Heel Pain From Standing
Anyone who has worked as a cashier, retail assistant, or desk clerk knows that standing for long periods of time can be incredibly taxing.
Heel pain is one of the most common–and painful–symptoms for people whose jobs or lifestyles involve a lot of standing. This article will help you understand the unique forces that standing puts on your feet, how to navigate situations that require a lot of standing, and how to deal with heel pain from standing.
Why Is Standing So Hard on Our Feet?
The truth is, the phrase “standing still” is a little misleading. In order to keep you upright (without toppling over!) The muscles in your legs and feet need to stay constantly engaged, while supporting the entire weight of your body.
While taking a walk or a jog might get your heart rate going faster than standing in place, this movement is actually easier on your tendons, ligaments, and muscles. As you take a step with one foot and swing the other forward, it gets a short break and relief from supporting your body weight.
Standing, as opposed to walking or resting with the feet elevated, also makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood to the feet and legs. That means less oxygen to these extremities, and reduced circulation.
Dealing with Long Stretches of Standing
Sometimes, it’s impossible to avoid standing for long periods of time. But the realities of of a job or other situation don’t have to mean painful feet. Try these strategies to make standing less painful on your heels and feet:
Stretching is a simple way to make a big impact on your your feet feel after standing all day. Stretch your heels, calves, and even your toes to strengthen the muscles and ligaments involved in standing. If you’re consistent with this practice (20 minutes a day!) you’ll have stronger, more flexible feet and legs that can stand up to long periods of time on your feet.
Think of good orthotic insoles as your arch’s best friend if you are on your feet a lot. Standing for long periods of time can flatten and strain the arch, resulting in heel pain or Plantar Fasciitis. By lifting the arch back to an optimal position, applying targeted acupressure, and soothing cushioning you can stave off damage while simultaneously relieving pain and discomfort.
Re-evaluate Your Shoes
A good pair of shoes is absolutely critical for comfort while standing. Choose shoes that fully support your heel and ankle, have a thick sole, and arch support. If your work shoes aren’t comfortable or don’t fit properly, this is one of the best ways you can improve heel pain from standing.
Insist on Breaks
It’s important to give your feet and legs a break regularly, whenever possible. Try to be diligent about taking scheduled breaks, and spend them off your feet as much as you can. If a break just isn’t in the cards and your feet are hurting, try shuffling or walking in place to give your muscles and ligaments small rests throughout the day.
Add a Treadmill to Your Standing Desk
If you have a standing desk, you might consider adding an inexpensive treadmill to your work setup! Remember, walking or moving your feet is easier than standing in one place for a long period of time. If your boss is willing, ask about adding a way to move your feet while you work!
Soothing Heels That Hurt From Standing
After a long day on your feet, you need quick, effective relief for heel and foot pain from standing. Try these effective and inexpensive remedies:
Ice not only numbs the body’s pain signals, it can help bring down inflammation and redness. Ice for about 10 minutes, using an ice pack or Ice Slippers that stay in place all on their own!
Massage is another great pain-relief tool. You can use your hands with simple techniques, a mobility ball, or even household items like a tennis ball or rolling pin. Massage breaks up scar tissue, improves circulation and blood flow, and disrupts the body’s pain signals.
Rest is one of the simplest–and most effective–ways to deal with heel and foot pain. Keep your feet elevated when you get home, and let your body rest and heal from the rigors of standing.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like Ibuprofen can reduce swelling, help with pain, and provide much needed relief when heel pain or foot pain is especially bad.
While you might be required to stand for long periods of time at your job or at home, you don’t have to stand for painful heels or feet. With a few of these simple techniques and adjustments, you can have a more pleasant day on (and off) your feet.