Foot pain from standing and walking all day can turn an otherwise enjoyable job into one you would rather avoid at all costs, but there are things you can do to stop your feet hurting at work and bring that spring back into your step.
Caring for your feet at work goes beyond making sure you have slip resistant soles or steel toe cap boots. Many workers experience problems with their feet, legs and back often due to badly fitting footwear and a lack of regular foot care regime after prolonged standing so if you can address these two areas, you are well on your way to a foot pain free working day.
These shoes were made for walking
Comfortable properly fitting footwear is essential to maintaining good foot health, many minor foot problems can be resolved with properly fitted and carefully selected shoes.
Top Tips for selecting the right shoes
- Always have both feet measured – many people have different sized feet. Even a small variation can affect how comfortable the shoes are.
- Make sure there is 1cm space between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
- When choosing shoes consider the width and depth of the shoe, not just the length. Different manufacturers provide wider and narrower shoes so it is best to try a few varying brands to get the right fit for you.
- Look at all aspects of the shoe and make sure they are all suitable:
- Upper: Should be made from a breathable fabric or leather.
- Lining: Should be made from a breathable fabric to keep the foot fresh. Linings should be seam free for maximum comfort.
- Heel: Should have a wide base and be no more than 4cm, ideally 2cm if you are wearing them for a long period of time.
- Sole: Should be strong and flexible with shock absorption to cushion your joints when you are walking on hard surfaces. Slip resistant soles are an excellent choice for safety.
A highly recommended brand of safety shoe is Scruff Switchback High Top Trainers, they are a comfortable safety trainer that are ready to wear straight out of the box without the need to break them in.
Other popular brands include DeWalt, Apache, Dickies, CAT, Amblers, Dr Marten’s, Goodyear, JCP and Timberland.
Taking a stand
Prolonged standing can be just as bad for you as poorly fitting footwear, it can damage joints, cause swelling of the legs, and result in many foot problems including bunions, corns and flat feet. Workers who spend a large amount of time of their feet are at greater risk of pain and discomfort around their feet, legs, hips and lower back.
Top Tips for looking after tired feet
Stop every hour or so to stretch (or at least as often as possible).
Calf raises help pump blood around the foot and back into the body, simply stand with your feet shoulder width apart and raise yourself up so you are on the balls of your feet. Hold for a few seconds and lower your feet back into a normal standing position, repeat this 10 times.
Runners stretch helps to stretch out tight tendons and calf muscles. Simply place one foot behind your body and push your heel to the floor, hold the position to feel the stretch and return to normal standing position before switching sides. For balance, try placing your hands against a wall. Repeat three times on each leg.
Putting your feet into a bucket of ice water for 20 minutes works to combat the swelling and inflammation that prolonged standing creates in the foot.
Rolling your foot over a tennis ball will gently massage tight muscles in the arches of your feet.
Propping your feet up above the rest of our body will help decrease swelling. Put them up against a wall or on a stack of pillows for a while to feel some relief.
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