You know the feeling. You sit down on a chair at home after a long shift, take off your work shoes and close your eyes. For the next few minutes you sit calmly, feeling your heartbeat. But not in your chest – in your feet. They're throbbing like a cartoon thumb that's been hit with a hammer. After a while, you put your feet up and watch TV, but the foot pain is still there.
If it seems like your feet always hurt, especially after standing all day, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the discomfort. Keep reading to learn about four exercises that help your feet feel at ease:
1. Tennis ball roll
Foot discomfort, especially bottom of foot pain, can occur when you stand or walk for long periods of time. One of the simplest ways to alleviate some of that pain is to roll a tennis ball under your feet. It sounds simple, but it can really make a difference. For best results, 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. Roll it around for a few minutes, or as long as you want. Do this with both feet.
2. Toe presses
Bottom of foot pain is often felt in the plantar fascia, the ligament that runs between your heel and toes. Simple foot stretches can loosen this area up and provide some relief from pain. Harvard Medical School recommended toe presses for those who experience bottom of foot pain after a long day at work. Here's how to do it: Stand up on your bare feet, then lift your right leg behind you. Rest the toes of your right foot on the ground and push lightly until you feel the stretch along the bottom of your foot. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat with the left foot.
3. Ankle pumps and circles
It's not only the bottom of your feet that experience a lot of pressure over the course of the day. Your ankles play a vital role in supporting you. After a long shift, you might feel some discomfort in your ankles and you may even have some difficulty moving your feet. These two foot exercises from Mount Carmel College of Nursing should help to provide some relief. Start by laying down on your back with your toes pointed toward the ceiling. Move your feet up and down, so that your toes alternately point up and forward. Do that 10 times. Next, roll your ankles in slow circles. You should feel both of these stretches in your Achilles tendon, along the back of your leg.
4. Knee bends
When you stand or walk all day, it isn't only your feet that suffer. Your knees take a lot of the pressure as well. Exercising and stretching your entire lower body can help to prevent discomfort and may even make you less susceptible to accidents. Combined with a good pair of slip-resistant work shoes, these stretches and exercises could make you safer on the job. To improve your knees, sit in a chair with a back and place your feet on the floor. Hold onto the seat of the chair with both hands, then lift one leg only using your knee. Hold for five seconds, then lower it. Alternate legs.
Don't let foot and leg pain ruin your evenings after work. Find a stretching routine that works for you.