Recently, the news was full of articles about the dangers associated with sitting too long and having a sedentary lifestyle. However, did you know that standing on your feet too long can be just as damaging if not more so? That’s right, according to a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, jobs that require you stand on your feet all day long, for hours at a time, are actually more detrimental to your overall health than those that have you sitting most the day, especially as it relates to your feet.
Many people are required to stand on their feet for long hours in order to do their jobs. As a result, people who work as sales associates, factory workers, and nurses often suffer from chronic foot pain. It is important to take the proper care of your feet to avoid pain often associated with standing for too long.
Read on to learn more about the negative impacts standing on your feet can have brought to you by the podiatrist and other professionals at Red Mountain Footcare.
Is Standing Harmful?
Standing isn’t by its very nature harmful. After all, it’s a natural posture of the body. However, when you work on a job that requires to stand for hours on end, you will have a greater chance of developing the following conditions:
- Stiffness in the shoulders and neck
- Lower back pain
- Muscular fatigue
- Leg cramps
- Varicose veins
- Plantar fasciitis and other forms of foot pain
- Swelling of the legs
- Plantar warts
Foot Related Conditions Associated With Standing for Long Periods of Time
There are many problems associated with being on your feet too many hours in the day. However, let’s explore more in-depth the conditions affecting your feet. They are as follows:
Developing varicose or spider veins in your legs can be a byproduct of spending too much time on your feet. Although they are not themselves a serious in terms of life-threatening condition, they can lead to other serious problems. They also can be extremely unpleasant to deal with as they can cause aching and discomfort.
- Symptoms of Varicose Veins:
- A heavy, aching feeling in your legs.
- Your veins appear bulging or twisted and are either dark blue or purple in color.
- You notice worse pain after you have stood up for a long time or even after being seated for several hours.
- Swelling, cramping, throbbing or burning in your lower legs.
- Itching near your veins.
- Skin Discoloration.
- Possible Complications Associated With Varicose Veins: Varicose usually don’t cause any of the issues, except what is listed above. However, occasionally you might experience the following complications:
- Bleeding: On rare occasion, a vein near your skin can burst. It usually only caused minor bleeding.
- Blood Clots: Varicose veins located deep within your legs when they become enlarged. This can make them painful, and swell. This can indicate the presence of a blood clot, which of course, is a serious medical condition.
- Ulcers: You might also develop ulcers around your ankles. Usually, ulcers begin as just a spot of discoloration than then form an ulcer.
- Why Standing Leads to an Increased Risk of Varicose Veins: When you stand for hours at a time, the blood doesn’t flow as well through your body, because you are usually standing in much the same position. Reduced blood flow through the body is one of the risk factors associated with the development of varicose veins.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes relating to pain in the heel. It occurs when the band-like tissue that connects your foot to your heel becomes inflamed. You are at a greater risk for developing this condition if you are on your feet for long periods, working on a daily basis. Teachers, factory workers and other professionals who spend hours on their feet each day are at high risk of developing this painful condition.
- Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis: Stabbing pain around your heel. You will often notice this pain first thing in the morning but might also notice it if you have been standing or sitting for long periods of time and then change positions.
- Potential Complications Association with Plantar Fasciitis: If you don’t treat this problematic condition, you will often change your stance to avoid irritating the area, often without even realizing you are doing so. The end result can lead to the development of back, hip, knee, and other foot pain.
Standing for long periods of time, for years on end can place a significant amount of pressure on your joints, including those in your knees, feet, and ankles. Over time, this can reduce the normal lubrication in and around your synovial joints. The end result of this is experiencing severe pain, making it difficult for you to walk.
How Much is Considered Too Much Standing?
If you are unsure the amount of standing you have to do for your job would be considered problematic, a good rule of thumb to remember is that prolonged standing is considered being on your feet more than 60% of your work day, repeated several times a week. An interesting fact to note, standing requires around 20% more energy when compared than sitting.
How You Can Remedy the Issue
Obviously, you must work and if your job requires you stand in order to complete various tasks, what can you really do to counteract the issue? Thankfully, by making the following changes, you can reduce the complications that are often a byproduct of standing for long periods of time for years:
- Wear Appropriate Footwear: Choosing appropriate footwear means choosing a shoe that has a negative heel. This means that the heel is slightly lower than the ball of your foot, which places less of a strain. If you have a profession that requires you to be on your feet all day, investing in a pair of high-quality shoes is pertinent. High-quality shoes can be purchased from a respected manufacturer that emphasizes foot care and foot health.
- Try Going Barefoot Occasionally: Despite the regularity of wearing shoes, the feet are naturally not designed to be enclosed. Regular “barefoot” time for your feet can be beneficial for foot health. Among other methods, allowing your feet to breathe can help alleviate the pain and pressure your feet may be experiencing from being on your feet all day.
- Do Simple Foot Exercises and Yoga: Simple foot exercises and yoga positions can help improve both the health and function of your feet. Active foot exercises that create movement will stimulate your foot’s blood flow and circulation, and yoga positions that place your feet flat onto the floor will stretch out their muscles. Yoga is particularly beneficial for your Achilles tendon and calf muscles, which are areas that can become especially problematic if not taken care of. Foot exercises and yoga positions can be easily performed every day at virtually any location and any time; whether it is at the office, at the gym, or at home right before you go to bed. Simple stretching can increase your foot health by miles.
Other Foot Pain Remedies:
- Use a portable footrest or foot rail in order to shift your body weight from one leg to other or both legs.
- Adjust your working position regularly and ensure your body has enough space to move around.
- Keep your work close to your body so you don’t strain it any more than necessary to complete your job.
- Face the object you are working with so you don’t strain your neck, back and the rest of your body to focus on your work.
- When possible, use a seat at least occasionally.
The foot pain you experience after lengthy hours working on your feet may seem inevitable and unavoidable; in reality, however, that is not the case. Wearing proper footwear and performing simple foot exercises and stretches can help ease foot pain and allow you to truly avoid frustrating foot problems.
Take Good Care of Your Feet!
Your feet can easily be kept healthy with some education and a little effort. Pain that begins at the feet can eventually affect the whole body. Begin taking care of your feet now!
Contact us at Red Mountain Footcare for more information on the complications associated with standing and how we can help you by providing treatment for these painful conditions.