Give Your Feet A Little Love: 4 Postural Resets for Foot Pain
Article At A Glance
If the last two years have taught us anything, it has been that the once unimaginable Zoom conferences and virtual strategy meetings are now just another day “in the office.” With each day feeling a little like Groundhog Day, working from home is associated with different challenges that we must face to stay productive, comfortable, and motivated. Speaking of office, have you stepped back to look and think about how your home office setting may be helping or hurting your postural alignment and productivity? Perhaps some postural resets are in order.
Since COVID, the number of standing desk sales has surged. This has created a new type of ergonomic stress associated with working from home—prolonged standing!
4 Postural Resets for Foot Pain
Below are our top four postural resets to reduce pressure and stress to the feet, knees and lower which can be associated with prolonged standing. All are designed to be easily integrated throughout your day and keep you on track for your next conference call.
Postural Reset #1: Foot Release
Did you know that prolonged standing is just as stressful on the body as prolonged sitting? As we stand in one place, typing away on our Macs, we are putting constant stress onto the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and calf muscles. In fact, prolonged standing is one of the biggest contributors to plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.
To help reduce stress to these structures, integrate a five-minute foot release every two hours you are standing. Simply stand on a golf ball, tennis ball or Neuro ball—one foot at a time—and feel the tension in the feet melt away. If standing on a ball feels painful for your feet, you can instead stand on one foot and roll a ball under the sole of your other foot, massaging it gently.
Postural Reset #2: Pelvic Rocks
Standing in one place puts excess pressure on the pelvis and lower back, as this is where our center of gravity is located. As our postural muscles start to fatigue the pelvis often rocks forward into an anterior tilted position, which compresses the lower back.
Integrating pelvic rocks throughout the day is a great way to gently stretch the muscles that surround the lower back as well as to wake up the stabilizing core muscles. Perform 10 rocks for every hour you are standing. You can do this from a seated or supine position. The instructions below explain how to practice in a chair.
- Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor. (If your chair has wheels, lock them, or find a chair that doesn’t have wheels.)
- As you inhale, tilt your pelvis forward, arching your lumbar spine. As you exhale, curl your spine backward.
- Practice 10 repetitions, following your breath, before coming back to standing or neutral sitting in your chair.
Postural Reset #3: Painting Rainbows
This is another great technique for reducing stress to the lower back as well as the upper spine or ribcage. Due to the integrated nature of our muscles and tissue in the body, stress from the feet can travel upward, affecting our upper body as well. Perform 10 rainbows every hour you are standing.
- Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet hips-width apart.
- Raise your arms up toward the ceiling.
- Bend your torso to the right and then to the left, moving back and forth as if you are painting rainbows with your hands.
- After 10 repetitions, return to standing and lower your arms. Take a breath or two to feel the aftereffects.
Postural Reset #4: Quadriceps Stretch
And finally, a postural reset would not be complete without opening up the fronts of our hips. This simple quadriceps stretch can take pressure off the lower back and allow the pelvis to sit in a more neutral position.
Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and perform every hour standing.
- Stand in Mountain Pose facing a wall. If you don’t have wall space available, you can stand facing your desk or the back of your chair.
- Place your right hand on the wall, desk or chair back.
- Shift your weight onto your right foot.
- Bend your left knee and reach your left hand back to grab ahold of your left foot.
- Draw your left knee back so that your knee is extending toward the floor.
- Hold for 30 seconds, breathing and relaxing into the stretch.
- Release your foot to the floor and tune into your legs. They played very different roles in this pose, so notice the differences.
- Repeat on the other side.