To our incredible supermarket workers, we just want to say a massive thank you for continuing to put your best foot forward and helping to keep us all fed, and well stocked, whilst putting your own wellbeing on the line. We know better than anyone that those incredibly long days of standing and being on your feet especially on hard concrete floors takes its toll on the body. If you are suffering from generalised foot pain, heel pain, aching legs, blisters or hard skin build up, we want to put our hearts and soles in to giving you some great advice to keep comfortable while you go out on a limb for us all! (Yes, all puns are 100% intended, sorry in advance…)
Start with checking your shoes. Make sure they are the right shape, depth, and width in the toe box to prevent any hot spots and rubbing on areas where you may have a bunion, claw toes, or bony prominences. Make sure your laces are adequately tightened to have your foot securely in the shoes, but not too tight or too loose. Check out some of our videos here on ways you can lace your shoes in different ways to accommodate common problem areas and reduce high pressure areas.
Additionally, make sure you shoe has a pitch to it (about a 1cm lift under the heel relative to the front of the shoe) so your foot sits on a slight gradient and not completely flat, this aids in improving ankle range of motion, and reduces load on the Achilles tendon and the calf complex. Lastly, the middle of your shoe should not bend or twist, and the toe box region should have some bend through it. All of these features aid in stabilising your feet and can help reduce muscle fatigue and foot aching.
Are you suffering from blisters? (Of the feet, not the sister kind. Can’t help you with your sibling, sorry!). Well, how about we tend to those too? Blisters only occur due to areas of high pressure and friction. To prevent high pressure, appropriate shoe parameters help, however if you notice any areas of hard skin starting to form, get a pumice or file and sand these down gently to keep the hard skin at bay. This will aid in reducing progression of the hard skin to blistering. Use this method in addition to Urea-based foot creams and moisture-wicking socks, and you’ll be away. If you already have a blister, make sure it is drained in a sterile manner, soaked in warm salty water, dried, and dressed in an antiseptic cream. This must be repeated daily for usually about 7 days to keep the blister clean, reduce infection risk, and heal it much faster.
Lastly, if your legs are aching this can be muscular fatigue, or sometimes circulation related, especially if you have varicose veins and are standing all day. We have put some exercises together for you to aid in improving circulation of the lower legs, improve the strength of your calf and foot muscles, and increase flexibility through your ankle and calf. These can all be done during your shift, or at the checkout, to keep you comfortable. See our video below for demonstrations of how to do these exercises.
Get your calf muscles and arch muscles contracting, to improving blood flow of the lower extremities and improve foot and leg strength.
- Rise up and down on your tip toes regularly throughout your day, approximately 10-15 reps, 3-4 times per day during your shift.
Stretch your calf muscles and improve ankle flexibility.
- Hold on to the bench or a wall, facing the wall.
- Standing up with your knee straight, flex your ankle to point your toes upwards towards the ceiling and place the foot and toes against the wall in front of you and hold it there. You should feel it stretching up the back of the calf muscle. Alternatively, you can do this sitting down with your leg straight and resting on a chair, and pull your toes towards you. This will stretch up the back of the leg. Hold this for 10 sec on each leg, and repeat 3 times throughout your day.
- The second component to stretching your calf is targeting the lower calf complex. Have your front foot flat on the floor, and your toes approximately 10 cm away from the bench or wall. Bend your front knee forward to aim to touch the wall or bench in front of you. Hold this for 10 sec on each leg, and repeat 3 times throughout your day.
Strengthen the muscles on the bottom of your feet.
- Standing upright, push the toes on both feet into the ground and tense your arch muscles. This exercise should be lifting up your arches and causing a small amount of toe curling. Perform 10 reps on both feet together, 3 times throughout your day.
If you are having ongoing foot and leg issues, we are always available to look after you, and you can get your foot in the door by booking in for an Online Video Consultation with us to assess you and get you sorted!
By Resonance Podiatrist Ashleigh Steiner