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Are your legs and feet feeling the strain of standing all day? Whether working in a bustling retail environment, a busy restaurant, or a packed ward, learning how to prevent strain can help you stay focused on your work — not discomfort.

These eight effective ways will help give your feet and legs the TLC they deserve, with practical tips and techniques to alleviate pain, reduce fatigue, and promote overall well-being. From simple stretches to ergonomic footwear choices, discover how small adjustments can make a big difference in your daily comfort and mobility.

Try these 8 tips to relieve foot pain from prolonged standing

If you do jobs requiring prolonged standing, whether you're a nurse, teacher, or construction manager, try these tips to prevent foot pain:

  1. Move around frequently. Take short walks, do light stretches, or change positions. Moving helps improve circulation and prevent fluid buildup in the lower limbs. When you are on your feet, pay attention to your posture. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and distribute your weight evenly between them. Avoid locking your knees or slouching.
  2. Wear compression socks or stockings. Compression socks or stockings apply gentle pressure to improve blood flow and reduce swelling and discomfort in the lower limbs.
  3. Elevate your legs during breaks. Prop up your feet above heart level whenever possible to promote better circulation. You don't need special equipment — a chair or ottoman will do.
  4. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps prevent swelling in the lower limbs. Dehydration can worsen muscle fatigue and cramping.
  5. Wear comfortable, supportive footwear. Shoes with good arch support and cushioning can go a long way in keeping your lower limbs comfortable. (More on this below.) Comfortable, supportive shoes can help ease discomfort by providing proper cushioning and alignment.
  6. Use orthotics or arch supports. Shoe inserts like custom orthotics or arch supports can help align the feet properly and reduce muscle pain and leg strain during long periods of standing. If you have to stand on hard surfaces for extended periods, consider using an anti-fatigue mat, which provides cushioning and support for tired feet.
  7. Do calf raises and leg stretches. Perform simple leg stretches throughout the day to help loosen tight muscles. Focus on stretching your calf muscles, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Simple exercises like a calf stretch, runner's stretch, and a tennis ball roll (especially if you have plantar fasciitis) can improve circulation and relieve muscle tension.
  8. Sit down when you take breaks. Whenever possible, take short breaks from the standing position. Even just a few minutes of sitting or walking can reduce pain. Alternating between standing and sitting will give you a well-deserved rest.

The best shoes for preventing sore feet

Good shoes become all the more important when circumstances or your job require standing all day. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing shoes to stop foot pain in its tracks:

Comfortable sneakers

Choose a pair of sneakers with ample arch support and cushioning. The arch support helps maintain the natural alignment of your feet while cushioning absorbs impact, reducing stress on your joints. Additionally, a flexible sole allows for ease of movement, accommodating the shifts and adjustments your body naturally makes during prolonged standing.

Running shoes

Athletic shoes, particularly those designed for physical activity like running or walking, often incorporate features that facilitate extended periods of standing. Look for shoes with supportive features, such as cushioned insoles, breathable materials, and a durable, grippy, non-marking sole for slip resistance and stability.

Orthopedic shoes

Orthopedic shoes can be a game-changer if you have specific foot issues or need maximum support. These shoes are crafted to provide stability and alleviate discomfort. They often feature customizable insoles and supportive designs tailored to promote foot health.

Gel inserts

Use gel inserts or custom orthotics to improve the comfort of shoes you already own. Gel inserts provide additional cushioning, absorbing shock and reducing the strain on your feet. They are particularly beneficial for those needing extra support.

Low-heeled shoes

Steer clear of high heels, as they can contribute to discomfort and fatigue over time. Instead, opt for low-heeled shoes or flats with adequate arch support. Lower heels help distribute your body weight more evenly, reducing strain on your feet and promoting a more natural posture.

Anti-fatigue mats

Complement your footwear choice with an anti-fatigue mat to stand on while working — whether in a restaurant kitchen or workshop. These mats cushion your feet and reduce the pressure on your legs, enhancing overall comfort. They can be especially beneficial on hard surfaces, providing a supportive layer between your feet and the ground.

Rotate shoes

To prevent overuse of specific muscles and joints, consider rotating between different pairs of shoes throughout the week. This practice allows your feet to experience varying levels of support and comfort, preventing strain from repetitive use.

Consider your environment

When selecting your shoes, consider any workplace safety requirements or dress codes. Ensure your footwear complies with these regulations and prioritizes comfort and support. If needed, explore professional or business-casual options that align with your workplace standards.

Recovery shoes

Recovery shoes can be an excellent option if you stand all day, especially for individuals seeking comfort and support to alleviate pain and fatigue. These shoes provide the necessary cushioning and structure to maintain posture and reduce tension while standing at a desk.

Discover Kane Recovery Shoes!

Kane's recovery shoes provide excellent support, comfort, and durability for those in need of top-notch recuperative footwear. Featuring an adjustable hook-and-loop single strap synthetic upper, plush TPR footbed, as well as a durable injected EVA outsole, these kicks come with all the right features to assist you during your rehabilitation journey.

Aside from providing quality products, they are also committed to sustainability, having made plans to become a B Corp while dedicating 1% of their overall profits towards environmental charities.

