Whether you are a mom, ready to get 8 hours of your life back, or the teacher about to spend your days at the chalkboard (do those even exist anymore?), it is time to get back to school and back on your feet.
Whether you are a mom, ready to get 8 hours of your life back, or the teacher about to spend your days at the chalkboard (do those even exist anymore?), it is time to get back to school and back on your feet. For parents of school age kids, this means long lists of school supplies that seem impossible to track down. It is getting back to a day structured around drop-offs and pick-ups, and projects that you didn’t have time for in the summer. For teachers, this is a grueling day of standing in front of a classroom with kids that wish they weren’t there and then sitting for hours grading papers and preparing projects. Whatever the change may be in the coming weeks, it is important to properly care for your feet. So here is a quick checklist for the “back to school” season:
- Wear good shoes! Standing or sitting, the load on your feet changes from Summer to Fall. Forget the flip flops and open sandals! You need shoes that support your arch and prevent stress on your plantar fascia. I always recommend using the “Taco Test” to decide whether a shoe offers good support. This is a very complex scientific test where you take your shoe and try to fold the toe to the heel like a little taco shell (brilliant, right?). If it folds at the arch and you can make the heel and toe touch, that shoe fails the “Taco Test”. For the David Lee Roth type of teacher, high heels are okay for some feet and terrible for others (read high heel blog).
- Stretch your feet and ankles. The muscles of your lower legs and feet tighten with increased time on your feet. Take a few minutes each day to stretch your calf and hamstrings. By stretching these muscles you decrease the pull on your heel. This reduces the tightness to the arch and plantar fascia and reduces the fatigue to your feet. It is especially important to remember to stretch the foot after long periods of sitting. As you sit, the muscles and tendons contract and with the first step after rest it can cause significant pain to the heel.
- Kick up your feet. Remember when your teacher would grab your ear and pull you in the hallway if she caught you with your feet on your desk? Well this is actually a great way to reduce swelling to your feet and ankles. As you stand all day, gravity pulls your blood towards the ground. This results in swelling at the lowest spot gravity can find-your feet. By elevating your feet above the level of your heart during or at the end of the day you can help reduce the amount of swelling to your feet. Additionally, a good pair of knee high, mild compression socks can help prevent excess fluid from being retained below your knee.
- Air it out. Now that we anticipate the Fall and cooler temperatures we begin wearing close-toed shoes and socks. This increases the chance for things like toenails fungus and athlete’s foot. Fungus thrives in warm, moist, dark environments. Inside of a pair of warm socks, nestled up between the warm toes and fed with a constant supply of moisture from sweaty feet, the fungus sets up a cozy hiding place. Allow your feet to breath fresh air by going a few hours a day (possibly sleeping) without socks. If using foot cream between your toes, always rub it in completely so it doesn’t become macerated. Limit toenail polish to no more than 2 weeks. Wear moisture wicking socks instead of thick, heavy, non-absorbant types.
Keep your feet in mind as you start your back to school planning. Make simple decisions to help keep you on your feet this upcoming school year.
For more questions regarding shoe selection, foot care, foot surgery or more contact:
Foot and Ankle Specialists of The Woodlands
9191 Pinecroft Dr #225
The Woodlands, TX 77380