Working on your feet all day can do a number on your feet, legs, and back. Each year, more than 120,000 work-related foot injuries are reported, and about two million sick days are taken because of leg and foot problems. So whether you are working a parade, concert, or other Derby event, making an extra effort to take good care of your feet and legs can go a long way toward staying healthy and happy.
Wear the Right Shoe
Contrary to popular believe, running shoes aren’t the best for prolonged standing. They are good for impact, but running shoes don’t have enough support for many people.
Make Sure They Fit
Many people wear shoes that are too small. This cuts off circulation to your feet, increases your chances of blisters, and makes walking or standing uncomfortable, if not unbearable. Getting your feet properly sized can help you make the best decisions when purchasing shoes and can reduce discomfort. The best time to be fitted for your shoes is later in the day. Your feet are naturally larger at the end of the day. And for some, buying shoes a half size larger to fit arch supports or custom orthotics will be tremendously helpful.
Stretch When You Can
As you stand or walk all day, muscles become stiff and can become painful. Stop every hour or so and do a quick set of stretches to relax and lengthen tightened muscles.
Calf raises. Stand on the edge of a step, curb, or platform. Standing tall with your abdominal muscles pulled in, secure the balls of your feet firmly on the step with your heels hanging over the edge. Raise your heels a few inches above the step as your stand on your tiptoes, and hold for a second. Lower your heels back to even with the platform. Repeat 10 times. This move helps pump blood out of the foot (where it has pooled while you were standing) and back to the body. Calf raises can also help prevent blood clots from forming.
Runner’s stretch. Face a wall, and place your hands against the wall. Extend one leg behind your body. Push your heel to the floor as far as it will go. Hold for a moment to feel the stretch and then switch sides. Repeat three times on each leg.
Take Care of your Feet at Home
When you’re in the comfort of your home, you can help your feet recover from the day and prepare for tomorrow. Try one of these treatments.
Ice them down. As much as people don’t want to hear it, immersing the foot – as long as the person doesn’t have vascular problems – in a bucket with water and ice for 20 minutes works to combat the swelling and inflammation that prolonged standing creates in the foot. Each step we take or minute we stand, we are creating micro-damage that the body has to heal. Using ice is an easy, effective way to help the body heal faster.
Massage your feet. Roll your foot from heel to toe over a tennis ball or baseball. The gentle massage on your feet and arches will stretch tight foot muscles and help your feet recover more quickly.
Elevate. Propping your feet above the rest of your body (against a wall or on a stack of pillows) will help decrease the day’s swelling.
See Your Podiatrist if the Pain Persists
If the pain continues, gets worse, or you begin to notice increasing symptoms such as numbness, stinging, or tingling in your feet and toes, make an appointment to see your doctor. Pain is a sign that something is wrong. Do not walk through pain. You may have a condition such as spurs, plantar fasciitis, or fallen arches that is contributing to your foot pain.