If you are working or if your job is to stay at home, which is a full time job in itself, then you may be standing a lot more than you think. You may have a job that requires you to stand for long periods of time, or if you are running the household, this means running errands and standing in long lines. With the way that businesses are opening, some slowly and some not back at 100%, this means long lines either in a check out line or waiting for service. Whatever your circumstance, there are things you have to keep in mind. You have to keep your feet and ankles and legs in shape in order to prevent aches and pains when standing for long periods of time.
Take Care Of Your Feet By Taking Care That You Have The Right Shoes
The first step in making sure your feet are in good shape if you have to stand for long periods of time is to make sure you have the right shoes. Make sure that your shoes fit you well. You should have them measured at least once a year, because as we grow older, our feet become larger.
Our bones no longer grow, however the ligaments that are between the bones may continue to expand. This, in turn, makes our feet appear larger and we may need a larger size. Also, as time goes on and we have different stresses on the body, both physical and sometimes due to pregnancy in women, this may affect the stretching of the ligaments and tendons. So if you were a size 9 when you were in your early 20s and now it is a few years (or decades) later, it is time to make sure you are still a size 9. Also, if you are going to get your feet measured, make sure to do it at the end of the day. Your feet look very different at the end of the day, as there may be some swelling after standing for long periods of time. So you want to make sure that your feet will feel good in shoes even at the end of the day. A comfortable shoe has a round toe box with lots of room for your toes to wiggle, and also to accommodate any bony irregularities such as a bunion or hammer toes. In addition, stay away from a pointed toe box for the same reason; you don't want your toes smashed together while your are walking.
Here is an example of a shoe with a pointed toe box - not ideal!
In addition, make sure it has a supportive sole, a nice arch, and not too high of a heel. A supportive sole will give you some cushioning when weight bearing, and you don't want a shoe that is completely flat. A flat shoe can put stress on the back of the heel and can aggravate Achilles tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendon that inserts in the back of the heel. Look for a shoe that also is made of a breathable material. Synthetic or plastic materials may not allow your skin to breath, and this can cause increase in sweating and moisture retention that can give you blisters, or even cause athlete's foot due to the increased moist environment. So the first step is to make sure you have shoes that will allow your feet to be supported.
What If My Shoes Don't Have A Good Arch Support?
If your shoes do not have arch support, or if the arch support is present but you are still feeling arch fatigue or even heel pain, then you may need orthotics. You can start with the Medical Grade Orthotics that we carry in the office, and you do not need an appointment to purchase them. They come in standard sizes.
They come in two lengths, either a 3/4 length for dress shoes or a full length for gyms shoes or walking shoes. Placing these in your shoes will give you great arch support and may alleviate your pain. However if you feel that they are not doing the trick or the arch support is just not relieving your pain, then you may need custom arch supports, or orthotics. Custom orthotics are molded to each of your feet. This procedure is done in the office, where we hold your foot in its neutral position and use a slipper cast/mold to capture the exact shape of your arch, total contact. The slipper cast/mold dries and they are sent with a written prescription specific for your foot type after a thorough evaluation from your doctor here in the office. After a few weeks, you return to the office and the orthotics are fitted to your shoes. We review a thorough break in process and discuss the warrantee, and will work with you to make sure it is as comfortable as it can be in order to support your foot and help if function biomechanically neutral. When your joints are aligned and there is no stress on your tendons, this reduces your pain. So orthotics, either Medical Grade or custom, are a great option to help you stay on your feet pain free.
Are There Certain Socks That May Be Helpful?
In general, we recommend socks that are not 100% cotton, as they keep moisture against your skin and may end up causing dermatological issue. We also do not recommend socks that are 100% nylon, as this also does not allow the skin to breath. Instead, we recommend a cotton blend with a type of material that wicks moisture away from the skin. In addition, another feature of the socks that may help is if the socks contain compression. Some patients who are on their feet for long periods of time even wear compression stockings to work. The compression promotes circulation and prevents swelling of the ankles, and prevents venous stasis progression. You may have great circulation of the arteries, the vessels that pump blood from your heart to your feet. This is different than veins, which are the blood vessels that take the deoxygenated blood from your toes and feet and move them up your legs and back to your heart. The veins have to work extra hear to counteract gravity that wants to pull the fluid down, and there are many one-way valves. Compression stockings help move the blood in the veins and improve circulation and prevent vericose veins which can range from unsightly but not painful, to very itchy and painful. So think about your choice of socks as well when you have to stand for long periods of time. However if you do have pain in your legs after standing for a set period of time, but the pain is immediately relieved by sitting, then you must see your primary care doctor to have this further worked up and have blood flow studies performed with a possible referral to a vascular specialist to make sure there are no major blockages in your lower extremity blood flow.
What If My Feet Still Hurt At The End Of The Day?
If you take all of these precautions and your feet still hurt, you can perform simple stretching exercises, range of motion exercises, and even massage the area. These simple exercises can help relieve pain. Speak to our podiatrist and she may also recommend physical therapy, or a series using our MLS laser. Our laser is non invasive, has little to no side effects, and can be used in conjunction with other treatment plans.
If you are still in pain, you must make an appointment with one of our doctors! We will help you stay on your feet, find pain relief and most importantly - stay out of pain.