Quite a few jobs require you to be on your feet all day. Cashiers, flight attendants, nurses, restaurant workers and retail salespeople—to name just a few—must spend long hours on their feet with little time for a break. This can cause a range of problems, including low back pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, sore feet, swollen ankles and bunions. Following are a few tips to help keep you comfortable while you are on your feet.
Wear good, sturdy shoes – Not every profession allows for comfy athletic shoes to be worn, but you can still buy shoes that look professional, are sturdy and fit well. Avoid shoes that have narrow toes and high heels. A one- or two-inch heel should be the maximum. Some shoe companies specialize in shoes made for comfort that absorb shock and provide adequate arch support. Your shoes should be neither too large nor too small for your feet, but err on the side of slightly larger if you are in doubt, since feet tend to swell the longer you stand. You should also change the shoes you wear every other day so pressure is put on slightly different areas of your feet each day.
Consider using insoles, arch supports or special orthotics – Figure these into the size of the shoes you buy. In fact, take your insoles or orthotics with you when shopping for shoes to be sure the shoes fit well with them inserted. A properly supported foot will help correct problems such as overpronation (the foot rolling inwards) or flat feet (lack of sufficient arches) that contribute to pain in the feet, knees, hips and lower back.
Choose your socks carefully – Choose socks that will wick moisture from your feet. You can also find socks that are specifically made to reduce friction, with extra cushioning at the heel and ball of the foot. If you can, wear compression socks that go all the way to the knee. The light compression these socks provide can help reduce swelling in your lower legs.
Soften the floor surface if possible – If you tend to stand in a fixed spot every day, bring in a small carpet or padded mat to stand on. Any kind of softer surface you can put between your feet and concrete floors will help to reduce the impact on your feet.
Do simple leg exercises – From time to time, rise up and down on the balls of your feet to help increase the circulation in your lower legs. Another good move is to stretch your calf muscles. Lunge forward with one leg while keeping the heel of the other flat on the floor. This will help keep your calf muscles from becoming too tight, which increases your risk of plantar fasciitis.