I have a foot condition called plantar fasciitis, which I have mentioned before on the blog. When I stand and walk long distances the pain in my feet is sometimes unbearable. Though I am in a good period at the moment, but I dread a flare up. Sitting or standing for long periods at work can lead to various problems that may have serious effects on the overall body in the long run. Fortunately, there are several easy measures you can take to avoid problems, from having an awareness of posture to simple but effective massages.
Standing for long periods
Many working environments, from shops and factories to schools and universities, require employees to stand for long periods. The range of problems that this can lead to includes varicose veins in the legs, other circulatory issues, and problems relating to the joints. On a more immediate level, it can leave feet feeling tired, swollen and sore.
Protect your legs and feet
You can protect your feet by walking or moving around as much as possible, rather than standing still for long periods. Walking around will help to keep your circulation moving, helping to minimise pain as well as protecting against varicose veins. Even just wiggling your toes, rotating the ankles and shifting the pressure from one foot to the other can help. Another handy trick is to switch between two pairs of shoes, for example one pair with a small or medium heel and one with a flat heel, so that pressure is placed on different foot muscles. It goes without saying that both pairs of shoes need to be comfortable. Standing on softer surfaces also helps to reduce the strain on muscles. Put your feet up when you can, for example on a break or at lunch, raising them to waist level.
Give yourself a massage
A massage is one of the best ways you can help your feet when they have been subjected to standing for long periods. It’s also very easy to do yourself. Use a massage oil, cream or lotion to help soothe and relax your feet, stretching out the muscles and then pressing tender spots with your thumb. Massage can also help boost blood and lymph circulation and reduce swelling. Don’t forget about your legs – massage your calves with upwards sweeping strokes to soothe out aches and pains and encourage blood flow.
There are many different foot care options available on the market for use in massage; to give yourself a proper treat, soak your feet first in a refreshing foot soak with warm water. You could also use a pumice stone at this stage to smooth any hard patches of skin. Then use either a cream or oil to massage them. For feet with dry skin in need of intensive treatment, a rich cream or oil will also help to replace lost moisture.
Sitting for long periods
Both standing and sitting for long periods can lead to back problems, but sitting for long periods in the wrong posture can be especially damaging. Sitting for long periods can also cause pain in the hips, shoulders and other joints. Here is an article which goes into more detail on this.
Protect your back and joints
You can help to protect your back by sitting in a properly adjusted chair that supports your back. Don’t hunch forwards but sit back completely, letting the chair support you. Your feet should rest comfortably on the floor and knees should be no higher than the hips. Whenever you can, stand up and stretch or go for a short walk. Try to stand and move around at least every 20 minutes. This prevents the body being held in an immobile position for too long, which can lead to muscular and joint strain.