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Question #92398 posted on 06/27/2019 12:48 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do people stand/walk all day without excruciating foot pain? I work as a cashier and a teacher, so I'm on my feet 4-8 hours a day six days a week. I have been working this schedule for three years, and for five years before that I had 4 hour shifts 3-6 days a week. And still, my feet can't go one hour before they get sore, two before they hurt, and four before the pain is so bad that it hurts for several minutes after I sit down before starting to feel better. I've looked into google, and everyone say's to get special shoe inserts, but those are way too expensive, and at most give me an extra hour without extreme pain. Not much of a difference when I'm working 40 hours a week.

So what do people do to prevent/reduce foot soreness? What did people do before inserts, when they were standing all day?

-Miss Frazzled


Dear Franny,

I think you may have some kind of medical condition with your feet.

The summer after my freshman year I worked at Zupas and so was on my feet quite a bit. I remember that, while my feet would be sore by the end of a 12 or 14 hour shift, I never experienced anything close to excruciating pain. And over time my feet grew resistant to becoming sore at all. Even now, I walk six miles every day, and my feet are completely fine. They were sore for the first 1 or 2 days that I started walking so much, but then they adjusted and I haven't had any soreness or pain since. 

I don't wear any special inserts, or even what would be considered the best shoes. And perhaps it's uncommon for there to be people like me who don't need to do anything special to keep their feet happy, but the fact that all the reviews you found suggested inserts implies that inserts are enough to solve the problem for most people. Obviously it isn't for you, and so the best advice I can give is to speak to an orthopedic doctor. Unfortunately, that will be expensive, but if you're constantly dealing with pain, it's probably worth it.



Dear Miss Frazzled,

I think the problem is the standing, not the walking. There are tons of articles out there indicating that standing is much harder on your body and feet than walking. Just last month I walked 28,000 steps during an all-day theme park visit and my feet felt totally fine. But my job involves standing at a computer for 8-10 hours a day without moving, and at the end of a shift my feet are killing me.

I still recommend talking to a podiatrist and getting their advice, because I've tried moving around more and getting more supportive shoes and nothing has helped. But I just wanted to chime in and say that it could just be the standing as opposed to a foot condition. Or maybe I have a foot condition too. Because I've had plenty of jobs that involve being on my feet and walking for 8+ hours a day, and it's never hurt this much. I wish I had better advice, but I feel your pain.




Dear person,

What Anathema said. I have had jobs that required hours a day on my feet and never experienced any foot pain other than soreness that went away after the first few days. If I were in your shoes (pun absolutely intended), I would go to a doctor and get that checked out.



Dear Miss Frazzled,

Along with the traditional disclaimer that we're not doctors, I'm here to second Anathema and Sheebs. Whenever I've had to stand for long periods of time, my feet will always be pretty ache-y at the end of a long day, which I think is normal for most people. However, severe pain is different from aching or being sore, and the times in my life where I've had severe and persistent foot pain from standing, it's been an actual medical problem (yooo, chronic plantar fasciitis!), that means I now have to be a lot more careful about how I treat my feet (buying more expensive but better shoes, sitting down more even when I'm teaching, using my special foot brace at night if necessary, etc.). 

Also, I remember answering this same question from you about a year ago. If nothing has improved since then, and your feet are still bothering you to this extent, you should try something new (like going to a doctor).

Go see a podiatrist. I know it costs money, but spending money to help your feet, which you're on for a large percentage of every single week, not feel like death is worth it. Maybe they'll tell you that us worrywarts here on the Board were totally overreacting and you don't have a medical problem at all (which would be fantastic news!), but then at least you'll know, and the podiatrist can give you more personalized recommendations for how to take care of your feet. Talking to a specialist who can help you figure out what specifically is causing your pain, and what specific things you can do to alleviate it, will almost certainly be more helpful than asking us.

Even though we have good intentions here at the Board, the simple fact is we don't know what your pain is, what's causing it, or necessarily even the best foot-care practices for your specific problem. Because I've never experienced something quite like you're describing, what I do for my feet probably won't work for you, so all I could do for more advice would be google your problems, which you've already found to be unhelpful. I'm not trying to brush you off here, I just really want you not to be in pain all the time, and visiting a real-life podiatrist seems like your best bet for that.


posted on 06/28/2019 6:11 a.m.
Custom orthotics are on the expensive side (Google says $200-$300), but in my experience they are absolutely worth it. I got a pair made in 2009 before my mission and they did absolute wonders for my feet. I've been using them for ten years and I wouldn't be surprised if they last ten more - that's a cost of just $10-$15 per year. If you can afford the up-front cost and a podiatrist recommends it, it will be one of the best investments you can make.

posted on 06/28/2019 8:22 a.m.
Dear Ms. Frazzled,

When you asked your question a year ago, I could not walk from the parking lot to the door of my son's school without disabling pain.

Over the years, I've been to multiple different podiatrists, and ONLY ONE has prescribed orthotics that cost over $40. A year ago in August, I went to an orthopedist for a second opinion about foot surgery. He took one look at my $200+ custom orthotics and said "these can cause problems". *ANGRY FACE*

Every other doctor suggests starting with "Superfeet" orthotics. Runner's Corner and Modern Shoe have them - the key is to get a sales person who is familiar with problem feet. They wear out, so get new ones every 6-12 months, or when you start noticing problems.

Next, try some home physical therapy. Google "towel scrunch for foot". Do this in the morning and evening. Every. single. day. And get good at lifting marbles with your toes.

If you've got good shoes, good orthotics, and you are stretching daily, and you are still in pain, see a doctor.

You may need physical therapy called ASTYM or Graston. (Foot Massage!) If you've seen a doctor that has recommended surgery or expensive orthotics before trying this physical therapy, hobble away fast to a new doctor! It is more effective than surgery, but it is about $200 or so per treatment. WORTH every penny!

I also suggest you consider finding a job that gets you off your feet, because working as a cashier is costing you your health, and thousands of dollars in future doctor's bills, MRI's, lost wages, etc. Not only that, but those students you've been working so hard to teach deserve a great teacher that's not grumpy due to pain.

~8 EEEEE with heel spurs (who has worked her way out of surgery!)