As this New Year rolls in, many Canadians are either starting to or continuing to find themselves working from a new office; their homes. While the commute is great, there are some things to keep in mind that will help keep you and your feet healthy and happy.
If you normally work outside of the house, your feet will be used to wearing socks and footwear which provide you with both cushioning and support. Sitting and walking around your house in bare feet is quite a shock and can have a negative effect on your comfort levels. Imagine going from 8+ hours a day of support to a sudden drop off; the intrinsic muscles in your feet are suddenly being asked to do a lot more work than they are used to.
If you are experiencing aches in your feet or even in your lower legs after a couple weeks or months of being at home, the lack of footwear may be the cause. Step one will be to choose a pair of soled footwear: slippers, sandals or shoes will work. Soft soled or knit slippers do not offer the stability that your feet are seeking. Check that the footwear is strong and stable through the midsole and if you are spending blocks of time on your feet, 30 minutes or more, consider grabbing a pair of runners or adding an insole to your indoor footwear.
If your job has you sitting from morning until night then you should be checking your feet and ankles for signs of swelling. When you do not walk more than a couple steps in a row, the blood has a difficult time being pumped up against gravity. Normally the calf muscle acts as a pump to keep the blood flowing well. Compression socks are a useful tool that aid blood that has been pumped to your extremities back up to your heart. Compression socks come in different compression levels along with different styles and materials to match your needs. It is always suggested you talk to someone with experience before starting to wear compression socks. It is also a great idea to set a timer/schedule time for some 5-10 minute breaks that allow you to get up and walk around the house…or even better a quick stroll around the block.
You may find that after sitting for an hour or more, you have some stiffness when you do get a chance to stand. Try a couple gentle ankle twists and knee flexes, some soft movements while seated to help your feet and legs prepare for you to stand. If you have slipped off those indoor shoes then remember to slip them back on before you get up from your desk. These small and simple steps can go a long way in keeping you pain free.
If you are finding yourself glued to your seat for most of the day, there are different tools that you can use while at your desk. Foot massage balls, foam rollers, calf stretchers can all be used in a seated position and may be helpful for you.
Canadian Certified Pedorthists are working within the new COVID-19 protocols and are happy to provide you answers to questions or concerns you may have about your feet and legs and how to keep your feet happy and healthy while working from home. To find a pedorthist near you visit www.pedorthic.ca/
By Jasmine Basner, C. Ped (C)