Is Your IT Desk Job Killing Your Feet (and You)?
Posted by Jenn F. on Tuesday, December 25th, 2012
Every year more Americans are working in sedentary jobs. We sit at desks in front of computers all day, barely moving for hours at a time. Sedentary jobs comprise a full 80% of the jobs in America. Many of these are IT jobs, one of the country’s fastest growing sectors. These jobs don’t require any physical movement: workers are coding or working online for eight hours every day. It’s no wonder more and more Americans are obese. According to a recent study, working at a job that requires little or no physical activity equals a reduction in 120-140 calories burned per day. That may not seem like a lot, but over the years, it really builds up. Today, an estimated one in three Americans is obese. That is a shocking statistic. Obesity is linked to a wide range of health issues, from heart disease to diabetes, and it’s terrible for your feet.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you probably know that feet are one of the major casualties of heart disease and diabetes. Good circulation is critical for healthy extremities. Without it you can develop neuropathy, a loss of sensation in your nerves; and peripheral vascular disease, poor blood flow resulting in slow healing and the possible development of ulcers or gangrene. Any injury, from a blister to an ingrown toenail, can blossom into something dangerous. For example, many diabetic patients end up losing limbs because of infection. Some even die.
Part of what makes these illnesses so terrifying is their silence. You can have pre-diabetes or early stage heart disease and have no idea. If you aren’t monitoring your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, your illness could be progressing while you go about your life completely unaware. The condition of your feet can be a life-saving warning sign.
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to prevent these job-related health problems without transferring to park ranger patrol.
- Get moving! Even small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference. Stand up and stretch every hour. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk around the block on your lunch break. The more you can stimulate your large muscle groups, the better. If you can motivate yourself to go for a jog after work, even better.
- Improve your diet. Everyone knows that diet and exercise matter, but few of us really take it to heart. If you’re concerned about the health of your feet (and the rest of you) try making healthier food choices as often as possible. If you hate vegetables, start by drinking some V8. If you can’t stand fresh fruit, have some dried apricots. Every little bit counts. Improving your diet can have far-reaching implications, protecting you from heart disease and diabetes, but also from illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
- Get your annual checkup. Never avoid the doctor. In many cases, the early stages of type 2 diabetes and heart disease are reversible. But once significant damage is done, it’s too late for lifestyle changes like diet and exercise to be your only treatment.
- If you notice anything strange about your feet—excessive coldness, numbness, pain, color changes, or ulcerations—visit a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) as soon as possible.
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.