If you’re a solopreneur who spends all day on your feet, you are likely no stranger to foot pain. In fact, one 2020 study found that as many as 36% of people experience pain, achiness, or stiffness in their feet.
Finding ways to avoid this pain can keep the workday from feeling longer than it is. It also enables us to better enjoy our lives outside of work.
To help with this, I reached out to foot expert Laina Gossman, founder of Soul Insole shoe orthotics. Here’s what she had to say.
Practice Foot Self-Care
You know how doing a little self-care can help relieve stress, take away muscle aches, and make your body feel better overall? Well, the same strategy applies to your feet.
“Give your feet little massages in the morning, before you get out of bed, and at night,” suggests Gossman. “You can also soak the feet in a warm Epsom salt bath to help nourish and provide relief from soreness.”
Exercise Your Feet
“Regularly doing foot exercises to strengthen the muscles in the feet can make a big difference for those who spend long hours on their feet each day,” says Gossman. Don’t worry, you don’t have to set aside an extra hour a day just to make your feet more resilient. Just a few minutes is all you need to keep them strong and pain-free.
Exercises that Gossman suggests include:
- Pointing your toes
- Picking up things with your toes
- Balancing on one foot at a time
- Calf stretches (lunges, reaching for the toes, or heel raises off the edge of a step)
- Arch lift (plant all four corners of the feet, tilt the ankles outward, tighten the glutes, and tilt the pelvis forward to help raise your arches)
You can even do some of these foot exercises while working at your computer. “Balance on one foot while standing at your standing desk,” says Gossman, “or point your toes while sitting down sending emails or crunching numbers.” Solopreneurs tend to be good multi-taskers, so this is one way to use this skill to your advantage!
Rotate Your Shoes
If you tend to wear the same shoes every day, this may be contributing to your foot pain. “Every pair of shoes is made differently,” says Gossman. “They bend in different places. They might be tighter or looser in different areas.”
That’s why she suggests switching into different shoes halfway through the day. If your day is spent out and about, such as when providing in-home customer services, take a second pair of shoes with you and switch into them at lunchtime. “You can find a lot of relief for your feet,” says Gossman.
Consider Foot Orthotics
Another strategy for protecting and comforting the feet is the use of orthotic devices. “Orthotics, also known as shoe insoles with arch support, help reduce stress on the feet and improve alignment for the feet and ankles,” Gossman explains.
These in-shoe supports are beneficial in other ways too. “Orthotics can also help absorb impact and improve your foot posture while walking and standing,” shares Gossman. “By adding the right amount of posting or arch support to stop over-pronation, this can reduce risks of injury as well.”
Alternate Between Sitting and Standing
At-home solopreneurs who use standing desks sometimes develop foot pain. To keep this from happening, but still avoid the health risks of sitting all day, Gossman recommends that you “mix your day up with standing part of the day and sitting for part of the day, if possible. Too much of either can be hard on the body.”
Another way to reduce foot pain while using a standing desk is to purchase a floor mat. “I recommend getting a 1.5″-2″ thick floor mat to protect the feet and reduce the amount of pressure and strain on the bones and ligaments while standing,” Gossman says.
Just because foot pain is common doesn’t mean that it has to be tolerated. “Time is money for the busy business owner,” says Gossman, “so let’s do our best to make sure foot pain won’t slow you down.”