Do you find it difficult to understand the popularity of standing desks? If so, chances are you work at a job where you have the opposite problem: too much standing. So many of us do!
Standing too long can cause all sorts of problems with the lower body, from swollen feet and ankles to foot pain and joint problems.
According to research, “Two million sick days are taken each year because of leg and foot disorders.”
How long is too long to stand? We’ve seen recommendations not to exceed 30% of the workday on our feet, yet more than half of U.S. workers stand for as much as 75% of their shifts and some even longer.
If that weren’t bad enough, we add concrete floors, lifting and questionable footwear to this recipe for pain.
Employees at risk for health problems related to prolonged standing include:
- Retail salespeople and cashiers.
- Health care workers.
- Hair stylists.
- Production line workers.
- Machine operators.
- Customer assistants in stores, libraries, banks and so on.
- Lab technicians.
- Food and bar service workers.
- Workers at entertainment venues, such as ticket takers and casino staff.
Find Your Happy Feet Place
The ideal situation to have during any given workday is a mixture of walking, standing and sitting. Take every opportunity you can to relieve the stillness of standing by pacing and perching.
If you’re really stuck standing for a while, try shifting your weight. Place one foot in front of the other and alternate the weight shift from front to back (not side to side) to maintain healthy posture and body alignment, as well as foot relief.
Add a little stepstool or other type of foot rest to the weight-shifting strategy, if you can. See if that doesn’t help your lower back, too!
In some occupations, you might be able to cross-train and trade standing tasks for sitting ones every so often.
Think also about how you might create more comfort in your work area. Anti-fatigue mats can help cushion hard flooring. So can your shoes! Outfit yourself in footwear that offers plenty of shock absorption.
Some brands you might find helpful for workplace comfort are:
- Croc’s Work line, offering flexibility and comfort in a nonslip clog that also protects from spills.
- Nurse Mates, with their extra cushioning and arch support as well as slip- and stain-resistance.
- Dansko, which offers legendary comfort and support in heels, boots, clogs, flats and more.
Wear comfortable, occupational shoes– whatever your occupation!