Hairstylists Need to Cut it Out! Five Easy Tips for Eliminating Foot Pain
Posted by Jenn F. on Monday, January 7th, 2013
Hairstylists are some of my favorite people. Most of them are chatty, friendly, and entertaining. I think keeping customers happy and engaged is just as important as delivering a great haircut or style. It’s a social job that appeals to a certain type of person: bubbly, effervescent, bright… someone who is fun to be around. But under all that verve and pep (down near the floor) there’s pain. When compared to a non-hairstylist population, hairstylists report significantly higher levels of musculoskeletal problems including work-related leg and foot pain. According to fitness trainer Sarah E. Rippel, B.S., C.P.T., “The pain starts from the ground up — traveling upwards as you shift your weight from one foot to the other, moving your hips out of alignment creating pain and injury to feet, knees and lower back.” Indeed, foot pain is the number one complaint of hairstylists and, as loyal Healing Feet readers can attest, foot pain is the first symptom of a wide range of difficult-to-manage disorders, from bunions to plantar fasciitis. So what can hairstylists do to protect their feet from the rigors of all-day haircutting? Keep reading…
1. Shoes, shoes, shoes. It’s a no-brainer: standing for long periods of time hurts. I mention the importance of good, supportive shoes almost every day because it is so darn important. Hairstylists may feel pressure to wear heels or other fashionable footwear, but ill-fitting shoes can cause long-term damage, dramatically reducing the number of years you can continue working as a hairdresser.
2. Correct your posture to reduce your pain. Improper posture can result in sore hips, knees, and feet. The musculoskeletal system isn’t just a bunch of discreet bones, it’s a network of closely interlinked components. When your back is hunched to the left, your right hip rises to compensate, your right knee and foot bear a disproportionate amount of your weight, and eventually you feel pain. Those salon chairs can be raised and lowered for a reason. Don’t dip and weave to cut behind the ear, raise and spin the chair to a level that’s comfortable for you.
3. Use an ergonomic stool. A stool designed to support your back, with smoothly rolling wheels, and an adjustable seat can help you rest your feet without taking a break from work.
4. Use a footstool at the hair-washing station. Karie Bennett, owner and master stylist at Atelier SalonSpa in San Jose, C.A. says, “We discovered that putting a 6” high footstool under each sink was a no-brainer because with one foot resting on the stool, the pressure on your lower back is lessened immediately as you lean over to shampoo!” Less back pain means less hip, knee, and foot pain.
5. Anti-fatigue mats can help absorb shock, giving feet an additional layer of protection. Catherine Davilla, Business Development Manager for Tough Guy® International Anti-Fatigue Mats says, “It absorbs the shock. These mats force a slight movement of your feet that keeps the blood circulation constant instead of stagnant. You won´t be able to stand in the one position with your hip cocked to one side as you foil and that´s by design.”
If your feet are still hurting and none of these solutions seems to help, visit The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) for an evaluation.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. 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.