Teachers, nurses, retail workers or cashiers, servers, mothers, runners and anyone else who has spent a great deal of time on their feet know the toll it can take on your body. You would do anything to soothe that aching, tender feeling in our feet after a long day on them. Standing on your feet without rest for long periods of time can lead to a wide variety of issues, especially if your posture is incorrect and your shoes provide inadequate support. Standing incorrectly can cause foot, ankle, and back pain as well as overall alignment issues.
As leaders in the custom footwear industry, the team at FitMyFoot spends countless hours researching foot pain and shoe comfort. Here are some “save your feet” hacks we’ve put together because you deserve to feel, move, and live your best all day. We’ve got your back, and of course, your feet!
Note: Always seek professional help from a medical expert such as a podiatrist or a chiropractor before doing any exercises or self-adjustments. Your best bet is to ask for a personalized exercise/adjustment plan that takes into account all factors like age, weight, lifestyle etc.
1. Support your feet with insoles. Custom-fit is best.
If you're wondering why your feet hurt, you aren't alone. When you stand or walk, the pressure you feel is the force of your body weight absorbed by the bottom of your feet. Force is concentrated on certain spots on your feet that make contact with the ground. Over time, you start to feel fatigue and pain in your feet.
Insoles are designed to support your arch and distribute weight across more of the bottom of your foot. Spreading force across a larger surface area on the bottom of your foot reduces the pressure you feel and improves comfort. The better an insole fits you, the more effective it is at distributing force across your foot, and the more comfortable your feet will be.
Custom arch support is extremely effective in distributing pressure to your feet more evenly. FitMyFoot offers affordable custom insoles made for you, from your phone. These insoles have been proven to reduce foot fatigue, improve comfort (and even make your shoes fit better). They provide long lasting comfort by distributing pressure across your foot, reducing pronation, and stabilizing your body from the ground up.
2. Stretch it outRegularly practicing yoga can help you to gain and maintain better posture, as well as loosen and strengthen muscles throughout your body. Ask your yoga teacher for help to make adjustments to your posture that you can apply in and after class.
Try these specific yoga poses to help loosen your muscles and relieve foot and ankle pain:
- Downward facing dog
- Runner’s Stretch
- Hero’s Pose
- Bound Angle Pose
3. Ditch the flat flops
Turns out the world’s most popular footwear is horrible for your body. Flip flops are flimsy, flat, and provide no support to your feet. This lack of support can cause a great deal of pain – that’s why when you’re walking through Disneyland or travelling in Mexico your feet are aching by the end of the day. Continued lack of support, like what you experience with flip flops, can lead to inflammation of the plantar fascia and cause plantar fasciitis. If left untreated, this will cause a great deal of pain and over time your arch can begin to flatten out.
In addition to lack of support, wearing ill-fitting flops causes “toe scrunching” in an attempt to keep them on your foot better which can trigger tendonitis. Poor fit can also cause a change in your natural stride, which often leads to ankle, knee, hip or back issues.
How can I fix it?
Make sure you choose a pair of sandals that fit properly and provide adequate support. Here’s a basic checklist for your next pair:
- Size: Your sandals should fit you properly. Your toes and heels should be fully on footbed with nothing hanging over any edge.
- Flop: Your sandals should only bend at the ball of the foot. Bending in the middle of the footbed means a flimsy shoe AKA. poor support.
- Proper Support: A sandal with custom arch support will go a long way in preventing the aforementioned problems that come with flat flip flops. FitMyFoot makes comfortable sandals that provide proper support because they're made custom to you. They are designed to provide custom arch support (even unique to your own left and right feet). These sandals are made based on 200 points digitally mapped from photos taken on your phone.
4. Take a circulation break
If you spend a majority of your day on your feet and/or in a stationary position, taking posture breaks are of important to promote circulation. Varying your position during the day can help ease the strain of repetition on your foot muscles. Circulatory sluggishness caused by gravity can make you feel tired, cause headaches, strain in your back muscles and can even negatively impact your mood.
How can I fix it? Try practicing exercises to improve circulation throughout the day. Three simple ones you can try while at work are rolling a tennis ball under your feet to loosen your hamstrings and alleviate foot pain, lunges to stretch your thigh and hamstring muscles, and rotating your ankles clockwise and counterclockwise to loosen the muscles and tendons in the leg and the joint around the foot.
6. Epsom Salt Soak
Epsom salt is a natural anti-inflammatory that can aid in treating muscle aches and epsom salt soaks are great for soothing aches and pains. Fill up a foot bath or shallow bucket with warm water and half a cup of epsom salt. Add a couple drops of an essential oil of your choice and soak your feet for as long as you would like.
5. Check your posture
Poor posture can have a dramatic effect on your muscles and ligaments. It can lead to pain and injury in your heels, knees, back, feet and even difficulty with digestion and breathing. Bad posture is typically caused, and made worse by, an imbalance in strength and tension within your muscles. The muscles in your feet play a huge role in this. For example, tight calf muscles paired with weak plantar fascia can wreak havoc on your gait and foot posture (the alignment of the foot itself). This poor posture is a vicious cycle, causing the body (which naturally leans slightly forward) to tilt further forward or backward, adding additional strain to your feet and heels, and making plantar fasciitis–and posture–worse.
How can I fix it?
It’s possible to improve your posture and reduce pain from the ground up by improving the overall alignment of your feet, correct your gait, and allow your body to align and move the way it was meant to. Using custom insoles in your shoes helps to distribute pressure and loading across the entire foot, reduce ankle rotation and keep you aligned from the ground up. FitMyFoot insoles are digitally mapped using over 200 points to create custom arches unique to each of your feet and provide you perfect fit comfort in all of your shoes.
American Chiropractic Societyalso offers the following tips for correcting your posture. Practice these consciously daily and overtime the corrections will gradually replace your existing posture.
- Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
- Keep your knees slightly bent.
- Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
- Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
- Tuck your stomach in.
- Keep your head level-your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Do not push your head forward, backward, or to the side.
- Shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you have to stand for a long time.
Therapeutic massage is a great way to relax and loosen the muscles in your feet. Using both hands, press your thumbs up the center line of your foot in a circular motion. Use firm but gentle pressure, spending a little extra time on any tender pressure points you find.
Rolling the arches of your bare feet with a tennis ball can also be very effective in relieving soreness and pain in your feet. Do this by slowly roll your foot from side to side so the ball crosses your arch for 1 to 2 minutes, then roll the ball along the length of your foot from heel to toe for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat on your other foot.