July 7, 2021: Ten things you need to know if you are constantly on your feet
At Maidenhead Podiatry, our Podiatrists are often asked how walking affects your feet. In an average lifetime, it is estimated that we walk about 100,000 miles/160,000 km.
The ligaments, tendons, and muscles in our feet support and coordinate movement. So walking helps strengthen them and keeps them supple.
Ten things you need to know if you are on your feet most of the day.
1. Forget fashion
Unless your footwear at work is specified in your contract, or is part of your uniform, make sure you choose the most practical and appropriate shoe/boot for your profession.Don’t be a fashion victim, choose work specific footwear.
2. Before exercising or spending a long time on your feet
Consult your podiatrist if you start to develop any pain when walking, or consider a visit before embarking on a new walking program or taking on a new job where you know you are going to be on your feet for an extended period.
3. Current footwear
Properly fitting shoes is the key to keeping your feet healthy and comfortable. Whatever type of walking you do, wearing the right footwear is essential. When buying shoes especially walking shoes, try numerous brands, styles, and sizes. Walking shoes/boots do not come in different width fittings but widths vary with different manufacturers.
4. Your feet can expand as much as half a size during the day
Buy shoes in the afternoon or early evening when your feet are at their largest.
Feet can expand by as much as half a size as the day goes on.That is why shoes can feel as if they are getting tighter the longer you wear them.
This will help protect them as they expand during your long walks. Also, wearing the same type of socks when fitting shoes that you wear when you walk will help you choose the right shoe.
Once you have made your purchase – take care of them.
5. Once I have my shoes/boots, what next?
If you are going on a long walk, prepare well ahead. When you first have your shoes/boots wear them around the house. This will keep them clean in case you need to take them back; it also allows you to get used to them on even, consistent surfaces. You can try different socks in the comfort of our own home too.
Wear your shoes for a ‘trial walk’ and build up the distance gradually. Don’t try to complete the Three Peaks on your first trip!
6. What else can I do?
It’s also a good idea to examine your feet every day, and pay a visit to your local HCPC – registered podiatrist who will be able to give advice. There they will treat any corns, callus, or any foot issue you may have.
7. Before you set off:
Pack simple first aid supplies, such as plasters or antiseptic cream, for your walking trip in case of accidents
It’s also a good idea to put Vaseline between your toes to prevent chafing. This makes it an ideal lubricant
Applied as a lubricant at the start of an event, such as between the toes, it will still be working well at the end
Begin your walk at a slow pace, increasing the pace of your walking gradually. This gives the muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments that support the structure and movement a chance to get used to the activity by degree.
If you do experience any discomfort or foot pain, then it could be an indication that something isn’t right. In many cases, early diagnosis prevents a small injury from becoming a larger one.
9. Socks, and choice of socks are important
Good socks not only add to the comfort of your feet in your shoes but will also helps keep them dry, drawing moisture away from the feet.
It isn’t a good idea to wear 100% cotton socks as they hold moisture against the skin, and can lead to painful blistering.
Wool and silk are often blended with synthetic materials. If you find wool too warm or too irritating, you could try acrylic blended socks. Socks made with new material such as CoolMax or DriMax are designed to draw sweat away from the skin, keeping feet dry. Double thickness socks are great, particularly with distance walking, if you are prone to blisters.
10. Insoles can help support your foot
Frequently, an appropriate insole or orthotic can give the extra support you nee for a long shift.
Orthoses are available in a range of prices and styles, from off the shelf/one size fits all, to a fully moulded and customised professional product that will last you years.