If you have a job that keeps you on your feet day in and day out, chances are good that you are probably looking for some ways to keep those feet from feeling too tired, achy or sore. Standing for the majority of the day can be hard work for your feet, not to mention your legs and back. We know that just one foot problem could keep you out of work for many days, so why not take the extra precautions now to keep your feet healthy during those long, grueling days?
From poor circulation and joint damage to arthritis of the knee and bunions, there is a laundry list of symptoms, conditions, and injuries that can result from prolonged standing or moving around. Here are just some ways to prevent these issues from happening to you in the first place.
Take Some Time to Rest
We know that you probably don’t get a lot of breaks during the workday but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a little time here and there to actually give your working feet a rest. If it’s possible to still perform some tasks at work by sitting then, by all means, grab a chair and tackle them while sitting down and giving your poor feet and legs a rest. If you can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, this will go a long way to improving the health of your feet.
Stretch it Out
If you have to stand or walk around the majority of the day it’s important that you find time to stretch out your feet and legs. From simple exercises like spreading out your toes and holding the position for several seconds 10 times a day to the step stretch (which can help alleviate symptoms of plantar fasciitis and stretch out tight calves) to rolling a tennis ball under the arches of your feet, there are many ways to stretch out the muscles in the feet and legs to prevent stiffness and pain. Better yet, these exercises can be performed throughout the day without taking time away from your work.
The Shoes You Wear Matter
Despite the fact that you may want to wear your dressiest or stylish shoes to work, if you are on your feet for most of the day then you’ll want to trade in those shoes for something more practical and ergonomic. Comfort and support are key features to any shoes when you are on your feet for long periods of time. The shoes you wear could either provide the support and stability your feet need or they could leave them feeling sore, achy and weak at the end of the day. Turn to a shoe specialist who can fit you with the proper footwear for your individual needs.
If you have questions about how to properly care for your feet or whether orthotics could help provide additional stability and cushioning during those long days on your feet, then it’s time you turned to a foot doctor. We can help you decide which options are best for you.
Compression socks (or stockings) are therapeutic apparel that is worn for long periods of time to help blood circulate throughout the legs to prevent blood clots. While it seems like anyone could benefit from wearing compression socks, not everyone needs to wear them. On the other hand, there are certain conditions, risk factors and even professions that may mean that you should consider wearing compression socks.
While compression socks can be worn by just about anyone and won’t cause complications, it’s important to know who could truly benefit from this special footwear. Here are some factors that may determine whether compression socks are right for you:
Are you a frequent flier who spends many hours sitting on a plane? Do you work for an airline as a pilot or flight attendant? If so, then compression stockings may be essential for healthy legs and feet. After all, long flights can put a lot of strain on your body in ways that you may not even notice. Even a four-hour flight is enough to cause blood to pool in the legs, resulting in stiffness and swelling. This can happen to everyone, not just elderly fliers. Besides getting up every half hour to stretch your legs and get the blood circulating, it’s also a good idea to have a reliable pair of compression stockings handy.
We are all aware of the changes in hormones that occur during pregnancy. These hormonal changes also affect the health and function of your veins. While wearing compression stockings may reduce your chances of developing unsightly and potentially painful spider and varicose veins, the most important part of wearing these socks is that it can also prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Since DVT is one of the most common complications of pregnancy it’s important that you talk to your foot doctor about whether compression stockings are a good option for you during your pregnancy.
Prolonged Bed Rest
Whether you are recovering from a serious surgery or you are dealing with a high-risk pregnancy, there are many reasons why someone may be required to stay in bed for several months. Since you won’t be moving around enough for blood to properly flow and circulate to all areas of your body, it’s important that you consider wearing compression stockings during this time. Not only can it prevent a blood clot from forming but it can also ease cramping and other uncomfortable symptoms.
If you have questions about compression socks and whether they can benefit you then it’s time you turned to a foot specialist who can help answer your questions and make sure your feet are getting the proper day-to-day care they need to stay healthy.
You are ready to get into bed and fall fast asleep; however, your legs have other plans. Perhaps you feel as if your legs have a mind of their own and feel the urge to just keep moving. Whether you’ve experienced this feeling while lying in bed or relaxing on the couch after a long day at work, you may be dealing with restless leg syndrome (RLS).
Restless leg syndrome is a nervous system disorder in which people feel this need to move their legs. This condition may also be classified as a sleep disorder if you are someone who experiences this throughout the night and, as a result, has trouble sleeping.
