Your feet are one of the most neglected parts of the body. Many of us stay on our feet all day, every day at work, with very few taking the time to appreciate and care for the same. Staying on your feet all day can have a significant impact on your legs and back. A survey conducted in 2014 by the American Podiatric Medical Association on 1000 Adults revealed that more than half of the participants lived with or had foot pains. This is the same story in the United Kingdom. Unknown to many, most forms of foot discomfort and aches can be prevented by simply following a daily foot care routine and wearing the right shoe for the job.
Whatever your profession is, a cook, teacher, supermarket attendant, or doctor, taking just a few minutes of your time to care for your legs and feet can go a long way in protecting/improving your overall health. Here is a guide from the Orthotic Shop on how to care for your feet.
1. Always Wear The Right Shoe
Wearing the right shoe can protect you from years of excruciating foot and back pains. Although many consider flat shoes to be the ideal and safest choice, this isn’t always the case, especially if you have to stay on your feet for hours. Studies and research conducted by the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc, Canada, show that ¼ inch elevation (and less than 2 inches) is ideal for better foot health.
The Orthotic Shop state any shoe with adequate arch support is recommended, as this helps reduce sores and weak feet. You can also invest in arch support insoles to improve support for your shoes as well. These are readily available in most athletic and drugstores.
2. Only Wear Fitting Shoes
Never go for shoes that feel uncomfortable or too small, the Orthotic Shop advise. While they may fit, small shows will be too restrictive, preventing normal blood flow to the feet and toes, and increases the risk of getting blisters at the end of the day. For this reason, it would be best to buy the right-sized shoes for your feet for improved comfort.
Johanna Youner, a certified foot podiatrist and surgeon in New York City, recommends buying shows later in the day. According to her, your feet will be naturally larger during that time of the day, increasing the chances of getting the right fit. She also recommends buying slightly larger shoes if looking to fit custom orthotics or arch supports.
3. Stretch Whenever Possible
Your muscles may stiffen and even ache if you stay on your feet all day. Taking on stretching exercises to keep toe and feet muscles toned can, however, improve blood flow. The increased blood flow means no more blood pooling and relaxed muscles. Stretching is also a great way to relieve feet pain during pregnancy. Here are a few tips and steps from the Orthotic Shop to do this:
- With your abdominal muscles pulled in, stand at the edge of a platform
- Secure your feet firmly on the platform with your heels hanging at the edge
- Try to stand on your toes by raising your heels high above the platform
- Lower yourself such that your heel is at the same level as the platform
- Repeat this at least ten times
You can also try;
– Place your hands against the wall
– Put one leg just behind your body, then push your heel against the floor
– Hold the position for a moment before switching to the other leg
– Repeat the process at least three times.
Caring for your feet at home
Take a few minutes of your time to care for your feet while at home too. This will help soothe the muscles, preparing you for the next day. Some of the best ways to care for your feet at home include:
1. Ice Your Feet
Icing your feet for 20 minutes can help fight inflammation and swelling commonly caused by standing for long periods. All you need to do is fill a bucket with water and ice, then immerse your feet. The cold-water triggers increased blood flow to the feet and promotes healing. According to Lucille B. Andersen, an ankle Surgeon in Pleasanton, California, our feet are subjected to micro-damage with each step we take or minute we stand. Icy water, however, enables the body to self-repair and heal quickly.
2. Get A Foot Massage
According to Youner, a foot massage is highly effective in treating and preventing foot pains. Ask a friend or partner to gently massage your feet for a few minutes to release the tension. Rolling your feet over a baseball or tennis ball from heel to toe can do the trick too. Make a habit of doing so at least once daily for the best results.
3. Keep Your Feet Elevated
Most people want to keep their feet up on a table or ottoman after getting home, and for a good reason. Elevating your feet helps reduce swelling in your feet by enabling body fluids to flow to other parts of the body.