What do construction workers,  nurses, restaurant workers and retail sales people all have in common? It is consistent daily pounding on their poor feet.  We all have hight demands on our lower extremities and making sure they are properly cared for needs to be a high priority. Whether you work in the OR, the ER or on the floors, only you can save your soles.

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Feet are amazing pieces of engineering. Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints and 19 muscles. The whole structure is held together by more than 100 ligaments. Finally, there are approximately 7,000 nerve endings in your foot. No wonder they hurt. So what do you do to fight foot fatigue, perish pedal pain, heal hurtin' hooves? Here are a couple of answers for nursing your feet back to good health.

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Consider being fitted for orthotics. I don’t necessarily mean the custom fit Cadillac models while they are usually a good bet to reduce fatigue and increase function, you can save a little money in the short run by trying and over the counter pair. If you can fold them up or bend them with ease they are unlikely to be of any short or mid term benefit.  When shopping for an otc orthotic, look for a confortable somewhat firm set that does not deform in your hands easily. They are likely to last about 6-8 weeks before needing replacement. But if you find that they work, talk to your foot doctors at emerald coast podiatry about being fitted for a custom pair just for you

Change your shoes. Clogs are cute and sneakers are safe, but there are dozens of different shoes and styles on the market and not everyone's feet need the same gear. Walking shoes should be replaced every three to six months, and essentially, walking is what you do for your job. Treat your work shoes like the athletic gear they really are. Don't go by appearance. Shoes can still look great on the outside while the inner supports are totally worn out. Best advice: have at least two pairs of work shoes and rotate them. Also, get fitted properly at least once a year. Age, weight, and how much you exercise can all change your foot size and shape. Bad shoes equal bad feet.

Stretch. It is as important to stretch your feet as it is the rest of your muscles. Lie on your back and lift up one leg to a 90 degree angle; hold there with both hands. Point your foot then flex it with a full range of motion. Do two sets of 25 point-and-flexes per foot at least two times per week. Plantar Fasciitis is pain in the flat band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes. Anyone who walks, stands, or runs for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces, is prone to developing this excruciating ailment. The most common way to fix it is to stretch your feet. Place a towel or belt around the ball of your foot and do a slow, steady stretch, pulling towards your body. It may take several weeks to resolve.

Soak them in Epsom Salts. It sounds like a remedy from Grandma but it is proven to work. Take 20 minutes to half-an-hour and let your feet soak in a mixture of warm water and epsom salts. The combination of warm water with the magnesium in the salt eases the pain in your overworked muscles and joints.

Your feet are a precious commodity as a nurse, sales team member, runner, or mom. You cant do your job or enjoy life to the full if you are limping and grabbing hold of the coffee table because of pain in your heel or arch. Keep your feet healthy, pamper them a little and give them appropriate support and rest. None of us is getting any younger and our feet need to carry us a long way for a lifetime.

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