You stand, you work. You work, you stand. And your feet hurt after work. You’re one of the lucky ones – depending on your point of view – who isn’t stuck in a chair behind a desk all day, but instead are on your feet, toiling away.
Let’s be careful here, however. While the ability to move about on the job can provide all kinds of freedom and, given recent studies detailing health issues that can arise from sitting all day, better health – there’s often nothing easy about it.
The hard floors of the office, the constant movement, or the rigor mortis (OK, maybe not that serious) that sets in after standing in the same spot for eons, can be a test of toughness. Especially for your poor feet.
But don’t get discouraged. If you’re a standing on your feet all day kind of person, there are ways you can increase your comfort for the entire eight-hour (or more) shift, as well as prevent future health issues.
Feet hurt after work? 2 essentials things first
Let’s start with the basics. If your job entails remaining upright all day, every day, then wearing a good pair of shoes is essential. Beyond essential, even.
Step One: Good Shoes
You can choose a nice flat that looks great, but leaves you in agony after a day of standing, or you can treat yourself to a pair of shoes like the Clarks Ashland Twist, which has it all when it comes to comfort, support, breathability, and even style. Or how about the classic Dr. Martens Gibson Lace-up for men? Listed here are a handful of others that can make your life easier when your standing on your feet all day.
- Alegria Professional Flats
- Crocs Tummler Work Shoe
- Rockport Men’s World Tour Classic Walking Shoe
- Timberland Women’s Pro Renova (Great for nursing work)
These are all great shoes and earn high marks in crucial categories such as slip-resistance, heel and arch support, breathability and, of course, comfort.
Step Two: Good Shoes That Fit
Sometimes it’s not the make of the shoe or its features, but how it fits. Studies have shown that many people wear shoes that are too small. Don’t be one of those people. Those too-tight shoes can hinder circulation to your feet, increase your chances of getting blisters, while making standing on your feet all day a royal pain.
Bottom line: Getting your feet properly sized is important. Very important. Even if you buy a shoe that’s a half-size larger, it can be made a good fit with arch supports or custom orthotics.
There’s much, much, much more that can be said about shoes. Just remember to follow a few rules – such as not sacrificing comfort for style – and you’ll be able to make very good choices when it comes to your footwear.
8 Ways to Be Kind to Your Feet
If you are standing on your feet all day, then you owe it to your feet to treat them well. That starts with a great part of shoes, but consider these other 8 random acts of kindness:
1. Ice Them Down
Of course, you have a million things to do once you leave work, but carve out some time to dip your feet in ice water. Twenty minutes of that will reduce the swelling and inflammation that comes with standing on your feet all day.
2. Massage Them
Use a tennis ball or baseball and roll your foot over it from heel to toe to stretch tight foot muscles. Or, apply lotion to the soles while applying gentle pressure to any sore areas. Doing so can help prevent problems with the plantar fascia, a cord-like structure that runs the length of your arch.
3. Elevate Them
Propping your feet up at the end of a long day is heaven and can help decrease swelling. Prop them so that they’re at least higher than your hips.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Socks
Socks can make a big difference in comfort. Many socks have additional padding over the balls or heels of the foot, while some support the arch with additional stretch material.
5. Do What Your Parents Told You
Don’t slouch. Not only would your mom be mad, but poor posture can put extra pressure on your feet, especially when you’re standing all day. Poor posture forces your center of gravity forward while increasing pressure on the arch of your foot and the muscles that support it.
Avoid the slouch by standing ‘tall,’ which means keeping your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips. Your feet will love you, and your parents would be so proud.
6. Get Ready Like An Athlete
Watch what good athletes do before a competition – they stretch and stretch some more. If you’re going to be standing on your feet all day, prepare in a similar way. Stretch before you start the day and at the end of the day. Additionally, while you’re at work it doesn’t hurt to give yourself a stretching or moving break every 20 to 30 minutes. Calf stretches are great, as is the common hamstring stretch. Your hamstrings can easily tighten up during a long day of standing.
7. Make Your Own Soft Spot
If your workday involves standing in the same spot for most of it, then bring in a piece of carpet, or a rug, to cover that spot. This will help lessen the strain on your feet and leg muscles. You can even slip off your shoes from time-to-time (as long as it doesn’t irritate your boss or co-workers, of course) and raise yourself up on the tiptoes and back down again. This version of the calf raise helps to pump blood out of the foot and back to the body.
8. Don’t Be A Hero
If you’re experiencing pain in your feet that won’t go away, or experience frequent symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or stinging, get an appointment with a podiatrist. Do not walk through pain.
In summary, treating your feet with extra care can help you avoid discomfort and pain, or even bigger health issues in the future. From good shoes, to home remedies such as ice, to proper stretches, there are many ways to make things easier when you’re standing on your feet all day.