The average person walks somewhere between 75,000 to 115,000 miles in their lifetime! Wow! That’s almost 5 times around the world at the equator!
Sadly, most people spend a lot of those walking miles at work. Even worse, this is often on concrete floors with lots of intermittent standing.
Walking and standing is an integral part of the job for many people including teachers, lawyers, factory workers, flight attendants, nurses, and so many more! This by itself can, at times, be downright painful. Add a previous foot injury or an inherited challenging foot type and you have significant foot pain! Certain injuries can develop right away, such as blisters on the toes, plantar fasciitis or arch pain, tendonitis, sore muscles, and low back pain. Long-term effects can include bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, varicose veins, and increased chances of osteoarthritis.
I try to help all of our patients reduce standing and walking related injuries while on the job by advising them of a few simple tricks. These include shifting your weight from foot to foot, standing with one foot in front of the other instead of side by side, or placing one foot on a small stool while standing. Rubber mats can also help if you can install them. Proper fitting, supportive shoes and moisture-wicking socks are also extremely important. You would be amazed on how many people are wearing the wrong size and wrong type of shoes!
The right shoes for standing and walking on concrete
- For airport, warehouse, medical, retail and factory workers who spend the day standing on concrete floors, a quality pair of running shoes can prevent foot injuries from happening. Running shoes have a specially designed midsole that provides support to the soft tissue of the arch and distributes stress. Adding a quality arch support can also help. If this sounds like you, then a trip to Healthy Steps is in order. We can fit you in the correct size shoe with a good support.
Purchasing orthotics, Custom vs. Over-the-counter
- Orthotics are inserts that one puts in a shoe to prevent injury and help distribute abnormal stress. While some orthotics are custom made, Healthy Steps offers a wide line of over-the-counter orthotics priced anywhere from $40-$75. A set of orthotics placed inside your tennis shoe can provide cushioning to the foot, support the arch, or ease heel pain brought on by walking on concrete. Most OTC orthotics will last 6-9 months before they need to be replaced.
- Custom functional orthotics are sometimes necessary due to shoe type constraints, previous injuries or surgery, and challenging foot types. If an OTC inserts doesn’t take care of all of your issues, then one of our doctors or pedorthists can easily fabricate you into a quality custom orthotics. Luckily, these last a lot longer than OTC.
- To provide additional cushioning, moisture wicking padded socks can prevent blisters from forming on the toes. Socks should be the proper size, free of holes and switched out halfway during a long shift to prevent moisture from building up.
Stretching your foot
- For those of us who are susceptible to painful arches, stretching the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon can really help! Simple arch stretching exercises can be found here.
Standing around on concrete for an 8 or 12 hour shift can be brutal on the feet, and over time can cause long term injury. To prevent these injuries from happening in the first place, properly fitting shoes, good socks, and orthotics can help support your foot and decrease the stress of walking on concrete all day long.
75,000 – 115,000 miles is a long way to walk and should not be painful! Work is a necessary evil, but try to follow these tips to alleviate your foot stress! If your pain is recalcitrant, contact us for an appointment with one of our doctors so we can get you back to walking pain free!