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Why do my feet hurt after standing for a long time?


Whether you are on your feet all day due to work or shuffling along in a museum or have embarked on a hiking trip in the mountains, your feet might be complaining after some time. But it could be easier to both prevent and heal than you think.

If you don’t work on your feet, but still get foot pain

It doesn’t mean your feet are not tired. When standing for long periods of time, your full body is working; and shuffling might seem totally painless at first, but the frequent change of momentum is more demanding to your muscles, your joints and ligaments.

It is also important to note that in order to return blood to your heart, circulation in your lower body has to work even harder. This demands both more energy and might cause swelling and pain. If at the same time, you experience back pain, be reassured: your body isn’t breaking down! Limb fatigue often causes cramps and back pain. Take a break, sit down for a little bit, put your legs up: this will help relieve some back tension.

If you work on your feet all day

Sitting down for a couple of hours to rest might not be an option. It is very common that people working in medicine, hospitality, in the army and other physical jobs report their feet to be hurting on a regular basis.

Ultimately, it will be difficult to ‘take it easier’ and have some more rest – the job is what it is. However, you can still make sure to reduce pain and improve your recovery routine to make sure it doesn’t get worse over time:

  • Compress calves – it might not look sexy, but it is effective! Compression socks and calf sleeves are designed to improve blood flow in calves and feet.
  • Soak your feet – why not combine the practical and the enjoyable? Run a hot bath or bucket, adding in Epsom salts and essential oils and enjoy some well-deserved recovery. Magnesium in salts will help alleviating muscle tension, and essential oils such as lavender or chamomile will help relieving the accumulated daily stress.
  • Get a regular massage – once a month or so, think about getting a massage. Chiropractic massages can be provided as medical service, and some are covered by insurance.

Be also aware of possible underlying conditions

Even if you don’t spend a significant amount of time on your feet, foot pain can come from underlying conditions. In general, overuse is one of the most common causes of foot pain. But it is also possible that the following conditions have an impact:

For more information on these conditions, their symptoms and how to treat these conditions, visit our free Injury Advice Centre. If you’re still unsure or would like further insights, we would always recommend you visit a physiotherapist or consult your GP practice.