Besides feeling the urge to keep your legs moving, those with RLS may also feel a “pins and needles” sensation in the legs. You will notice these symptoms most often while sitting or lying down. While people may have symptoms of RLS that are milder, those with severe leg discomfort may find it near impossible to sleep at night.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to pinpoint the root cause of someone’s RLS; however, one factor that most people with RLS have is that family members have also dealt with RLS during their lifetime. Of course, there are certain factors that can trigger RLS episodes such as:
- Chronic illnesses (e.g. peripheral neuropathy; diabetes)
- Medication (e.g. antihistamines; antidepressants)
- Lack of sleep
While there is no diagnostic test out there that will definitively prove whether someone has RLS, you should visit your podiatrist for an evaluation. While a blood test may be performed in order to determine whether a certain medical disorder could be the cause, most of the time just discussing your symptoms, as well as your personal and family medical history is all that’s needed for your foot doctor to determine whether you have RLS.
Since there is no cure for RLS, the most important thing your podiatrist can do is help you manage your symptoms and to improve your sleep. In people with mild-to-moderate RLS, most of the time certain lifestyle modifications is all that’s needed. Certain lifestyle changes include:
- Regular exercise
- Adopting better sleep habits
- Reducing or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products
Sometimes medications are also prescribed to help treat symptoms of RLS. Common medications include benzodiazepines (sedative), narcotics, anticonvulsants and dopaminergic drugs.
If you believe RLS is affecting your quality of sleep then it’s time you turned to a foot specialist who can get to the bottom of your symptoms and help you manage your condition more effectively.
Do you notice that your feet seem to sweat quite often? Are you looking for a way to tame this embarrassing condition so that you can wear shoes without leaving a puddle behind? Have you tried a variety of products but not found relief? If so, then you may have been told that baby powder is a great way to dry up the sweat and prevent odor. Can baby powder really be all that you need to clear up your sweaty feet?
Baby powder can be made from either cornstarch or talcum powder. If you also have sensitive skin then you may be looking for a product that will tackle your sweat problem without irritating your delicate skin. If this is the case, there are products on the market that are medicated and provide safe relief with a pleasant cooling effect.
Of course, baby powders aren’t without their cons. Some people dislike how messy this product can be. If you sweat a lot you might end up with clumps of baby powder on your feet and in your shoes. Even though baby powder won’t be as effective as an antiperspirant, it can be a good way to reduce sweaty feet.
However, there are certainly other ways to tackle foot sweat and odor without resorting to baby powder. One effective way is to make sure that you change your socks often and opt for a light, breathable material like cotton. Also, choose leather or canvas shoes that allow your feet to breathe, and don’t wear the same shoes twice in a row. After wearing your shoes, apply a talcum powder or antiperspirant to the shoes and allow them to thoroughly dry for at least a day before wearing them again.
When washing your feet everyday opt for an antibacterial soap, which can help fight the bacteria that cause offensive foot odor and sweat. While sweaty feet may seem like a rather self-limiting problem, if you are having trouble tackling this issue on your own (or if nothing seems to help reduce how much your feet sweat) then this could be caused by a medical condition. This is when you should turn to a podiatrist who can determine the cause of your excessively sweaty feet and how to treat the problem.
Don’t let sweaty feet embarrass you any longer. Turn to a foot doctor who can help!
Getting older means many changes to your healthcare routine. It can be overwhelming! The podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center in Reston/Herndon, Ashburn/Leesburg, Fairfax/Burke and McLean/Great Falls work with their senior-aged patients to help them understand and protect the health of their feet, which can help maintain the rest of their health as well. You can learn more about senior foot care here.
Importance of foot care for seniors
As we age, the circulation power of our blood begins to diminish. This means that injuries can take longer to heal. This is especially true of injuries that affect the feet, which are the furthest away from the heart. Activity lessens as well, which further contributes to the lack of output in blood circulation. Therefore, foot injuries, even minor ones, can be very difficult to treat. They may even go unnoticed until a severe systemic infection develops; this is especially true for senior patients who have diabetes. That's why it's so important to work with your Reston podiatrist to be proactive about senior foot health, whether it's for yourself or a loved one.
Foot care basics for seniors
The main way to maintain your health as an older person is to practice prevention. First, your podiatrist cautions all senior patients to avoid going barefoot, even around the house. Putting on thick socks or "house shoes" as soon as you wake up can help lessen your chances of developing a foot injury. Good hygiene helps too; the feet should be washed and dried carefully and inspected daily for any developing problems. Our foot doctors can show you the best way to practice this helpful routine. You should also talk to our foot specialists to learn the proper ways to trim your toenails to prevent ingrown toenails or other problems. Finally, call to report any injury, no matter how insignificant, to the staff at Family Foot and Ankle Center so we can assess your situation.
If you or a loved one is in need of some senior foot care information, contact Family Foot and Ankle Center to schedule an appointment with one of our trained podiatrists today! Call (703) 723-2719 for Reston/Herndon office, (703) 723-9267 for the Ashburn/Leesburg office, (703) 273-9818 for the Fairfax/Burke office or (703) 556-8637 for the McLean/Great Falls office.
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