Each day we rely on our feet to get us where we need to go, and often we don’t think twice about it. Whether we’re standing for hours on end, walking around, working or even resting, our feet are constantly supporting us. They do so much for us, but how much do we really know about them? We’ve compiled some of our best information on feet, and how to take care of them. Read on to check it out!
Did you know??
- It’s rare that two feet are exactly the same; one of them is often larger than the other.
- There are 250,000 sweat glands in our feet that can excrete up to a half-pint of moisture daily.
- Each foot is made up of:
- 26 bones
- 107 ligaments
- 19 muscles
- 33 joints
- On average, Americans encounter 1.4-foot problems each year.
- The average adult takes 4,000 to 6,000 steps a day, take that, Fitbit!
- Impact, compression, and puncture are the most common types of foot injuries in the workplace. This is why proper footwear is extremely important.
- Because of feet being their largest at the end of the day, 8 out of 10 Americans experience foot problems as a result of wearing ill-fitting shoes due to feet swelling as the day goes on.
- The average foot gets two sizes longer when a person stands up.
- Standing in one spot is far more tiring than walking because the demands are being made on the same few muscles for a longer length of time.
- Conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and nerve and circulatory disorders can often show their initial symptoms in your feet; be sure to pay attention to them, as your feet depict your general health.
- Surveys suggest that two out of every three workers suffer from some form of a foot problem based on their shoe choice. This could easily be from a slip and fall injury, not having comfortable work shoes, or simply just not following the OSHA Safety Programs protocol for protective footwear.
- The height of your arches in your feet can affect the direction your ankles roll; this is often referred to as pronation.
How Lacing Can Address Foot Issues
Your slip-resistant shoes are highly significant in your workplace. While you are running around and performing your daily tasks, it is important to have the correct lacing for your shoes. There are multiple ways to lace up your shoes, solving several foot problems that you may encounter.
If you have toe problems, it can cause several pains in your work shoes. A simple lacing can alleviate some of that pain. When you are lacing up your shoes, create a diagonal lace going from the bottom to the top. Lace the eyelets with the rest of the lace.
Individuals that have high arches may have a hard time with normal criss-cross lacing. By straight lacing your shoes, the pressure on the shoe’s tongue is released which allows relief to your foot.
Top of Foot Pain
Pain on the top of your foot can be very aggravating, especially when you are trying to work. When lacing up your slip-resistant shoes, skip an eyelet so you leave space in the lacing. This will cause less pressure on the top of your foot.
Another way to handle foot issues is to purchase an insole for your slip-resistant shoes. This will allow your shoes to have a more comfortable insole that molds to your foot.
The Secret to Treating Achy Feet and Legs
As we all know, working on your feet all day can do a number on your feet and legs. Whether you’re wearing restaurant shoes, medical shoes, or slip-resistant boots, making an extra effort to take care of your feet and legs can go a long way towards you staying healthy and comfortable.
The most commonly reported issues of prolonged standing are discomfort, fatigue, and swelling of the legs and feet. Much of this pain and discomfort can be prevented by wearing comfortable work shoes for the job and following a daily foot care routine.
Choosing the Perfect Shoe
The recommended heel height for any shoe when standing for a long period of time is between a quarter of an inch to two inches. When picking out the perfect slip-resistant shoe, be mindful as to what type of arch support that the shoe provides. Proper arch support will help reduce the amount of soreness and weakness in your legs and feet.
Confirm the Fit
More often than not, people will wear shoes that are too small for them. Having shoes that fit properly will prevent you from developing blisters, losing circulation in your feet, and will enable better comfort while on the job. In order to avoid painful issues, it is recommended that you try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are at their most swollen. By doing this, you are saving yourself the headache of having to re-evaluate your shoe size down the road.
The muscles in your legs can become stiff and uncomfortable as you stand or walk throughout the day. Stop every hour or so to stretch, loosen up and lengthen your tightened muscles. The following stretches are excellent ways to loosen up your leg muscles throughout the day.
- Stand tall on the edge of a step or platform, 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 you stand on your tiptoes, and hold for a second.
- Lower your heels back to even with the platform.
- Repeat ten times.
- Face a wall and place your hands on it.
- 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.
Foot Care at Home
When you’re in the comfort of home, you can help your feet recover from the day and prepare for tomorrow by trying one of these treatments.
- Ice Your Feet: After a long day of standing and using your feet, an ice bath for fifteen to twenty minutes three times per day is one of the most effective ways to reduce swelling, promote muscle health, and protect against injury.
- Massage Your Feet: A nice massage is sure to restore feeling throughout your tired, sore, achy feet. No matter what the reason –flat feet, pregnancy, arthritis, poorly fitting shoes, sprains, strains, or just being on your feet all day long – when your dogs are barking it’s just no fun.
Tennis Ball Massage
Place a tennis ball on the ground and step on it so that the ball rests in the arch of your foot. Roll the ball back and forth across the arch of your foot. For the best results, perform this exercise while standing. This massage exercise stretching and pulls and eventually relaxes your muscles without pain.
Five Finger Toe Spread
In a seated position, cross your left leg, resting your left ankle on your right knee. Weave the fingers of your left hand between the toes of your right foot, interlocking them. Concentrate on spreading your toes apart and holding them there. This will pull and stretch the muscles and tendons in your feet, helping them to relax. Try not to push your toes up or down. Hold this position for 30-45 seconds, then switch to your right foot. Continue with this exercise until you feel your feet begin to relax.
- Soak Your Feet: Soaking your tired tootsies after a long day on the job is a great way to soothe your muscles, hydrate your skin, and relieve aches and pains due to standing for hours or walking in uncomfortable shoes. Try these homemade remedies to soothe all of your foot pains.
- Hot and Cold Water Therapy
Sometimes plain old water is the best cure of all. Sit in a comfortable chair and soak your feet for 5 minutes at a time in a basin of hot water (as hot as you can comfortably stand it) and then switch to a basin of cold water for 5 minutes. Repeat as necessary.
- Essential Oils
Add an essential oil to a warm foot bath to benefit from their healing properties. Don’t know anything about essential oils? Try one or more of the following, all of which are known for stimulating the circulatory system and relieving muscle spasms. These refreshing, soothing (and nice smelling) oils might be just what you need to ease your foot pain and get comfy.
- Sweet Marjoram
- Epsom Salts
Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts to a basin of warm water (as warm as is comfortable for your feet). Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes. The magnesium sulfate in the Epsom salts will soothe your aching feet by drawing out excess fluids and relieving muscle soreness.
*Pro Tip* Epsom salts can dry out your skin, so follow up your salt foot bath with an olive oil foot massage – which will also go a long way toward relaxing tense, aching muscles.
- Vinegar Foot Wrap
Vinegar possesses great anti-inflammatory properties and could be just the ticket to ease your foot pain. Add equal parts white vinegar and hot water in a basin. Soak a towel in the mixture until it is thoroughly soaked through. Squeeze out all the excess water then kick your feet up and wrap them snugly in the wet towel, keep them wrapped for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this process 4-5 times daily or as needed.
Cayenne Pepper Soak
Cayenne pepper is loaded with capsaicin – the active compound that makes chili peppers hot to the taste. Lucky for you, capsaicin can also be used alleviate muscle aches and pains. Add one-half teaspoon of cayenne pepper to a basin of hot water (again, keep it at a comfortable temperature). Make sure the pepper mixes throughout the basin of water. Soak your feet in the mixture for 5-10 minutes.
- Elevate Your Feet: By propping your feet above the rest of your body when sitting down, it will help decrease the day’s swelling. You can place them against a wall or on a stack of pillows to do this.