Whether your job involves cashiering, food preparation, stocking shelves, or taking inventory, working in retail often involves standing on your feet for eight or more hours a day. If you are not diligent about your foot care routine, standing can take a toll on your feet and ankles. Wearing the proper footwear, using personal protection equipment (PPE) for your feet, and taking breaks can help. Here is what you can do.
1. Wear the Correct Shoes for Your Work
Choosing the right footwear means more than finding a good fit and comfortable shoe. Your footwear also needs to provide protection.
For instance, retail workers who are employed as a food prep assistant, cook, or chef need to wear slip-resistant footwear. When working in a food preparation environment, floors are likely to become wet or greasy.
The soles of the shoes should provide traction and resistance against oil and grease. Extra support for the heel as well as shock-absorbing insoles are also important so you can avoid pressure from standing on your feet for an extended period of time.
Many retail employers offer special shoes for this purpose to their employees — often at a discount price.
2. Use Anti-Fatigue Floor Mats Whenever Possible
Anti-fatigue floor mats are especially useful for cashiers who must stand in one spot for hours at a time. If your work floor is hard concrete or cement, then your feet may become tired and achy at the end of your shift. An anti-fatigue mat is typically made of padded rubber and made to relieve foot fatigue.
3. Change Your Work Position From Time to Time
If your job involves standing in one spot continuously, it is important to change your position periodically. If you are able to use some type of footrest, then do so. Also, shift positions so that you are not bearing weight on one foot continuously. Standing in one position continuously may cause foot fatigue or even injury.
4. Take Frequent Breaks
As a retail worker who stands on their feet for hours, you must remember to take frequent breaks. During these breaks, arch and stretch your foot. Rotate your ankles, too. You can do these foot and ankle exercises while sitting.
5. Care for Your Feet When You Are Not Working
It is also important to take care of your feet when you are not working. One thing you need to do is keep the circulation moving. To promote good circulation, try massaging your feet — especially at night after a long day. A warm soak in a foot bath is another way to care for your feet or ask your partner to pamper you with a foot massage.
6. Consider Custom-Made Orthotics
Having custom-made orthotics for your feet may help ease your discomfort from standing all day at work. These orthotics may provide support and help relieve stress on your foot muscles and joints. A foot expert can help ensure you receive a product that is manufactured to high standards.
7. Check Your Feet Daily
Caring for your feet means identifying issues before they escalate into something serious. After a long, hard day of retail work, sit down and have a good look at your feet.
For roughened skin on your feet, use a gentle moisturizer. Wash your feet, and then dry them thoroughly before putting your socks on. Also, remember to protect an open cut or blister with a bandage before you put your footwear on.
Follow the advice above and practice good foot care habits to prevent issues later. If you experience foot problems, schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist.