Our feet do the grunt work by supporting our entire bodies every day. They carry us from place to place, from infancy through adulthood, covering upwards of 100,000 miles in our lifetime (Moonwalkers.com). During a normal work day, depending upon the work you perform, the average steps you take can be as little as 6,600 and as high as 22,800. An office worker averages 7,500 steps per day while a waiter / waitress tops the list at nearly 23,000. Nurses, retail workers, farmers, teachers and Tradespeople are all well over 10,000 steps per day, reflecting the need to make sure our feet are well taken care of (Healthline.com-Average Steps by Occupation). Our feet are the very foundation for our bodies but are typically ignored until there’s a problem. Once there’s a problem, it can affect our entire body’s overall health. Since our feet work so hard for us, why don’t we take care of them before any problems begin? Let’s go over some ways we can care for our feet and keep them healthy as they carry us through both our workday and life
Take the Time to Evaluate Your Footwear
Wearing shoes with little to no arch support can wreak havoc on your body. Not only does a good supportive shoe provide a steady foundation and balance, but it also contributes to your overall activity level. Your arch comes under the most strain as you stand and walk. Without support, you may experience back pain, foot pain, and even headaches or stomach aches.
Your shoes need to match the demands of your work, but they also need to match the individual biomechanics of your feet and gait. Understanding the needs of your foot mechanics first will help you select footwear that works well for your feet and your work.
If you are in a work environment that that requires you to be on your feet most of the day such as construction, delivery personnel, beautician or manufacturing shop floor, it is imperative to maintain proper arch support as well as maintaining overall foot comfort. Without proper arch support, you could ultimately be causing improper balance on your lower extremities leading to lower back pain and sore & fatigued legs and feet (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety).
Even in a corporate setting, it can be challenging to find proper footwear when you work at a desk. Slip on shoes and moccasins provide the least amount of support. If you can wear a shoe with laces at work, choose one with multiple eyelets. The more a shoe has, the more it can conform to the shape of your foot, providing the best support.
Consider Using Footwear’s Little Helper (shoe inserts)
The mechanics of your feet may warrant the need for additional support. This may come in the form of over-the-counter arch supports or custom foot orthotics depending on your needs. Purchasing a good shoe insert is imperative to make even the least supportive shoes more foot health-friendly.
If you stand for longer than 5 hours a day at your job, you should especially consider orthotic inserts (Commercial Construction Mag). By standing that amount of time, it places greater strain on your feet and can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury to the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad ligament on the base of your foot which extends from your heel to the base of your toes.
The Wonders of Compression Socks
When you stand for long periods of time, blood pools in your feet and ankles. This causes them to swell and become uncomfortable. Compression socks are designed to help push blood up the legs, towards the heart and back into circulation. This helps increase the efficiency of blood circulation in your feet and legs.
Alternate Your Footwear
Over time, our shoes lose their ability to absorb shock as well as they once did when they were new. This means that our feet and joints must instead take on the extra shock that our new shoes used to provide.
If possible, avoid wearing the same pair of shoes to work each day. By alternating footwear every day, you will increase the amount of cushioning recovery in the midsoles of your shoes and lengthen their overall lifespan.
Practice Stretches Throughout The Day
Use a massage ball to perform performing foot and leg stretches throughout the day. They are great for massaging the tissue in your feet throughout the day, which can help reduce fatigue and promotes circulation (Natural Footgear).
Simply roll the ball under your feet back and forth along the arches. This will help to alleviate tension in the muscles and fascia. You can use your coffee breaks and lunch breaks to stretch your feet and calves.
There are plenty of lotions and creams out there that are touted as the best for your feet. Any of them will do. The real trick to moisturizing your feet is to make sure you are first exfoliating. Get rid of any dead skin cells so that your dry feet will be ready to receive new moisture.
You can use a simple washcloth after soaking your feet, or a loofah or pumice stone for those extra dry, callused areas. Adding some Epsom salt to your bath can help soften the skin on your feet, making it easier to remove any dead skin.
Follow your exfoliation with a lotion or petroleum jelly to seal in moisture. Most of all, be consistent. Your feet crave moisture daily. Make sure your body is also hydrated from the inside by drinking plenty of water and eating a diet rich in Omega fatty acids.