Feet at Work: Standing All Day

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Work and your feetYour feet work hard, day in and day out. They have to balance and support your weight as well as push off the ground for you to move. While your feet are usually pretty good at their job, they can wear out, especially if they must sustain you for many hours without breaks. This can be a problem for your feet at work.

Up and Working

Many professions require you to spend hours standing or walking. Cashiers, factory line workers, security guards, waiters, cooks, sales people, construction workers, and nurses are among those who are on their feet at work. Over time, the constant pressure can wear down your lower limbs and cause a variety of uncomfortable overuse injuries. The hard surfaces most people are forced to work on don’t help, either. Most work places have concrete floors or other similarly hard surfaces. These floors do not “give” underneath the feet to help absorb shock and pressure.

Long hours standing can cause aches in every part of the foot, from the heel to the forefoot. Frequently the lower limbs swell as well. Tingling, numbness, burning, and throbbing are all common complaints after spending all day standing. Also, the painful problems aren’t limited to your feet. The more worn out your limbs become, the more likely you’ll develop discomfort in your knees and back.

Reducing the Pressure

To take care of your feet at work, you need to invest in good shoes and extra protection from the floors. You also need to investigate persistent pain and treat any conditions that may have developed as a result of standing for long hours. If you spend a lot of time standing in a single area, you should use padded floor mats to add a layer of protection for your lower limbs. Unfortunately mats can’t travel with you, so if you walk around for your job you’ll need mobile padding. Shoes with thick, cushioned soles should help. You may still need an extra insole or padded orthotic, however. Don’t underestimate the importance of good socks, too. The right hosiery adds a bit of extra protection and helps wick moisture away from your skin.

While you’re at work, try different techniques to relieve some of the pressure on your lower limbs for a little while. If you stand still, try to shift weight back and forth between your feet to allow each limb a brief break. Lift that foot off the ground slightly and do some ankle rotations to work other muscles and relieve some tension. If you walk at work, make time for short breaks to sit down and lift your feet off the ground. You should also stretch your feet regularly, especially at home when you’re able to rest. Runner’s stretches, plantar stretches, and picking up objects with the toes helps relax the sore tissues and conditions them to better handle the strain of the day. Massaging and icing your feet may also help.

Sometimes overuse conditions like plantar fasciitis develop. You need to address that discomfort in order to obtain some relief. Dr. Robert Parker will evaluate any potential issues and recommend conservative measures for recovery. This may involve orthotics, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications to eliminate the problem. Weight also plays a significant role in the pressure on your lower limbs. Unfortunately, being overweight increases the strain your feet must handle. Losing weight can help reduce the stress and relieve discomfort.

If you’re struggling with painful feet at work, know that you don’t have to endure this discomfort. Standing all day on the job strains the lower limbs and wears them down, but you can take steps to protect your body from the pain. Don’t let your job ruin your lower limbs. Contact Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston for more information or an appointment by calling (281) 497-2850 or using the website’s contact form