The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

How to Be Thankful and Take Good Care of Your Busy Holiday Feet

Posted by on Thursday, November 27th, 2014

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Last year, online shopping jumped 15 percent to $1.2 billion on Black Friday. Despite this increase, there will still be many shoppers doing it the old-fashioned way — standing in line, hitting the malls, spending many hours on their feet. Aside from that, there is holiday cooking, cleaning, and entertaining that will require many more hours of standing. New York podiatrists are generally very busy with foot pain cases after the holidays. Don’t be one of them! Here are a few helpful tips from The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan.

Shopping can take a toll on your feet. Prevent holiday problems before they start. Image from Flickr User powhusku
Shopping can take a toll on your feet. Prevent holiday problems before they start. Image from Flickr User powhusku

Two Foot Pain Busters For Thanksgiving Hosts

First and foremost: BUY NEW SHOES.

We like to tell people that their holiday preparations need to start before Thanksgiving and before Black Friday. Mark a day on your calendar at least a week or two in advance as a reminder to purchase a new pair of shoes. This is not a “treat” or a guilty splurge! Most people are walking around in worn-out shoes that have not been replaced in a year or more.

Ideally, you want to buy new footwear every 500 miles — or about every four to six months. Even if you “don’t wear these shoes often,” there is still a shelf-life on the materials and they can degrade just sitting in your closet. The adhesives and shock-absorptive foam in shoes are particularly susceptible to degrading over time, say experts. Look for comfortable shoes with roomy toe-boxes, stiff soles, arch and heel support, as well as ample padding. You’ll not only want to wear your shoes out shopping, but also when walking in the home — even if you are just walking from the stove, to the oven, and to the fridge all day.

Secondly, invest in a cushioned kitchen mat.

Studies have shown they greatly reduce foot pain and leg fatigue associated with long hours of standing while at work or completing household chores. Place the mat near the kitchen sink or the cupboard where you do most of your chopping and stirring. The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends the Genuine Joe Anti-Fatigue mat and the Smart Step Anti-Fatigue mat. Whenever possible, sit at the table to assemble your dishes or chop ingredients.

Feel-Good Black Friday Foot Tips

Beware over-the-counter products. From Dr. Scholl’s to Power Step, the number of over-the-counter orthotics and foot support devices is staggering. Some of these products can be helpful, but nothing beats the personalized approach a podiatrist can give you. In a pinch, you could prevent some foot pain using a device from your local pharmacy, but you also want to consider how it will fit in your shoe. Sometimes adding extra bulk contributes to corns, blisters, and bunion aggravation.

Stretch! Before hitting the malls, warm up your Achilles and hamstring muscles. Fitbie has a good rundown of stretches you can do before you pound the pavement. Stretching and hydrating yourself adequately after your excursion can prevent Charley horse cramps and tightness later on.

Switch up your footwear. Even the most comfortable footwear can be a pain when you’ve been wearing the same pair all day. Try to bring an extra pair of shoes in the car to change into after a few hours to give your feet a chance to recover. An extra pair of socks doesn’t hurt to have on hand either.

Stay dry. Cotton socks are likely to become saturated after a few hours of walking. Sprinkle powder into a pair of synthetic blend socks for drier feet.

Soak em! At the end of the day, soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salt for 20-30 minutes. Top it off with an essential oil foot rub. Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and prop your feet up to take the swelling down. A topical like Biofreeze can also help when the pain is maddening.

Advanced Pain Treatments for Holiday Feet in NYC

We hope that you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday and shopping season. If the pain does not subside within a week of trying home remedies, please come in and see us. We are always taking new patients and offer a number of progressive therapies to zap your pain away. Depending on your diagnosis, we may recommend gentle ultrasound waves, biopuncture blends, custom orthoses, platelet rich plasma, or any number of other non-invasive treatments to help you recover quicker.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.