business woman backache pain standing

That Standing Desk is Not So Great for Your Feet

In Wellness by Alnoor Ladhani, Chiropodist

The verdict is in on the health risks of sitting for prolonged periods of time, and it’s not good news. As it turns out, sitting for too long is not good for your health. In studies conducted into the effects of sitting for hours on end, it was found that the risk of suffering from a number of medical conditions is significantly increased.

Chief among the health risks which are exacerbated by prolonged sitting are cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes. For those who work in offices, trucking, or other professions which involve sitting for four hours or more, these findings are understandably concerning.

However, these studies have also resulted in a large number of businesses taking extreme measures in an attempt to address the problem. Introducing the standing desk: a workstation which aims to address the problem of oversitting.

The problem with this solution is, humans are not designed to stand for long periods of time, either. By going to the other extreme, well-meaning bosses could be burdening their employees with unnecessary foot problems.

Plantar Fascia and Plantar Ligament Strain

Foot care is complex. It involves maintaining a number of habits to keep feet and toes healthy. Standing for eight hours a day is not one of them. The plantar fascia and plantar ligaments are not designed to take the strain of you spending excessive amounts of time on your feet.

The ligaments, when sitting, are allowed to relax. When you are standing for a few hours or more, however, they become strained. If you have ever attended a stand-up concert or similar event, you may have already experienced the early effects of standing for too long.

Given that the human feet cannot tolerate ligament strain for more than a few hours, it begins to become clear that standing for eight hours or more is not a good idea. In fact, the longer a person has to stand each day, the more ligament damage is pronounced and prolonged.

Signs of Strain or Damage

Pain from standing too long will usually first present in the heel or arch of the foot. A burning sensation, cramps, tightness in the ligaments of the foot or toes, and cramps in the calves are all indications that you are overstressing your feet.

Lower back pain is often an early indicator of foot problems, too. As your body attempts to relieve the strain on your legs and feet, it will cause you to adopt a more comfortable posture. However, this type of overcompensation results in an unnatural arch in your spine which can cause back pain.

Ultimately, you will be unable to maintain this posture and eventually rest back on your feet. Your ligaments will have received minimal relief, while your spine will have often suffered irreparable damage.

Healthier Alternatives

If you work in an office, standing up when you are speaking on the phone is actually a much more preferable alternative to standing all day. While standing, you are better able to communicate ideas through body language. What’s more, you won’t have to worry about spending too much time on your feet and causing damage to supporting ligaments.

If you must stand for most of the day, you may want to consider investing in an anti-fatigue mat. These mats are designed to reduce the impact on the feet. Salon workers find anti-fatigue mats extremely beneficial in maintaining good foot care.

However, as with all things, the most important step to good foot care is balance. Yes, make sure to stand up and walk around as often as possible during your workday. However, do not spend the entire day standing up or walking around if you can avoid it.

Moderation will prove way more beneficial for your overall health; so, remember to look after your feet, too. If you cannot avoid staying on your feet for the majority of the working day, make sure to arrange an appointment with Step By Step so we can assess any potential damage and provide you with effective footwear or treatments to reverse or reduce the damage.