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When you’ve been on your feet all day…

You don’t need to suffer from a specific foot condition or complaint to benefit from foot exercises. You may have simply been on your feet for hours, traipsing round the shops for Christmas gifts, for example, or you may work in retail/hospitality and you’re on your feet for hours at a time because it’s the busiest time of year…whatever your commitments or routine, aching, tired feet can be uncomfortable at best but feel quite painful at their worst.

woman with red nails putting her feet in a flowered bath

Submerge them

If you’ve been on your feet for a long time, your feet will not only be tired from the weight they’ve supported, they may have also felt constricted by your footwear. Once home, it’s helpful to simply allow everything to expand. Soaking them in warm water will achieve this and the heat will also soothe your discomfort.

Rola Cola

Another reason for aching feet can be down to your ligaments feeling tight. Roll your feet over a plastic pop bottle from your fridge (or freezer—but wrap it in a tea-towel if so, don’t let the frozen bottle touch your skin directly). Feel the stretch of your soles as you roll the bottle back and forth. The cold will help to numb your feet whilst the rolling action will lengthen your ligaments.


Being on your feet for hours on end can also make your toes and calves ache. Raise your heel with your weight on the ball of your feet, then stretch the foot further so it’s on tiptoe. This action stretches the calf muscle as well as the big toe joint and your arches. To the same aim, practice splaying your toes out then curling them back in.

Figure eights

Your ankles may also ache after hours spent on your feet; they may even become swollen from an excess of fluid. This is called oedema and it results from standing or sitting in the same position for a long time. To reduce the swelling, raise your ankle in the air and draw a figure eight with your foot. The ankle rotation will improve blood flow and help to dissipate the fluid that’s built up.

Ask a favour of a loved one

A foot massage can feel amazing when you’ve been stood up all day. Gentle pressure can improve your circulation and also soothe the joints of your feet. Ask your partner to place both their hands around one foot at a time, their fingers on the top and their thumbs under the pads of your toes. Their thumbs should stroke each toe with a little pressure in turn. Ask them to use the same motion on the ball of your feet, then over your arches and across your heel.

Lose your marbles

To exercise your toes, drop a few marbles or pieces of Lego on the floor and try to pick them up with your feet. It’s harder than it sounds, but it will help you practice your toe curls and stretch the top of your feet. Just make sure you’ve picked up all the marbles/bricks before you decide to walk over the same area with bare feet, as unknowingly stepping on one will hurt like crazy!


If a day on your feet is not a one-off for you, it may be a good idea to get some compression socks for those times when your feet and ankles ache. Compression socks apply pressure continuously when worn, which can reduce swelling and that aching feeling, as well as improve your circulation.

If you find that the pain or swelling doesn’t reduce or go away altogether when you’ve followed these exercises and allowed your feet to rest, it may be worth getting in touch with us to ensure there’s no other condition that’s causing you discomfort. You can reach the Morley practice on 0113 238 0330 or Wombwell on 01226 492412.


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