Most people don't realize that the muscles of the feet and legs are constantly working even when they're standing still. They're continually reacting and adjusting to the environment to keep the body balanced and stable.
Standing in one place is actually much harder on the feet and legs than walking or moving around in some way.
This type of muscle function causes significant foot and leg fatigue because the muscles never get a break. At least when you're walking, each muscle has a specific function and then it gets to rest as the feet alternate from step to step.
Standing for prolonged periods can cause swelling in your feet and legs.
Standing in one spot is also hard on the circulation. The blood delivers oxygen to the feet and legs very easily but then has a difficult time moving back up the legs. Getting the blood to move up the veins depends heavily on either gravity or the pumping of the calf muscles.
These are both working against you if you're standing still! After long periods of standing, blood starts to pool in the veins of the feet and legs and can cause swelling and pressure on the surrounding tissues.
Standing in one place for prolonged periods of time is notorious for causing foot and leg pain.
So, stress on the muscles and on the circulation can cause the feet and legs to become very painful with prolonged standing. This causes significant problems for those with jobs that require standing several hours per day, day after day. But, if this is you, don't despair. There are things you can do to lessen the effects of prolonged standing.
Simple Tips to Reduce The Effects of Standing All Day
1. Walk whenever you get a chance. If you don't have to stand in the exact same spot, try to walk around a bit. Every step helps even if you're just marching in place. This stimulates circulations and gets the muscles working differently.
2. Elevate your feet at break time. Whenever you have a break, elevate your feet as much as possible for 10-15 minutes. Get gravity working in your favor to help the circulation. Also, try to elevate the feet after work and before going to bed.
3. Wear compression stockings. In the past, we almost gave up recommending compression stockings. They were difficult to get on and off and extremely unfashionable, not to mention the fact that most men would not be caught dead in "glorified pantyhose." But those days are over! Therafirm brand compression stockings, available at Foot Traffik, offer a variety of styles comfortable for everyday wear.
Advances in the technology of materials mean that compression stockings now offer the same effectiveness with lighter and thinner stockings that are fabricated in every color and design you can imagine. If you have a standing occupation, then wearing compression stockings is probably the best thing you can do to help your circulation and relieve leg pain.
4. Wear good shoes. Supportive, stable shoes are critical to those with standing jobs. They should be fitted properly for length and width and allow a bit of room for the feet to swell during the day. Shoes that are more rigid than flexible are better and they should be a bit higher in the heel than the forefoot. Also, too many people try to get the lightest shoe possible. Lighter shoes tend to have less support and that is not good for your feet.
5. Wear arch supports or custom foot orthotics. Much of the work done by the foot and leg muscles during standing is to help stabilize the body. When the foot is properly supported by an orthotic, the feet and legs are placed in proper alignment and the muscles don't have to work nearly as hard. As a result, the legs should be much less fatigued (and much less sore) at the end of the day.
Standing in one place for prolonged periods of time is notorious for causing foot and leg pain. This may be unavoidable if you have a standing occupation, but, by taking the steps above, you can reduce the effects.
Also, remember that these problems don't just affect those who work standing on their feet, but anyone who is on their feet for cooking, housework, hobbies and even shopping.
For more information about the above products visit Foot Traffik, the healthy foot and podiatry store on 3rd and Cherry Avenue in Long Beach. They carry a wide selection of supportive shoes, comfort footwear, arch supports, insoles and foot care products to relieve foot, back and even knee pain.