Many of us spend long shifts at work on our feet. Employees such as hospitality workers, nurses, and retail staff will be all too familiar with nagging foot pain at the end of the work day. If you’ve been asking yourself “why do my feet hurt so bad after work?” You are not alone!
There are some common conditions which can make foot pain worse, and the working environment can also have an impact on levels of foot pain after work. We’ll look at why you may be suffering foot pain, and suggest some strategies to reduce discomfort after a long day on your feet.
Why Your Feet Are Aching After Work
We often dream of kicking our shoes off after a long day at work. For some though, this fond thought is on their mind all day while they cope with the pain and discomfort of sore feet.
Foot pain is no fun at all and can cause misery in the workplace. Tired feet can be normal after a day at work but the pain isn’t. It is essential to get to the bottom of what is causing feet to ache so much after work.
Let’s take a look at the common reasons your feet hurt after work.
Standing for Long Periods
Some jobs require employees to be on their feet for large parts, or all of the day which can unquestionably cause foot pain. When standing all day at work, much of the pressure ends up on the feet.
Having to stand for prolonged periods also increases the risk of bad circulation. Bad circulation can cause legs and feet to swell which becomes painful.
The blood needs to be able to move freely around the body. When we stand for too long, the blood flow slows down. Standing for long periods can also cause varicose veins and other related issues.
Standing on Hard Surfaces
Many issues with achy feet after work can be a result of the surface you are standing on all day. A cushioned floor is far preferable to a hard, tiled floor.
When employees are standing on a hard surface day after day, their feet will take the strain. The pain caused by hard surfaces can travel beyond the feet, into the legs, hips and main trunk of the body too.
The energy from the hard floor goes back into the feet causing shock. Such floors can be very unforgiving and it accounts for certain industries to be more affected than others. Those who walk on concrete, wooden or tiled floors will feel more pain than those on cushioned surfaces.
Poor Posture or Ergonomics
Poor posture or ergonomics also accounts for a great deal of foot pain. We often use parts of our bodies more than other parts and it is the same for feet.
When standing, we naturally lean more on one foot than the other. This causes there to be more pressure on one side of the body. This causes uneven pressure on one foot which can cause achiness and pain.
The shape of your feet can cause poor posture too, as well as the working environment. When ergonomics are poor, the body will suffer. The workplace should be made as comfortable and efficient as possible to boost productivity.
Wearing The Wrong Shoes
Often, sore feet come down to simply wearing the wrong shoes. Ill fitting footwear can be the start of persistent foot pain.
When we wear shoes that don’t fit properly, we end up feeling uncomfortable. We have all worn ridiculous shoes for a special occasion and regretted it. Wearing the wrong shoes day after day takes its toll on the body.
It pays to shop around a little for a decent pair of comfortable, everyday shoes. They need to have enough cushioning to protect against those hard surfaces. Shoes without cushioning will add unnecessary pressure to the soles.
It is important to purchase shoes with good arch support too. The arches of our feet bear a great deal of the pressure of our bodies. It is important to get good arch and heel support and throw those worn out shoes in the bin.
Common Foot Health Conditions
There are common foot ailments that workers can suffer from. These can be caused by unhealthy practices in the workplace. Sometimes though, foot problems already exist and the environment simply amplifies them.
Below are some foot conditions that can cause significant pain and misery when left untreated. Getting a diagnosis and identifying the triggers can reduce pain and swelling.
Sufferers of plantar fasciitis will experience specific symptoms which we have listed underneath. If you suspect you have this condition, it is important to visit your GP.
- Intense pain in the heel of the foot.
- Arch pain
- Stiffness and an achy feeling.
- Heels can become swollen.
Wearing ill fitting shoes and being on your feet all day can increase the chances of developing this painful condition.
Employees who work on concrete or hard floors are more likely to develop such problems. Switching to proper work shoes or boots can help this problem.
Bunions occur when the big toe develops abnormally with the joint growing sideways. This turns the toe into the smaller toes, pushing them together.
Bunions can be hereditary or caused by a bone problem such as arthritis. They can also be triggered by wearing inappropriate footwear for long periods. People with a bunion often end up with sore feet as the toes rub together. The bunion itself rubs against the side of the shoe as the inside isn’t wide enough.
Buying supportive bunion pads to put in shoes can help people with this condition. It is important to tell your boss if you are experiencing bunions as they may be able to recommend proper work shoes.
When you think of the normal foot shape, you imagine the heel provides a lift so that the foot isn’t flat on the ground. People with flat feet do not have this heel arch and their feet sit completely flat on the ground.
Employees who have flat feet may experience achy ankles and the area around the arch may be painful. They should aim to buy good quality work shoes as they will find shoes wear down quicker than those with arched feet.
Shoe insoles and footwear with a small heel are both recommended when people are in pain with their flat feet.
