Working on your feet all day, whether you spend most of your time walking or standing, can be really hard on your body. You may end the day with your feet feeling achy, sore, and stiff. If you do not manage this soreness early on, you could even develop more serious foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Does this mean you should quit your on-foot job for a desk job? Probably not — but it does mean you must be careful to follow these tips and take good care of your feet after each long workday.
1. Wear comfortable shoes without a heel.
After you've spent all day on your feet, the last thing you should do is slide your feet into a pair of heels or other uncomfortable shoes when you go out to dinner or visit a friend's house. Once you're out of work, you should only wear comfortable shoes with plenty of support and a soft sole. Sandals or slippers are perfectly okay if you'll be sitting for the rest of the day, but if you have to do more walking and standing, wear something with more support to avoid putting any extra strain on your muscles and tendons.
2. Wash your feet.
Often, the soreness that comes after a long day on your feet is not just internal. Your skin is also likely to be a bit sore and irritated. If you do not wash your feet promptly, this irritated skin is at an increased risk for infection. Just give your feet a quick wash with soap and water in the bath tub. If your feet are really smelly, which may mean they have more bacteria on them than normal, you may want to use an anti-bacterial soap.
3. Soak your feet.
Do this after washing your feet so you're not simply soaking your feet in a bacteria-laden tub of water. Fill a soaking pan with a few inches of warm water and immerse your feet. Sit there for at least 20 minutes. The warm water will help restore circulation to your feet, which can allow damaged muscles and tendons to begin healing any minor damage they've suffered through the day.
If you want, you can add a handful of Epsom salts to the soaking water. The magnesium in the salts can absorb through your skin and help relax the muscles in your feet, easing soreness and cramping.
4. Massage your feet.
When your feet are still warm from the soak, give them a little massage. This will help return some of the fluid in your muscles and skin to circulation so your feet do not feel as puffy. It will also ease the soreness in your muscles — especially those that line the bottom of your foot. You can start massaging your feet by simply running both hands upward from your toes to your ankles, using long, smooth strokes. Then, start making circles with your fingers, pressing harder and harder as you go. Finish with some more long, smooth strokes.
5. Sit with your feet up.
If you have the time, end the night by spending a few minutes relaxing with your feet up. This, too, will help relieve swelling so your feet do not feel as puffy and tight when you get up the next day. You can simply lie on the couch with your feet propped up on a pillow.
If you develop any foot pain that does not subside in a day or two, make an appointment with a podiatrist. When you work on your feet, you can't afford to let issues linger.
A few weeks ago, my wife made me go to the nail salon with her. Instead of sitting around for hours while my wife perused nail decals and polish options, I decided to get a pedicure. It was a really relaxing experience, but I quickly discovered that the process was about more than a foot bath. Before I knew it, someone was cutting and sanding my toenails. Unfortunately, a few days later I developed a massive ingrown toenail infection, which my podiatrist attributed to my visit to the nail salon. I want everyone to know how to properly care for their feet, so I made this website.