When and how to wear Kane Revive

The best moment to wear most recovery shoes is directly after a strenuous activity such as running or exercising. This helps minimize inflammation and launch the healing process. To guarantee maximum comfort and effective recuperation, make sure that you are wearing your recovery footwear correctly by tying up laces securely for a snug fit around your feet.

Try these exercises to reduce leg and foot pain from standing

Doing these six exercises can help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your feet and legs, reducing pain and discomfort from standing all day.

Calf stretches

1. Standing lunging calf stretch

This calf stretch helps promote flexibility and circulation in the calf muscles, which can become tight and cramped from prolonged standing.

  • Stand facing a wall, place palms flat against the wall
  • Step one foot back into a lunge position, keeping toes pointed forward
  • Push the heel of the back leg towards the ground until you feel a stretch in the calf
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, switch legs

Foot stretches and strengthening

2. Toe raises, points, and curls

  • Sit with feet flat, raise heels, keeping toes on the floor
  • Point toes, keeping heels raised 
  • Curl toes inward, keeping heels raised
  • Repeat each movement 10 times

3. Toe splays

  • Spread toes as far apart as possible without straining
  • Hold for 5 seconds, repeat 10 times
  • You can use a rubber band around the toes for added resistance

These exercises help stretch and strengthen the muscles and improve foot mobility.

4. Marble pickups

  • Use toes to pick up marbles from one bowl and transfer to another
  • Works the muscles on the underside of the feet

Leg Stretches 

5. Standing quad stretch

  • Use a wall for balance; kick one heel towards the buttocks 
  • Grab the ankle/foot and gently pull the heel towards the buttocks to stretch the quad
  • Keeping thighs parallel, hold for 20 to 30 seconds on each side

6. Seated lumbar flexion

  • Sit upright and bring your knees towards the chest until you feel a stretch in the lower back
  • This stretch helps increase flexibility in the lower back after prolonged standing

Frequently asked questions

How do you relieve leg pain from standing all day?

Standing all day can be taxing. When your feet hurt, it's hard to keep going. But there are ways to find relief.

Take breaks whenever you can, even just for a few minutes. Stretching throughout the day helps, too. Focus on your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps to loosen tight muscles.

Giving yourself a leg and foot massage with essential oils (or using a foam roller or tennis ball) can help you relax when you feel tired and promote circulation. Elevating your lower body when possible reduces swelling and boosts blood flow.

What you wear can immensely improve your comfort level. The right shoes should provide cushioning and support (especially if you have flat feet or high arches). Wearing compression socks can aid circulation.

Staying hydrated and maintaining good posture — feet hip-width apart, weight evenly distributed — can help prevent discomfort from setting in in the first place.

If standing all day is causing pain, try reducing discomfort by applying heat or soaking in warm water (add Epsom salts, which may help). If pain persists after trying home remedies, talk to a healthcare provider to rule out foot conditions, find the underlying cause, and recommend additional treatment.

Why do my feet/legs hurt from standing all day?

Your legs and feet likely hurt after standing for prolonged periods due to several factors.

Standing for extended times reduces blood flow and circulation in the legs, causing fluid to pool and accumulate and leading to swelling, aching, and cramping sensations in the legs and feet.

When standing, your leg muscles must work constantly to support your weight. This overuse without rest causes the leg muscles to become tired, tight, and painful.

Prolonged standing puts extra pressure and strain on the joints in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips, leading to joint pain and stiffness.

Leg pain from standing could be a symptom of a chronic venous disease, like venous insufficiency (where the leg veins weaken and allow blood to pool in the legs), varicose veins, peripheral artery disease, or other circulatory issues that restrict blood flow to the leg.

What are some lifestyle changes that can help prevent leg pain?

One of the most effective ways to prevent or alleviate leg fatigue and pain is to exercise regularly, especially walking.

A regular walking program can improve blood flow and circulation in the legs by promoting the formation of new blood vessels. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of walking daily, taking breaks as needed.

Wear compression stockings or socks. These garments apply gentle pressure to improve blood flow from the legs to the heart and can reduce leg swelling, aching, and cramping.

Elevate your legs when possible. Taking breaks to elevate your legs above heart level can help promote better circulation and prevent fluid buildup that leads to pain and swelling.

Stay active and avoid prolonged sitting or standing. Moving around frequently, even with simple stretches or position changes, can improve circulation compared to sitting or standing for too long.

Wear supportive footwear to reduce foot pain. Shoes with good arch support, low heels, and cushioning can reduce strain on the legs and feet from prolonged standing.

Stop smoking and control other risk factors. Smoking dramatically increases the risk of peripheral artery disease. Managing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol is also essential.

Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids can help reduce fluid retention and swelling in the legs.

Will my legs get used to standing all day?

It is unlikely that your legs will fully get "used to" standing all day in a way that eliminates pain and discomfort. 

While the muscles in your legs may adapt and strengthen from prolonged standing over time, the static posture and constant load on your lower body can still make your feet tired and lead to several issues, including muscle fatigue and joint pain.

To put yourself in the best possible position, incorporate the eight tips above.

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