How often do you finish your shift with aching, throbbing feet? Probably more often than you even realize. Here are a few simple stretches, exercises, and tips to help you take away the ache.
First, give your feet a fighting chance from the get-go. Don’t scrimp on your work shoes. It pays to invest in high-quality shoes that really fit, so your feet will feel loved and supported throughout the day. At work, try not to stand in a fixed position for long periods of time. Move around, bend your knees, rotate your ankles from time to time, and always distribute your weight equally between both feet.
Treat your tootsies to a foot massage. As blissful as it is to have a professional foot massage, that’s not always possible. But you can easily be your own masseuse. Here’s a short video to get you started. You can also use a tennis ball or foot roller, but there’s something especially relaxing and self-loving about doing it yourself.
Try some familiar stretches. If you’ve ever taken an exercise class, you’ve probably learned a number of stretches, many of them excellent for the feet:
- Sit on a chair, cross one leg over the opposite knee, then grasp the toes and pull toward the ankle until you feel a stretch in the sole of your foot. At the same time, massage the sole of your foot under the arch.
- For your ankles, lying on your back with your legs straight out, alternate flexing and pointing your feet; then rotate your ankles clockwise and counterclockwise. Or try “writing” the alphabet with your big toe: trace each letter in the air by rotating your ankle as if you were holding a pencil.
- Calf stretches, that must-do exercise for runners, will relieve tightness and discomfort in your lower legs. Just press your palms against a wall, lean forward on one knee with the opposite leg straight behind you. Lean closer to the wall until you feel a gentle stretch in the calf muscle of the opposite leg.
- And last but not least, give your tired feet (or whole body!) a soothing epsom salt bath. It may be an old grannie’s tale, but epsom salt is a centuries-old remedy for aching joints and muscles. Worth a try!