Hair stylists and other beauty, health, and wellness professionals often spend most of their workday on their feet. And to make matters worse, they often have to lean, bend, and stand in other awkward and even unnatural positions and postures.
This can cause significant acute and chronic foot pain, as well as pain in the lower back, hips, knees, shins, and elsewhere—not to mention other problems like blisters and swollen feet. The pain and discomfort can become a source of daily stress, negatively affecting mood, the ability to focus, job performance, and quality of life in and out of the salon or studio.
These tips for standing all day at work help prevent temporary aches and pains, as well as long-term complications. And they let you focus on your clients, rather than that distracting discomfort.
Preventing Pain When You Work on Your Feet
- Wear comfortable, supportive, padded, well-fitting shoes; get extra support and stability by choosing shoes with soles that are slightly wider than the heels.
- Place a cushioned anti-fatigue mat at your work station.
- Don’t lock your knees while you stand in place or move around; over time, locking joints can cause trauma to them.
- Stand with your legs spread slightly apart for a wider, more effective base of support.
- While the way you have to position yourself to work frequently prevents this, keep your shoulders back and your chin up as often as you can.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles as you stand to engage your core, which takes some of the burden off your knees and feet.
- Include core exercises in your fitness regimen to make the above tip easier and more effective, and to improve your posture and balance.
- Shift your weight, change your position, and move around as often as you can.
- Sit down between clients, even if it’s just for a minute.
- Start and end your workday with a variety of stretches; get some in during the course of the day too, when you can.
- Give yourself a foot massage at night, using moderate pressure on the soles of your feet; treat yourself to the occasional professional massage.
- Soak your feet—or your entire body—in a warm bath at night.
- Lie down with your lower legs elevated when you unwind after work.
- Stay off your feet as much as possible outside of work.