If your job demands that you spend hours upon hours on your feet, chances are that you are more familiar with common foot problems such as swollen feet, blisters and shin splints, more than you would probably like.
And it’s not just people who are on their feet all day long that are prone to foot pain. How often have you wiggled your way into a pair of shoes that were just a tad too small for you? Or forced your poor little toes into your favorite strappy heels and put on a brave face dancing around the club until your arches felt like they were never going to recover?
Here is the thing; foot pain is extremely common. Research by the American Podiatric Medical Association states that at least 77% of people have had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing foot pain at least once in their lives. Human feet are very complex: the bones, tendons, and ligaments are what gets us moving.
Because the foot is so complex, the causes of foot pain run the gamut from inflammation and injury to structural problems and maladaptations. Not all foot pain ends up being serious, but aches should never be ignored. If you do notice any pain, there are some things that you can do to prevent them from hurting all the time. Here are some great tips to help you deal with foot pain:
Stop wearing high heels
Most women wear high heels, and they hurt. High heels force your feet into an unnaturally extended position, which causes pain, not just in the feet but the lower back as well. But who cares, right? Despite them causing extreme pain, almost 78% of women wear heels daily. Heels are perceived by most to be worth the pain because they help you look leaner and taller, all while making your feet appear smaller.
And most women wear heels when going out, which is when the most foot and ankle sprains are experienced. Go figure; alcohol and high heels do not a good mix make. Women who get used to wearing heels all the time almost never recover from foot pain.
Even when they go back to wearing flat shoes, their claves hurt when they do; the years of constantly wearing heels have done so much damage to the muscles and tendons that the only thing they can do is manage the pain.
If you absolutely think that giving up your heels is madness, podiatrists suggest going for thicker heels such as wedges as they help your stability or any heels that are 4cm and below. Wearing memory foam insoles can also help to greatly reduce the pressure on one’s knees (very well researched buyers’ guide here).
Always wear the right shoes if you are on your feet all day
Sometimes our feet hurt because of the nature of our jobs. If you are going to be on your feet for the majority of your workday, then you need to find the right shoes for the job. A lot of individuals make the mistake of picking shoes that look stylish and fashionable but are completely unsuitable for their job, often siding with form over function.
Whether you work as a server, runner, construction worker, retail worker, cashier or mum, spending a great deal of time on your feet can take a toll. Your shoes may not be offering you the right arch support or comfort, causing aches and pains after the end of a long day.
Getting a pair of shoes that offer you arch support can reduce any pain and swelling as well as any weakness you experience in your feet. The clear jelly shoes that you are wearing have to be the right fit. Too small and they will cut off circulation or cause you to develop blisters; too big and they will be an uncomfortable tripping hazard.
Consider adding stretches to your routine
After you are done for the day, try and do a few simple stretched to improve circulation as well as relax any tense tendons and muscles. Stretches can also be done at the start of the day especially if you know that you are starting a job that requires you to stand for long hours.
Great exercises and stretches to do are leg stretches and calf raises, which all help to strengthen your lower limbs. Heel raises and squats are also great additions for your workout routine. Weights, Pilates or even increased walking can help you slowly build up your endurance so that you can be able to get through those important tasks of the day.
Do something about it
If you have tried everything under the sun to relieve foot pain to no avail, then it may be time to consider seeing a foot specialist. If your problems persist, it is vital to seek treatment sooner rather than later, particularly if you are experiencing any pain walking or standing. Most people tend to overlook foot pain because it is the part of the body situated farthest from the head.
If you do not know what is causing your foot pain, seeing a professional like an osteopath, physical therapy expert, chiropractor or podiatrist can help you to pinpoint the root of the problem.
Get a foot massage
Get a foot massage or massage your own feet to improve circulation as well as reduce any soreness and swelling that you may be experiencing. If you are massaging your feet yourself, make sure that you are seated comfortably before proceeding to rub and knead the bottom of your feet.
Don’t forget to pull apart and bend your toes because these small areas often go overlooked. Products such as foot rollers can also help you tackle any aches and pains. For the best results, use lotion or oil to lubricate the skin.
When feet ache, most people tend to write off the pain as a side effect of the demands of the job or yesterday’s HIIT workout. Although not all foot pain warrants a visit to your doctor, aches should always be taken seriously.
It is important that you pay attention to your body and figure out what feels normal and what doesn’t. As soon as you notice something is amiss, ensure that you pay your podiatrist a visit. Until then, these tips should help you manage your situation.