 thoughts on “Work on your feet all day? Look after yourself with these tips”
It has been many years since I was up on my feet when I worked as a nurse. Your tips are all excellent. Good supportive shoes are the best place to start.
Thank you for your service as a nurse, Peggy!
Great ideas, Christy!
My man K wears compression tights when we dance. He says they really help. Without them he can suffer from cramp. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.
Compression tights help so many! I’m glad they have been good for him :)