Thanksgiving is just weeks away, which means Black Friday – the kickoff to the intensity of holiday shopping – is just around the corner. Although you may not be able to blame it entirely on shopping, foot pain can occur as a result of all the walking and standing you do in its service.
There are 26 bones in each foot, as well as 107 ligaments, 33 joints, and 19 muscles and tendons – they work together to create a strong structure, but that still leaves a lot of room for injury. Prepare your feet with strengthening exercises so you can shop without dropping from foot pain: raise, curl, and point your toes for five seconds each to stretch out foot muscles; perform light ankle rotations to flex the joint; and raise yourself up on tip-toe before slowly lowering your heels back down to work out your calves. Keeping muscles strong and flexible can prevent painful cramping.
Before you head out, wear the right shoes for the job: your heeled booties may look great, but for covering ground during a long day of shopping, you’ll want something more supportive. People with high arches may find that heels, which pitch the foot forward into the shoe, can cause burning or aching pain in the ball of the foot, while people with flat feet may experience muscle spasms if their shoes are too flat. Tennis or running shoes can make all the difference in preventing foot pain both during and after shopping, since they provide more arch support and the padding in the soles cushions the foot and relieves pressure where it’s needed; you can also doctor up your flats or boots with padded or arch-supporting inserts. Try keeping an extra pair of shoes in your car so you can change if you end up hitting the mall after work one night.
Despite your best efforts, you may still have some foot pain when you get home from the shops. Kick off your shoes and slip into some soft socks or slippers; you may want to elevate your feet on a stack of pillows or against a wall to reduce swelling. Soaking sore feet – in warm water to relax muscles or heat up cold feet, or in cold water for painful muscles or burning sensations – can also help manage foot pain at the end of the day. Taking time to rest your feet makes it easier to keep up with the rest of your hectic holidays.