Working on your feet takes a toll

There has been much discussion about the health risks of sitting all day at work. But jobs that require you to be on your feet most of the time can cause health complications too. Experts say prolonged standing can accelerate and cause a range of problems to your overall health, as well as to your feet and lower limbs.

“We all know how much our joints and muscles hurt after spending just one full day on our feet,” says Anthony Harper, a Canadian certified pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada. “Years spent standing all day can cause serious issues, including back, knee and hip pain; swelling in the feet and lower limbs; plantar fasciitis; bunions; varicose veins; and arthritis.”

Harper says these issues are compounded as people age, if they are pregnant and if they have experienced past injuries or have pre-existing conditions. People whose jobs require they remain standing in one place, in an awkward position or do repetitive actions further increase the risks.

To reduce your risk of a standing-related injury, he recommends these seven tips:

Take sitting breaks. Make sure you sit during lunch and coffee breaks as well as during periods when work is quiet.

Move around. When you stand still you are using the same muscles, tendons and ligaments all the time, causing them to get tired and soft tissue injuries to develop. Change positions, walk around and shift your weight from foot to foot so that you use different muscle groups and joints.

Wear properly fitted, supportive footwear. Today there are a wide variety of shoe brands that have numerous features to increase your comfort and protect your feet. Consult with a footwear expert to find a brand and style that offer the best features for your needs. Be sure the shoes fit correctly.

Consider foot orthotics. Foot orthotics shift weight off high pressure areas, correct biomechanical issues, relieve stress on joints and help improve posture. But don’t self prescribe. A Canadian certified pedorthist can determine which foot orthotics will benefit you.

Save high heels for parties. High heels are not a good choice if you work on your feet, as they shift your weight onto the ball of your foot and squish your toes. Reserve your high heels for special occasions.

Make stretching a part of your daily routine. Stretch your calves and hamstrings, flex your knees and circle your hips. Your muscles are working hard for you, so take care of them.

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