The effects of standing all day can show up almost right away and prolonged standing or walking can often accelerate health problems. Standing all day on your feet either for work or pleasure can result in a host of foot and body ailments including, varicose veins, plantar fasciitis and low back pain. Follow these simple guidelines to give yourself a healthy chance of avoiding health problems.
- Wear the right shoe
Flat sole shoes may seem like the obvious choice if you work on your feet, but these shoes aren’t recommended for prolonged standing. Your heel should be elevated by at least ¼-inch and should be less than 2 inches according to health and occupational studies.
Work shoes should also provide good arch support. This helps reduce weakness and soreness in the legs and feet. If your shoes don’t provide enough support, you can purchase arch support insoles. See
- Make sure your footwear fits correctly
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.”
- Stretch when you can
Muscles can become stiff and painful without movement. Stop every hour or so to stretch, relax, and lengthen tightened muscles.
Calf raises help pump blood out of the foot (where it has pooled while you were standing) and back to the body.
- Stand on the edge of a step or platform, with your abdominal muscles pulled in.
- Secure the balls of your feet on the step with your heels hanging over the edge.
- Raise your heels a few inches above the step as you stand on your tiptoes, and hold for a second.
- Lower your heels back to even with the platform. Repeat 10 times.
- Face a wall and place your hands against it.
- Extend one leg behind your body.
- Push your heel to the floor as far as it will go.
- Hold for a moment to feel the stretch and then switch sides..
- Take care of your feet at home
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:
- Ice your feet
Immersing your foot — as long as you don’t have vascular problems — in a bucket with water and ice for 20 minutes works to combat the swelling and inflammation that prolonged standing creates in the foot,” says Lucille B. Andersen, M.D., a foot and ankle surgeon in Pleasanton, California. “Each step we take or minute we stand, we are creating micro-damage that the body has to heal. Using ice is an easy, effective way to help the body heal faster.”
- Massage your feet
Take off your shoes and socks, let your feet breathe, and massage them with your hands to loosen the muscle and joints. Visually check your feet for problems.
- Elevate your feet
Propping your feet above the rest of your body will help decrease the day’s swelling. You can place them against a wall or on a stack of pillows.
- Pay attention to posture
Good posture will help you feel better and avoid injury in general. Remember to keep your back straight and your head up so your shoulders are not slouched. Also try to always walk from heel to toe and without plunking down your feet.
See your podiatrist if the pain persists
Make an appointment to see your doctor if the pain continues, gets worse, or you begin to notice increasing symptoms such as numbness, stinging, or tingling in your feet and toes.
More Tips To Prevent Standing-Related Foot Stress
You can reduce the risks associated with prolonged standing – especially those suffering from chronic tired feet and stiff leg muscles. Below are simple actions you can take to get you through your day while avoiding…or at least reducing health hazards.
- Alternate standing with sitting: Find the time to sit if you are standing for long periods of time.
- If you’re pregnant, try to put your feet up at work and rest with your feet higher than your head.
- Change positions frequently: Try walking around, stretching and standing in different positions to move your weight around.
- Utilize insoles or orthotics: Insoles help to improve posture, relieve joint stress, support ligaments, treat overpronation, increase comfort while walking and can help to reduce other foot conditions such as heel (plantar fasciitis.)
- Lower your shoe heel and spare your toes: Keep the high heels and pointy toes for parties and special events. Lack of space for toes reduces circulation and encourages a range of problems from cramping of feet; heels push the toes deeper into the end of the shoe.
- Cover hard floors: If you are confined to a certain space and it has a hard floor covering, use a rubber mat or rug to cushion the area that you are standing on.
- Compression hose and socks: Compression socks are well known among people suffering from leg or foot problems but they have benefits that many people, including active individuals and those who stand on their feet all day.