If you work in a profession like medicine, customer service, or the hospitality industry. Where you spend the better part of the day on your feet, discomfort and soreness in your feet and ankles are likely to be a regular thing for you.
Why? Because when we walk or stand, the feet absorb our entire body weight, which places constant pressure on them. Over time this can lead to severe issues with the feet and ankles – because they can only withstand so much.
After a while, your feet begin to complain about the strain, and the painful signs and symptoms of this repeated stress become more difficult to ignore.
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What Are The Most Common Work-Related Foot Problems?
When you stand all day, you get pain in the feet because the human body isn’t designed to stand for long periods. When we do, muscle fatigue tends to cause us to distribute our body weight unevenly.
When we stand for long periods, we favor the sole and heel of the feet, which leads to unequal weight distribution between our two feet. Apart from the discomfort, this unfavorable distribution of weight, discomfort, and pain also impacts our overall efficiency and can hamper work performance.
Science confirms that when volunteers are given creative problem-solving tasks, those who stand for longer have the poorest results.
If you stand for excessively long periods, you’re also more prone to suffering from varicose veins.
Varicose veins are veins that bulge and enlarge due to circulation occurring in opposite directions. Studies indicate that people who work in professions that require you to remain on your feet all day are more likely to develop them.
While it’s true that varicose veins don’t look good, the more pressing issue is that they can also pose more serious health issues.
These health issues are due to the discomfort and circulation problems they can cause in the feet and lower legs. Sometimes, severe cases may also require surgery to fix the problem.
Another common medical issue that can affect you when you stand all day is plantar fasciitis, which causes pain in the feet. With this condition, inflammation begins at the heel and travels to the toes. Its main symptom is pain in the heels.
Again, studies show that plantar fasciitis is more common when you stand for extended periods and put constant pressure on your feet.
Research also shows that when you work and remain on your feet for hours, it causes pain and discomfort in the feet, along with muscle fatigue even as little as half an hour or continuous standing on the feet can lead to discomfort, pain, and fatigue in the lower parts of the leg.
Sitting vs. Standing: What’s The Difference?
While standing at work for extended periods has risks, so does sitting for long hours.
Like those who stand, employees who remain sedentary at workstations also suffer from various medical conditions.
But unlike those who stand all day and suffer foot and ankle problems, those who sit tend to suffer from obesity, high blood pressure and raised blood sugar levels. Sitting for extended periods can also create the perfect storm for neck and back problems, among many other ailments.
We also know that a sedentary lifestyle can directly impact your mental health and well-being.
For example, those who sit for more than 6 hours a day are at higher risk of suffering from anxiety and depression. So, it's critical to strike the right balance between sitting and standing in the workplace.
The key to mental and physical health (whether sitting or standing) is moving and changing position. Either getting up and taking a walk outside or sitting and taking the weight off your hard-working feet for a while.
Some employers are reluctant to introduce a 2-hour maximum limit of standing. But those who do, report positive results on the health and well-being of their employees and a reduction in sick days.
How To Relieve Foot Pain From Standing For A Long Time
If you can't alternate between sitting and standing at work, there are some alternative ways to treat and prevent foot pain when you stand all day. They include:
One of the best ways to prevent painful feet is to strengthen the foot and leg muscles through stretching exercises. Patients with plantar fasciitis and other painful foot conditions benefit from stretching and strengthening exercises and experience much less pain than those who don’t exercise.
In addition, many kinds of sporting activities – or plain old walking or hiking - can strengthen the muscles in your feet and legs. Plus, getting a foot massage after a long and tiring day can relieve painful feet by helping to relax the muscles in the feet and legs.
After a tiring day at work, if you have foot pain, one of the best ways to relieve it is by soaking the feet in warm water with Epsom salt. When Epsom salt is dissolved in water, it becomes sulfate and magnesium and is naturally anti-inflammatory. As a result, it helps to relieve pain.
Fill up a tub with warm water and add a cup of Epsom salt to the water. Soak the feet for 15-25 minutes in this solution, and the salt and the warm water will relieve soreness and pain.
Maintain The Correct Posture
Whether standing or sitting, maintaining the proper posture is essential to prevent several ailments that affect the feet and ankles, including pain in the soles of the feet.
When you have a poor posture, it may damage various muscles and ligaments in the body. This damage can then cause pain to transfer to the lower back and feet.
If you need to stand long hours at work, try the following:
Wear Compression Stockings
One of the most effective ways to relieve foot pain is using compression socks or stockings. These tight-fitting socks help blood circulation to flow back to the heart from the lower legs, which reduces inflammation and swelling in the feet.
If you have very painful feet, you can look for graduated compression socks that apply more significant pressure on the lower leg.
Add Insoles To Footwear
Wearing insoles within your footwear is proven effective in relieving pain in the feet and lower legs. One of the ways they benefit is that they help in the equitable distribution of body weight on the feet.
Wearing shoes without insoles has the opposite effect, as the weight distribution is imbalanced. Therefore, adding insoles to your footwear improves weight distribution and reduces pain and fatigue from standing for long periods.
For severe foot pain, you can consult a doctor – although they are likely just to prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and “rest” for pain in the feet, which isn't practical if you work and stand on your feet all day at work.
Plus, it is ill-advised to take pain medication for extended periods due to the adverse side effects. Instead, you should consult a physical therapist to find and treat the root cause of your foot or ankle pain.
How To End Foot Pain Without Taking Pills
If you want to improve your performance at work and get rid of your foot pain once and for all – without surgery, pain pills, or repeated doctor's appointments. Instead, you need a Physical Therapist to identify and treat the underlying cause.
We get it. It's easy to ignore foot pain – especially if your work requires you to stand on your feet all day. It feels like something you just have to endure and find a way to minimize. Wrong. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t have to put up with it. Plus, if you ignore it for too long, you may end up wishing you hadn’t when the only option left to fix the issue is dangerous surgery.
If that sounds like you, at Cardin & Miller, we help you find and fix the cause and teach you how to avoid foot pain in the future.
So, if you're ready to get out of pain, start now by booking a Free Screen with one of our foot specialists to discuss your issues and learn more about how we can help.
We love to help people to get to the life they deserve – without pain or discomfort and without popping pills. So let us help do the same for you.