Another foot condition that can occur is heel spurs. This painful condition presents itself with a bony protrusion underneath the heel.
Heel spurs can be flat, hooked or pointed and diagnosis usually requires a scan. Symptoms can vary from person to person, and some experience little to no pain. For others it can be quite miserable and cause pain, swelling, tenderness and heat coming from the site of pain.
Employees who put excessive pressure on their feet can develop this painful condition. It can also be caused by not wearing supportive shoes and bad posture when standing. Serious cases of a heel spur can result in surgery.
How to Soothe Aching Feet After Work
Once you’ve thrown those work shoes on the living room floor, how else can you relieve those tired and sore feet? Our feet need looking after and deserve good foot health.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to soothe those aching feet after a long day at work:-
- Put those feet up. Sometimes, the best thing for aching feet is to rest them. So grab a cup of tea, have the remote at the ready and sit down for 30 minutes. Your feet will be thankful for the rest.
- A nice warm shower or soak in the bath. If you opt for a bath, pop in some Epsom salts which are great for aches and pains. Even a warm shower can help rejuvenate our bodies so that we feel fresh again.
- Ice your feet. While resting your tired feet, pop some ice on them. Not directly, of course, but wrapped in a towel. If you haven’t any ice, grab a bag of frozen peas instead.
- Massage the feet. A nice foot rub often does the trick or investing in a foot spa can be a luxury that goes a long way to help.
- Buy decent footwear. Don’t be tempted by cheap shoes as they won’t provide the support and cushioning you need. A good supportive shoe promotes good foot health.
- Invest in some compression socks. Compression socks are designed to keep blood and oxygen circulating through the body. Wearing them during working hours can help with swelling, pain and fatigue.
- Stretch your feet with some exercises. Doing some gentle exercises at the beginning and end of the day can help keep your feet healthy and flexible.
How to Prevent Feet From Hurting When Standing All Day At Work
There are many jobs where standing all day is a must. If this is the case for you, then be sure to take some appropriate steps to ensure good foot health.
It is easy to underestimate the sheer hard work our feet carry out day in and day out. You do not need to be walking for your feet to be doing a great deal. Even standing still and balancing is a lot for your feet to deal with.
It’s important, therefore, to take appropriate measures to ensure feet stay as healthy as possible. We share the best tips below for maximum foot health.
Buy The Right Work Shoes for Sore Feet
First things first, ensure you buy the right work shoes. You need good support and adequate comfort when relying on these shoes for work purposes.
You might think that buying flat shoes is the most logical answer but these can do more harm than good. Instead, aim to find a shoe with a small heel as this helps provide good arch support.
You also need to ensure they are the right fit. Buying in store rather than online can ensure you try on a range of sizes first. Too small a shoe can cause pressure and if they are too big, your feet aren’t getting the support they need.
When you are standing all day, you must choose comfort. Think of your shoes as the ground you will be walking on. You want nice cushioning and your feet should feel well supported and comfortable.
Ensure Frequent Movement
Frequent movement when you are on your feet all day is also a must. Standing in the same position for long periods can impact circulation.
Standing still on the spot is much worse for the feet than walking around. When we walk, our weight is more evenly distributed. We also have better posture and are more mindful of making sure we are balanced.
Our blood can start to pool in one place if we are still for too long. Moving around helps keep the blood and oxygen moving around the body as they should.
Stretching & Exercises
Stretch, stretch and stretch some more! Frequently stretching those legs and feet while working can greatly reduce achiness and pain.
It allows the blood to flow freely, especially if you have been standing in one spot for any length of time. Go for a short walk or do some exercises to help keep your joints loose. There are some exercises you can do at home too after a long day on your feet.
Elevate Your Feet During Your Break
When you take your entitled work breaks, be sure and rest your feet. Even better, elevate them if you can.
Everyone who works over 6 hours is entitled to a break so, use this time to your advantage. Elevated feet allow oxygen and blood to flow which prevents swelling and pain from occurring. Use gravity to your advantage while sipping on that much needed cuppa.
Request Anti Fatigue Mats from Your Employer
Anti fatigue mats offer a barrier between your feet and the hard ground. This, in turn, promotes better foot health. Having cushioning under your feet is much more desirable than concrete, let’s be honest.
Should you be feeling the effects of standing all day, then why not request an anti fatigue mat from your employer? It is something they can put through the books and is good evidence that they are supporting employees’ wellbeing needs.
These mats provide a softer alternative to the hard floor which can then boost energy levels. It can also help to boost productivity as employees will not feel so fatigued.
Feet can feel tired after standing for 8 hours but they shouldn’t be causing pain. If you are experiencing persistent sore feet then you might need new shoes.
Work shoes should be replaced when they have been worn down. Sometimes heels can get worn down quite quickly which affects balance, amongst other things.
You need to ensure you are taking good care of your feet at all times. Massages, plenty of rest and elevation can all help feet get used to being used all day.