Are you on your feet all day? By the end of the day, are your legs, hips and back tired from standing? We recommend three easy tips and tricks related to shoes, posture and movement that will help you prevent this fatigue from turning into pain.
1. Find good shoes. This is a must if you are going to be wearing them for 9+ hours a day. They shouldn’t have too high of a heel on them, or you risk uneven pressure distribution. A heel height of about 1.5 inches is recommended. They should also not be too tight in the toe box. This means if it feels like your toes are getting squeezed, those are not the shoes for you. You may need to look into wider shoes.
Another thing to think about is shoe weight. The heavier the shoe, the more strain it puts on your ankles, knees and hips when walking. Opt for the lighter version when possible. If it’s your first time wearing steel toe boots, take time to stretch out your leg the first couple days. Try the one shown at right.
2. Work on your standing posture. Ideally, your goal is to achieve neutral standing posture. In the proper stance, your feet should be hip-width apart and you should avoid putting all your weight on your heels. Think about evenly distributing your weight on the ball of your foot as well as the heel.
You will naturally shift your weight throughout the day, but while doing this, keep in mind that you should maintain a light core contraction—sucking your belly in slightly. You want to avoid overextending your back and shifting your weight entirely to one hip. A good rule of shifting weight is at least every 20 minutes. You can also use a small box to prop one foot up on to help shift weight and keep your back in a neutral position (see photo).
If you are not walking around and are standing in one spot all day, look into an anti-fatigue mat. These will help provide the cushioning you need to avoid over-stressing any part of your body.
3. Take frequent breaks to walk around and stretch. Take the long way around to the restroom, make a quick lap around the area, or keep your water bottle a few feet away so you have to walk to it every 30 minutes or so. This keeps the blood circulating well throughout your legs and back, which helps avoid fatigue.
Put these easy tips into practice and let us know how they work for you! You should never be in pain, so if you struggle with fatigue and pain, please contact Balanced Fitness & Health for an evaluation and therapy that will help you live pain free. And, if you're in charge of workers who are on their feet all day, Balanced Fitness & Health can also help with injury prevention programs that help avoid recordable injuries.