Standing or walking all day can seriously affect your feet. Some discomfort and pain are common among people with jobs that require standing for long periods, such as retail or food service workers. Making an effort to care for your feet goes a long way toward staying healthy and happy.
While you should wear proper footwear to absorb some of the impact caused by standing on the feet all day, you can also prevent pain and discomfort by following a daily foot care routine.
What Happens to Your Feet When You Stand All Day
Standing all day can cause swelling, cramping, poor circulation and foot and leg pain. It can aggravate foot conditions like plantar warts, calluses, bunions and corns. Standing on your feet all day has even been linked to serious health problems, such as chronic venous insufficiency and musculoskeletal pain in the lower back and feet.
Even if you have quality shoes, the feet may still feel sore after a long day of standing or walking. Circulation in the lower body works harder to return blood to the heart caused by standing all day, which can lead to swelling and aching. To prevent some of this pain, you can:
- Wear shoes that fit properly.
- Wear the appropriate type of shoe for the activity you’re doing.
- Lose weight if recommended.
- Give yourself time to warm up and cool down when exercising.
- Use an over-the-counter shoe insert or pad that targets your particular problem.
If you work at a job that keeps you on your feet for most of the day, it’s crucial to wear proper footwear and sit down during breaks. Choosing well-cushioned and supportive walking shoes can alleviate some of the stress on your feet. Ensuring your shoes fit correctly can also prevent pain and discomfort from hour-long shifts standing on your feet each day. You should also Visit a podiatrist if you feel new or worsening pain to explore more options to alleviate symptoms.
5 Feet Care Tips
Whether you work on a restaurant line, cut hair at a salon or tend to customers at a clothing store, taking good care of your feet and legs can relieve discomfort and prevent complications.
Here’s how to make your feet feel better after being on them all day:
1. Ice Your Feet
Your feet absorb the impact of every step you take and every minute you stand. Fill a plastic bag with ice or roll your feet on a frozen water bottle to alleviate pain. Ice the affected area for up to 15 minutes a couple of times daily. The solution is an effective and easy way to provide fast relief.
Making a habit of icing your feet after standing on them all day can combat swelling and inflammation that causes soreness. Some topical medications available over the counter can also provide cooling and pain-relieving sensations. Many contain ingredients like eucalyptus, menthol and turpentine.
2. Massage and Soak
If your feet hurt after standing on them all day, try massaging and soaking them. A gentle massage on the feet and arches can help stretch tight food muscles and allow your feet to recover faster. You might opt for massage therapy to relieve fatigue or do it at work or home with a tennis ball. To massage with a tennis ball, follow these instructions:
- Remove your shoes.
- Place a tennis ball on the floor.
- Place your foot on the ball while standing straight.
- Press down and roll the ball back and forth with your foot.
You can do this stretch for 10 minutes daily to help soothe the muscles in your feet and relieve some stiffness and soreness. To soak your feet, grab a tub of hot water. Add Epsom salt and essential oils and sit back and relax. The magnesium in Epsom salt can alleviate muscle tension to provide pain relief. Essential oils like chamomile or lavender can help you relax and reduce stress.
Prop your feet above the rest of your body to reduce swelling after a long day of standing. Elevating the feet can give your lower body circulation time to rest and recover while improving blood flow. It can also reduce swelling from inflammation and lower pressure in the veins.
Move into a comfortable reclined position using a stack of pillows, or place your feet against a wall. Resting your legs on an ottoman, coffee table or couch can also help slow the force of gravity. Any method is suitable as long as your feet are off the floor and above your heart.
If your feet hurt after standing on them all day, sitting down with your legs raised can relieve the pressure and tenderness of tired feet. Keep your legs elevated for about 15 minutes, and do this several times daily for the best results.
4. Stretch and Exercise
You can do stretching anywhere at any time to prevent foot pain and injuries. You don’t need a tool for these exercises — you can do them throughout the day to relieve ankle and foot tension.
To stretch the ankles and calves, sit on the floor with your knees to your chest and ankles lifted. And to prevent or treat plantar fasciitis, a common foot condition that causes heel pain, try the following:
- Sit up straight in a comfortable chair and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Place your left foot on your right thigh.
- Pull your toes toward your ankle.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Massage the arch of your foot.
- Repeat this process 10 times on each foot.
As you do the above exercise, you should feel stretching on the bottom of your foot and heel cord. Massaging the arch of the foot as you do this exercise can ease the tension and pain caused by standing all day.
5. Change Positions
Regular exercises, work breaks and rotating activities throughout the day can also alleviate foot and ankle fatigue. Alternating between seated and standing work is ideal since the body doesn’t like to have the same posture or load continuous pressure throughout the day.
You might get your blood moving by taking routine breaks every 30 minutes, standing up, moving around to file papers or using the restroom.
See a Podiatrist for Persistent Foot Pain
While you might not be able to give up your standing job, the best remedy is to care for your feet and ankles at work and home. A foot care routine, such as icing, massaging and stretching, can help relieve foot pain at the end of your workday. However, see a podiatrist if you experience persistent or worsening foot or ankle pain. You might have a condition like bone spurs, fallen arches, early arthritis or plantar fasciitis contributing to your foot pain.
At Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates, we can diagnose and provide treatment for various foot and ankle issues. We aim to help you feel more comfortable and return to the activities you love as soon as possible.
Call us today at 360-754-3338 or fill out a contact form to speak with our team.