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How to Take Care of Your Feet

02 September 2020

We use our feet for walking, running, and even working so they are more prone to injuries and problems. Made up of 26 bones each, the feet are intricate parts of the body that need proper care and attention.

This is more crucial when you stand up all day at work. While prolonged sitting is also tagged as an enemy of physical and mental health, going overboard with standing can also pose problems for the body. When not given proper intervention, foot care issues can turn into serious problems like rheumatoid arthritis or plantar fasciitis. Those health concerns can affect mobility and be a source of  foot pain.

Those who stand for an extended period include teachers, factory workers, doctors and, nurses, including those who work in the restaurant and hotel industry. But if you are also into physical activities there is a fat chance that your feet can also feel some pain one time or another.

Simply put, it pays to be mindful of your feet's condition. Here are some things that you should remember for so you can better take care of your beautiful feet:

Problem: Standing all day can be bad for you

There is a saying that too much of anything is bad for you. The same goes for excessive standing for eight hours a day as per this research. According to a writeup from the Cornell University Ergo Web, standing to work is also problematic. It continued to say that it is more tiring especially for men with ischemic heart disease as it increases the progression of carotid atherosclerosis due to the additional load on the circulatory system. But it does not stop there, too much standing also puts a greater strain on the legs and feet. It also indicated that prolonged standing increases the risks of varicose veins and accounts for more than one-fifth of all cases of working age. Furthermore, the research stated that ergonomists have claimed that standing to work is more tiring than sitting to work. Standing requires 20 percent more energy than sitting.

Solution: Get the right ergonomic furniture for foot comfort

According to the same article, if standing too long cannot be avoided altogether, the best way is to buy ergonomic furniture like a standing desk with an under-desk bike so that you can sit and rest.  Creating a movement variety that includes walking or stretching is crucial to improve blood circulation through the muscles. 

Problem: Hard flooring that contributes to fatigue

This study maintained that flooring can affect foot discomfort. In an experiment conducted by the researchers, participants stood for fours on each of seven flooring conditions while performing computer tasks. By the third and fourth hour, it was determined that floor type had a significant effect on lower-leg and lower-back discomfort and fatigue. Another research indicated that softer floors result in reduced discomfort as compared with a hard floor, particularly for the lower extremities and the lower back. Flooring did affect workers' perception of discomfort and all floor surfaces were rated better than concrete.

Solution: Use an anti-fatigue mat

One intervention is to invest in an anti-fatigue mat to lessen the pressure on the lower extremities. An anti-fatigue mat can reduce compression, improve circulation, and most importantly, provide foot comfort. But you must be able to buy the right kind of anti-fatigue mat. A mat that is too soft can also promote discomfort. This article said that a good anti-fatigue mat has a  cushion or flex that recognizes minute, undetectable muscle movement in the leg and calf muscles as the body continuously adjusts to remain stable. 

Problem: Wearing the wrong shoes

If you are going to stand the whole day, keep the stilettos in the closet and opt for more comfortable wide-angled shoes. The right footwear should be able to provide comfort even while you are pursuing your tasks.

Solution: Buy the right footwear

Below are the characteristics of proper footwear according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety:

The inner side of the shoe must be straight from the heel to the end of the big toe.

The shoe must grip the heel firmly.

The forepart must allow freedom of movement for the toes.

The shoe must have a fastening across the instep to prevent the foot from slipping when walking.

The shoe must have a low, wide-based heel; flat shoes are recommended.

The shoe should have a low, wide-based heel. Small heels (1/4" to 1/3" for a men size 9, scaled to other sizes) are recommended.

Be on the lookout 

Another reason why you should keep your eyes on your feet is that they can also show symptoms of what doctors call the COVID toes. This USA Today article said that the new symptom appears in more children and young adults than any other age group. Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, proposed this may be because children and young adults have better immune systems.

Lautenbach further explained that COVID toes were discovered in March by Italian doctors. Once experts were informed of the strange symptom, they began recognizing more and more cases in the USA.

Best foot forward

The bottom line is to take care of your feet as much as you can. Foot hygiene is also important to keep it healthy and neat. Read this article from Harvard Health Publishing for more tips on how to give TLC to your feet.