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What Helps Tired, Achy Feet?

According to health.com, Americans take an average of 4,774 steps per day. Per year that’s 57,288 and that figure quickly escalates into the millions as we get older. Our feet are responsible for carrying our body weight around all day (and sometimes all night) while walking, running, dancing, or just standing for hours at a time. It’s no wonder that at some point, most people suffer from tired, achy feet.

Why Do My Feet Ache?

Coming home from work, exercise, or a night out with sore, aching feet is no fun. But it happens a lot, especially to women. Women are nine times more likely to develop problems with their feet than men, according to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AOFAS). Feet hurt and ache for a myriad of reasons, but for women, wearing shoes that are too small, too tight, and too high-heeled is almost always part of the problem.

Sore feet from standing all day

Another main culprit of sore feet for women—and men—is doing a job that requires long hours of standing or walking. To make matters worse, people do so on hardwood or cement floors while bending in awkward and uncomfortable ways, straining joints and muscles.

Working on your feet is worse when you can’t or don’t move around, causing joints to tighten and reducing blood flow to your muscles. It’s important to not stand still for too long at a time, especially if you’re doing a repetitive motion task. Try to stretch and move frequently, even if it’s in a confined space.

Standing all day on hard surfaces can really make your feet tired and achy, but even worse is wearing bad footwear with poor arch support, little or no shock-absorbing cushioning, and shoes that are inappropriate for what you’re doing. For example, nurses don’t wear high heels—they wear comfortable shoes with a roomy toe box, laces, and a comfortable heel that lifts and supports the foot, so feet can feel less tired.

What Helps Tired, Aching Feet?

Good quality, well-fitting shoes are the best help for sore, tired, and aching feet. Your shoes should provide good arch support and padding, helping to reduce weakness and soreness in the legs and feet. Flats may seem like an obvious choice if you work on your feet, but they aren’t actually recommended for prolonged standing. Your heel should be between 1/4-inch and two inches high.

How to relieve tired, aching feet at work

You can make tired and sore feet feel better with a few easy exercises and adjustments:

  • Change positions frequently: Walking around, stretching, and standing in different positions can alleviate pressure on your feet and distribute your weight more evenly.
  • Alternate standing with sitting. Remember to sit if you are standing for long periods of time. Use breaks or slow periods to sit down and rest your feet.
  • Cover hard surfaces. If your job requires you to stand in one spot or in a very small area for hours on end, and it has a cement or hardwood floor, see if you can get a gel mat or a rug to provide cushioning for aching feet. In a pinch, you can lay one or two flattened cardboard boxes under your feet.
  • Wear comfortable and supportive shoes and inserts. Buy shoes with good arch support and cushioning to prevent sore feet. Or add cushioning insoles to shoes you already own.

Relax your aching feet after work

Even with proper footwear, a long day on your feet is tiring. You can help alleviate aching and sore feet by:

  • Resting your feet. Get off your feet after any activity when you’ve been on them for a while. Put them up on an ottoman, or go ahead and lie down on the couch and rest completely. Elevating your feet above the rest of your body will help decrease the day’s swelling and any soreness. You can place your feet against a wall or on a stack of pillows.
  • Soaking your feet. Treat yourself to a footbath to relax all the muscles in tired feet. Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salts for 10-15 minutes to relieve aching and soreness, or use an Epsom salt gel to rub into your feet if you’re short on time.
  • Massaging your feet. Foot rubs feel good even when your feet aren’t sore, but they’re also a great way to soothe your feet, release pressure, and relieve aches and pains from standing or walking all day. Using aromatherapy oil or lotion while massaging your skin will moisturize rough skin and calluses too. Better yet, have someone else massage your feet!

Stretches for achy feet

You can do these exercises at home or at work, whenever you need relief for tired feet:

  • Ankle cross. Sit with your feet on the floor. Place one ankle across the opposite thigh, foot flexed slightly. Using the hand on the same side, gently pull your toes back towards your shin until you feel a stretch along the arch. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and release for 10 seconds. Repeat a few times with each foot.
  • Heel cord stretch. Stand facing a wall with one leg forward, slightly bent at the knee. Straighten the other leg behind you with the heel flat and the toes pointed in slightly. Lean forward with both heels flat on the floor, pressing your hips towards the wall for 10-30 seconds. Repeat a few times with each leg.
  • Calf stretch: Face the wall and place your hands against it, chest or shoulder height. Extend one leg behind your body, keeping the other knee slightly bent over your ankle. Push your heel down to the floor and hold for a few seconds. Repeat a few times on each leg.
  • Hip stretch: Circle your hips in a figure-8 motion, shifting your balance from one side to the other to loosen lower body tightness and increase blood flow to the feet.

Pads and Inserts for Tired, Achy Feet

Over-the-counter orthotic inserts can help align the foot, provide extra cushioning, and absorb shock while walking or standing for long periods. A gel pad under the ball of your foot can ease pain as well.

  • PROFOOT Flex-Tastic—It doesn’t always take a trip to the spa to pamper your feet. Just slip on a pair of Flex-Tastic gel massagers for five minutes and your feet will thank you. Their professional design doesn’t just separate your toes, it aligns them, relieving joint and muscle pain from being on your feet all day.
  • PROFOOT 2oz. Miracle Insoles—The unique two-layer design of this insole molds exactly to the shape of your foot, providing relief for sore feet instantly. The bottom layer is a shock absorber that lifts your arch and stabilizes your heel while cushioning the impact from walking. The top layer is an advanced memory-foam that adapts to the shape of your foot as you walk. Within an hour, the 2oz. Miracle insole will feel like it was a custom fit orthotic. Sizes available for men and women.
  • PROFOOT Epsom Salt Foot Gel—Go beyond moisturizing to bring relief to tired feet instantly without soaking them. The concentrated Epsom Salt Foot Gel offers convenient, on-the-go therapy for sore, swollen, and achy feet. Made with 83% Aloe Vera to soothe, moisturize, and calm swollen, achy feet. Epsom salt soothes muscle tension and aches; cooling peppermint oil and wintergreen leaf extract revives tired feet.
  • PROFOOT Heel Rescue Foot Cream—This superior moisturizing foot cream with Argan oil is specially formulated to penetrate, moisturize, and repair even the toughest cracks and calluses. And the non-greasy, fragrance-free formula will leave your feet feeling soft, silky-smooth, and revitalized.