Do you work on your feet all day and can’t wait to get home, take off your shoes and put your feet up? Although you may feel tired at the end of the day, you may be able to save your feet! Here are a few tips to prevent pain in your feet after working on your feet all day.

Proper fit

Look for a shoe that fits in the length and the width. A proper fitting shoe will prevent excessive pressure on specific areas of the foot, such as the sides of the foot and at the toes.

Take the insole out and stand on it. If there is any part of the foot hanging over, it is too narrow. It is especially important to look at the toes! If there is too much room along the sides, the shoe is too wide. Make sure the shape of the insole and the shape of your foot match. When trying on a new shoe, wear the socks you will be wearing at work. Socks that are too thick for the shoe can make the shoe tight and create pain. If the sock is too thin for the shoe, it may create a sloppy feel and cause the toes to grip to keep the shoe on.

If wearing dress shoes, make sure the toe doesn’t point too much at the front. If the shoe presses on the sides of the toes, it can cause pain at the ball of the foot. Heels should be kept lower to prevent excessive pressure to the ball of the foot. Try and find a dress shoe with a thicker sole for additional shock absorption, and a removable insert for extra cushioning. A removable insert also becomes handy if you need additional support from an over the counter insert or a custom foot orthotic.

A shoe suited for the work

The style of shoe needs to fit in with the work environment. Hob-nailed boots are good for logging, but not for working in an office.

If working outside, make sure the shoe keeps your foot warm and dry in cold temperatures, and cool and dry in hot temperatures.

Shoes with open toes or open backs may not be appropriate if walking for most of the day. A shoe with an open toe exposes the toes to injuries from hitting something or dropping something on it. An open backed shoe is more likely to slip off the foot when walking. You may grip at the toes more often to keep the shoe on, which can create pain at the ball of the foot.

Work on wet and slippery floors needs a shoe that is slip resistant and possibly water resistant. For example, tile floors need some grip to the soles because they can be very slippery. Hard floors, such as tile, would also benefit from a shock absorbing sole such as a running shoe.

Some EVA clogs with limited tread may not be appropriate. It can cause slipping on the tile floors, and they are reported to be a risk in ICU wards where the static that they gave off was burning out electronic equipment.

Rocker soled shoes

A rocker sole is a curved sole at the toe to help when pushing off the back leg. Even if the shoe doesn’t state that it contains a rocker sole, a shoe a slight curve to the front will help you walk easier and help you be less tired. Try and avoid shoes that are completely flat/straight at the toes.

A sole with a negative heel rocker to diminish the shock at heel strike on concrete

If you walk a lot and you have a heavy foot or arthritis in the ankle, a negative heel rocker can help reduce the stress in the foot as the heel comes to the floor

Add support when necessary

Most shoes do not have arch support built into them. Even good supportive shoes may need additional arch support. These supportive shoes have a great base and prevent the foot from moving too much, but they typically do not support the arch of the foot. Even if they have arch support built into the, a custom foot orthotic may be necessary to support the foot.

The inside arch of the foot is not the only area that may need support. There are actually three arches in the foot, and all three may need additional support that the shoe cannot provide.

Change shoes during the day

Feet can sweat and make shoes not as comfortable to wear for more than 12 hours at a time. Having another pair of shoes to wear will help keep the feet ready to work for you without complaining!

If you need more information about getting shoes that will work for you if you are on your feet all day, consult your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist.

Written by Jim Pattison, C. Ped (C)