Your feet provide a solid foundation for the rest of your body, and under normal circumstances, they do a stellar job. But after a while, they reach a breaking point.
We mean that literally, because overuse can easily lead to stress fractures or things like sprains, achilles pain, or plantar fasciitis. At Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists in Dunedin, Florida, Dr. Maurice W. Aiken and our team see the consequences of overworked feet every day.
Fortunately, you can avoid breaking your feet by learning techniques for giving them a break.
Here’s some insight on what happens to your feet when you ask too much of them, plus some practical tips that could save you from debilitating pain and foot injuries.
The perils of standing all day
Whether you’re a teacher or bank teller, or have any other job or hobby that has you standing all day, your feet take the brunt of it. And if you’re overweight or obese, the added pounds exacerbate the problem.
Studies show that being on your feet for five or more hours a day increases your risk for fatigue, leg cramps, and back pain.
Your feet also become swollen, which alters the way your shoes fit and feel. You develop new areas of increased friction, and you may even change your gait to accommodate your puffy, sore feet, which has consequences for your feet and your entire body.
Here’s just a partial list of the possible problems your feet may experience when you stand all day:
- Plantar fasciitis: inflammation of the long tendon on the bottom of your foot
- Achilles tendonitis: inflammation of the tendon that connects your heel to your calf
- Stress fractures: broken bones that result from repeated stress and pressure
- Sprains and strains: the result of weakened and overused muscles and ligaments
- Bunions: bony deformities at the base of your big toe joint
- Bunionette: also called a tailor’s bunion; it forms at the base of your little toe
- Calluses and corns: a buildup of thickened skin
How to give your feet a break
If your job requires you to be on your feet for several hours a day, you can give your feet the advantage of these stress-relieving, pain-preventing tips:
- Do some deep knee bends or lunges
- When you take a break, have a seat
- Shift your weight often
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes or custom-made orthotics (we can help with both)
- Wear compression socks to help with circulation
- Stand on a cushioned mat
- Stretch your calves and hamstrings, and flex your feet
Practicing these simple steps can make a big difference while you’re on the job.
How to treat your feet
After a long day of standing, your feet are likely swollen and tired. That’s why it’s important to take extra care of them when you get home. Here are some foot-soothing tricks to try:
- Soak them in a warm bath with Epsom salts
- Roll them over a tennis ball
- Have someone massage your feet
- Cool them down with a bag of ice
If your feet are painful, you can also reduce swelling and discomfort with ibuprofen. But if the pain is severe, it’s time to come see Dr. Aiken. Persistent pain, tingling and numbness, slow-healing wounds, and not being able to walk are all signs of foot injuries that need medical attention.
Depending on the nature of the injury, Dr. Aiken may recommend Erchonia® cold laser therapy, physical therapy, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, amnio Fluid Flow™, platelet-rich plasma, stem cell therapy, or casting.
If you treat your feet right, they should do all you ask of them. But when they give in or give out, come to us for expert treatment that’ll have you back on your feet in no time. Call us for an appointment at 727-285-9686 or request an appointment online.