Day after day on your feet can lead to aching, tired feet, varicose veins, and pain in your legs, knees, hips, lower back, shoulders and neck. It’s time to take a stand on keeping your feet healthy and preventing painful, progressive problems. The first steps are yours—wear the right shoes and make pampering your feet a priority.
Shoe Shopping Secrets
Adjust. Look for shoes that are adjustable, with hook-and-loop closures, laces or buckles you can loosen.
Choose shoes that look like your feet. Your foot is not pointed so neither should your shoes be—your shoes should have the same shape as your feet. The shoe should also be wide where your foot is wide. The heel and sole should be rigid and supportive. It’s simple: your shoes should not change the shape of your foot, instead they should support your foot structure.
Arrive padded. Cushioned socks are a working woman’s best friend. They protect your heels and shield sweat from mixing with bacteria—the recipe for stinky shoes. If you have circulation problems, you may need a sock with support.
Add more padding. When you work on hard floors, you’ll want to have shock-absorbing insoles and good arch support.
Look for new insoles when you buy new shoes and try them on together. Pick ones that sit closely against your foot—ideally, contoured and made from EVA.
Find a heel height that’s just right. You don’t want a heel that’s too high or too flat. A shoe with a wide base directly under your heel can be the most comfortable and supportive.
Buy more than one pair. Podiatrists discourage wearing any shoes two days in a row. Shoes need a full 24 hours to dry out—wearing damp shoes means you’re walking with bacteria and fungus that can lead to athlete’s foot and Plantar Warts.
On-the-Job Foot Survivor Skills
Before you start the workday, elevate your feet, and do some ankle rolls.
Drink water all day to help keep your feet and ankles from swelling.
If you have to stand in one place, move around every hour. While you’re standing, tap your toes, tighten and relax your calves and flex and straighten your knees and ankles.
Refresh your feet. Change your socks at least once a day. While you’re at it, go ahead and switch out your shoes every day or at least, every other day.
To transition from work to home, let your feet rest. Follow as much of this routine as you can. Remember, it’s time to take a stand about taking care of your feet.
• If your feet feel inflamed, take an anti-inflammatory like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium as appropriate.
• Elevate your feet above your heart for at least 15 minutes.
• Lay a cool, damp towel over your lower legs, ankles and feet.
• Lightly massage your feet and ankles to improve circulation.
• Soak your feet for at least 5 minutes and then gently use a pumice stone. Dry, then moisturize your feet.
• Roll your feet over a frozen bottle of water.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety:
“Foot Comfort and Safety at Work”
“Working in a Standing Position”
The College of Podiatry: “Occupational Podiatry”
SCP. Working Feet: A Practical Guide to Looking After your Feet at Work. Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists.
Scrubs: The Nurse’s Guide to Good Living: “The Nurse’s Guide to Buying Shoes.”
EHSToday: “Preventing Foot Pain in the Work Force.” http://ehstoday.com/ppe/foot-protection/ehs_imp_36713