Foot fatigue is something that a lot of people who spend long periods of time standing on their feet experience. If you work at a stand up desk, style hair, provide health care or work in a kitchen you could experience foot fatigue in your career.
What is foot fatigue?
This is a pretty common condition and foot fatigue occurs after standing or walking for a long time over a long period. What typically happens with foot fatigue is that the muscles become overly tired, they then cramp, causing you to experience pain. Foot fatigue is very common in occupations where you stand on your feet all day. It isn’t really that surprising because your feet are doing a really hard job of carrying you about. Fatigued feet are not the most serious condition you can experience but it can lead to poor posture and other health implications.
How do I know if I have it?
There are some pretty common symptoms of foot fatigue such as swelling, aching, cramping and pain. Foot fatigue symptoms are experienced over the entire foot or in specific areas of your feet such as the ball of the foot, arch or heel.
How is Foot Fatigue diagnosed?
You can diagnose foot fatigue at home, but if you're not sure visit your podiatrist and they can confirm whether or not you are suffering from foot fatigue. The main symptom to be aware of is a dull, persistent aching pain in your feet. You might also be experiencing a general overall sense of tiredness, heaviness and swelling in the feet and possibly your legs.
What causes foot fatigue?
Age is one of the factors of foot fatigue. As we get older, the natural fat pad on the soles of feet thins and your feet widen and flatten. For more elderly people, foot pain may be an early sign of arthritis, diabetes, or circulatory disease.
Your gender can also be factor of foot fatigue. Women tend to be at a higher risk than men for severe foot pain possibly because of of footwear, or if they become pregnant.
Choice of footwear is possibly the second most important factor in foot fatigue. Many people do not wear shoes that provide enough support. Another factor is the surface you stand on and how long you stand on it each day. This is probably one of the most significant factors. Almost every type of flooring we stand on does not provide any type of cushioning or relief. Even if your are standing on concrete that has underlay and a carpet your feet and joints will still be bearing almost all of the weight and shock.
No matter what the cause of foot fatigue is, research has shown that foot fatigue causes a person to use more energy in walking, resulting in a much greater degree of fatigue at the end of the day. This theory was proven by a research project reported in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
How do I deal with foot fatigue?
At the end of the day when you come home you want some relief from your aching feet. A couple of quick fixes to bring your feet back to life are:
- Ice them for about 20 minutes. The cold helps to reduce inflammation.
- Get a rejuvenating foot massage. This helps to promote circulation.
Both of these quick fixes will help to relieve the pain and increase the blood flow to your feet.
How can I prevent foot fatigue?
The most common and obvious form of prevention is to wear shoes that provide proper support. For people that spend a great deal of their day standing this becomes even more important. Here are some more preventative measures your can take to avoid foot fatigue.
- The first thing to do is to address all of your health problems with your doctor. You could be experiencing a variety of other unrelated health issues causing symptoms shared by foot fatigue. If you suffer from osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, or other circulation problems, take your medication and follow your physician’s health instructions.
- Make sure that your shoes provide proper support needed for the job even if your job requires you to look professional.
- Purchase footwear that fits. It seems obvious, but even the most well-designed, fatigue-eliminating shoes will not work as intended if they don’t fit correctly.
- Try to rotate your footwear as this does a lot to prevent foot fatigue. Different footwear will create different pressure points on your feet.
- Following along with the footwear recommendations we’ve made, you can look into the variety of orthotics. Arch supports, gel packs, insoles, and similar shoe inserts can be found at drugstores and can provide some level of prevention.
- Take a break from being on your feet when you can. When you take a break try to sit down for a few minutes. Every minute you can spend off your feet during a long day is one minute less for foot fatigue to set in.
We’ve shared some measures you can take to help prevent foot fatigue, but we’ve saved the best for last. Here are two things you can do that will go a long distance to prevent foot fatigue and provide relief.
Incorporate stretching your feet into your daily routine. Stretch and massage your feet in the morning and evening. This will help to loosen and relax the muscles. You stretch your back or neck, why not your feet? Here are some simple stretches you can do. Make it part of your morning routine.
- Tiptoe rises. Stand with feet parallel, and holding on to a steady piece of furniture, rise slowly up and down on your tiptoes. This exercises the leg muscles and helps strengthen the foot muscles.
- Sole extension. While sitting down, extend and stretch the foot in as straight a line as possible with the leg.
- Feet rotations. Rotate the feet while sitting. Extend feet one at a time and rotate slowly at the ankle, as if trying to draw the largest circle possible with the big toe. Do this first in one direction, and then the other direction.
Clearly if you are a flight attendant or waitress, this isn’t going to work, however if you are a chef, cashiers, or a technician in a laboratory an anti fatigue mat will help prevent foot fatigue and provide some comfort and relief.
Learn more about the Sky Mat anti fatigue mat that comes in two sizes and a variety of colors.