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Working on your feet all day can do a number on your feet, legs, and back. According to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, each year 2 million sick days are lost due to lower limb disorders. Many of these sick days could be prevented by wearing the right shoe for the job and following a daily foot care routine.
Whether you’re cooking on a restaurant line, cutting hair in a salon, teaching in a classroom, or folding T-shirts at a clothing store, making an extra effort to take good care of your feet and legs can go a long way toward staying healthy and happy.
Flat sole shoes may seem like the obvious choice if you work on your feet, but these shoes aren’t recommended for prolonged standing. According to the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc., your heel should be elevated by at least 1/4 inch.
Work shoes should also provide good arch support. This helps reduce weakness and soreness in the legs and feet. You can purchase arch support insoles from a drug store or an athletic store if your shoes don’t provide enough support.
Many people wear shoes that are too small. This cuts off circulation to your feet, increases your chances of blisters, and makes walking or standing uncomfortable, if not unbearable. Getting your feet properly sized can help you make better decisions when it comes to purchasing shoes and reducing discomfort.
Johanna Youner, D.P.M., a board-certified foot surgeon and podiatrist in New York City, suggests being fitted for your shoes later in the day. “Your feet are naturally larger at the end of the day,” she says. “And for some, buying shoes a half size larger to fit arch supports or custom orthotics will be tremendously helpful.”
Muscles can become stiff and painful as you stand or walk all day. Stop every hour or so to stretch, relax, and lengthen tightened muscles.
When you’re in the comfort of home, you can help your feet recover from the day and prepare for tomorrow. Try one of these treatments.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if the pain continues, gets worse, or you begin to notice increasing symptoms like numbness, stinging, or tingling in your feet and toes. “Pain is a sign that something is wrong,” Youner says. “Do not walk through pain.”
You may have a condition like spurs or plantar fasciitis. Fallen arches can contribute to your foot pain.
Written by: Kimberly Holland and Valencia Higuera
Published on: Sep 16, 2014
Medically reviewed on: Jan 10, 2017: Deborah Weatherspoon, PhD, RN, CRNA, COI
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