If you are one of the fortunate ones who have had the pleasure of caring for a loved one, the time together is priceless, but the stress on the body seems to take a toll especially on your feet.
On many occasions the caregiver must stand for long periods of time, so after a while, the body begins to suffer and the feet begin to ache and throb from over use. In addition to foot problems, standing all day can create additional health challenges from backaches, leg cramps, bunions and joint pain. There isn't a whole lot we can do to help you with your extended hours of care, but we can offer a few suggestions for taking care of your feet and help prevent additional discomfort.
Take time to stretch - you may think this simple tip may be overused or boring, but the experts believe it is crucial for you to take time to stretch your legs and feet several times a day. By finding time to stretch, you will certainly feel better late in the day and when you get out of the bed in the morning. According to Lexington Podiatrist, Dr. Nichole Freels, stretching should decrease foot fatigue and by dedicating just 15 minutes a day to stretching and it will pay dividends for years to come. She believes stretching can provide instant relief, but more importantly it will help prevent injury. By simply doing some stretching everyday you can help eliminate stiffness and promote circulation.
Wear proper shoes that fit well - it is extremely important to wear shoes that are comfortable and fit properly. In a piece written by Livestrong.com, it is vital to make sure the shoe shape conforms to the shape of your foot and the heels of the shoes don't slide up and down while you walk. Livestrong believes there needs to be 1/2 inch of space between the tips of your toes and the tip of the shoes. Also, make sure the sides aren't too tight and the tops are made from a flexible material and that the soles provide plenty of cushion. Livestrong also thinks it is a good idea to consider over-the-counter arch supports and possible silicone heel pads for additional support.
Pay attention to your posture - whether you are on your feet for a short or long time, it is always a good idea to pay attention to your posture because it can determine how your whole body feels at the end of the day. If you check your posture periodically during the day, think about standing tall, head up and shoulders back always concentrating on good posture.
Tennis ball roll - one of my favorites is the old fashion tennis ball roll. The Shoes for Crews blog says it sounds simple, but it can really make a difference. To get the best results from this exercise, you should sit in a chair and remove your shoes and socks. Place a tennis ball on the floor and press down on it lightly with the bottom of your foot. It is helpful to roll it around on each foot for a few minutes and you can do this as long as you wish.
Walk and resistance - According to Harvard Medical School, walking is one of the best forms of exercise for your feet, and it helps your entire body. It improves your cardiovascular health, circulation, muscle tone, and mood. Resistance exercises are typically done with weights or bands. With your muscles working against some kind of resistance, it should strengthen the muscles lending more support to the foot and body.
The American Podiatric Medical Association reports 77% of Americans experience foot pain and only 1/3 of those will seek expert advice by a podiatrist and receive treatment.
These tips should help caregivers and all Americans who have tired and aching feet. If your pain continues to cause problems without relief, it makes good sense to seek professional help before the pain gets worse.