Standing Long Hours – Health Effects and Solutions

Do you have a job that requires you to stand for long hours? For example, athlete, flight attendant, janitor, traffic warden, hairdresser, hospitality staff, among many. If so, you may have noticed that aside fatigue and tiredness there are other significant effects it has on your body and health.

This article will address some of these issues and provide you with a number of solutions that will help you deal efficiently with them, as follows:

Health Effects

The most frequent symptoms described are fatigue, discomfort, and swelling in the legs. When you stand for long hours, there is a reduced blood supply to your feet causing soreness. This poor flow of blood is what stimulates fatigue and causes your neck, back, and leg muscles to ache. Bear in mind that these are the muscles specifically responsible for an upright position.

Prolonged and continual standing also results in injury to the joints, tendons, ligaments, and bones hence multiplying the chances of getting different foot and leg problems. These foot problems include corns, calluses, bunions, flat feet and hill spurs.

Additionally, the lengthened frequent standing tendencies could cause inflammation of the veins. If it worsens, you're looking at a case of long-term and painful varicose veins condition.

What's more, standing too much may result in the joints of the spine, hips, knees, and feet becoming immobilized briefly. This motionless state can likely cause rheumatic diseases as it leads to the deterioration of tendons and ligaments; they are responsible for joining muscles to the bone. This deterioration happens because normal lubrication and cushioning of the synovial joints is reduced.

Cardiovascular problems are at times due to prolonged standing as a result of blood accumulating on the foot or around the ankles hence lowering the circulating blood plasma volume and allows for hemodynamic impactful changes to happen. Such as the progression of carotid atherosclerosis which is what could lead to periphery artery disease, coronary artery disease, aneurysms etcetera.

As much as it is encouraged for pregnant women to move around and exercise, standing or walking for more than six hours a day is discouraged. It has been associated with premature births, low birth weights and at times high blood pressure in the mothers. Slouching which is basically bad posture or what is otherwise referred to as neutral spine is also a common long-term effect of prolonged standing.


Just as there are quite a number of health issues linked to standing, there are also solutions and measures you can take to ensure safety as you go about your day, they include:

Sit down the whole period of your allowed breaks. Preferably, with your feet up in order to lift the weight off your feet, this, in turn, causes better blood circulation. You may choose to air your feet by taking off your shoes and socks. Suppose you have no eating area at your place of work, you can visit a nearby mall, park or bring to work your own folding chair or stool.
Try rubbing a golf ball with your bare feet as well. This eases tension from the soles of your feet and prevents pain and inflammation of the ligaments and tendons.

1) How and where you stand

Ensure to change standing positions, move about thus boosting blood circulation and relieving tension from your feet and legs. Avoid standing on floors that offer no cushioning, insulation or shock-absorption such as metal, concrete, and marble. Rubber, cork, or wood overlaid floors are otherwise advised.

If you work outside, standing on a grassy spot will do the trick. As not all workplaces have the recommended floors, anti-fatigue mats will be a fit replacement as they are known to lower the occurrence of leg problems. These mats are mainly made of rubber but there are those made of other materials such as leather, wood or foam.

Choose those with sloped edges to reduce tripping hazards and remember to replace them frequently. Carpets are also a suitable alternative as they provide more cushion than concrete and prevent cold transfer to your feet interfering with blood circulation.

2) What type of shoes you wear

Wearing shoes that fit is not only comfortable but prevents corns, blisters, and foot aches. Do your shopping during the day because your feet are usually larger then. If under any circumstances you have to choose shoes that don't fit, go with the larger pair other than the smaller.

Wear shoes that don't change the shape of your leg and that give space to move your toes. Too narrow and shallow shoes lead to fatigue and pain. Shoes that offer a steady grip are advisable as they give stability while walking and running. Arch supports are a plus in shoes as they prevent the flattening of feet.

When wearing lace-up shoes, close-fit the laces footstep, hindering the feet from slipping inside. Now, if you insist on wearing heels, pick those with a wide base and are between 2.5 cm to 5 cm (1 inch to 2 inches) high. Shoes with a heel higher than the given range could make your body lean forward, hence allowing for imbalances from your lower back to your feet.

These create foot strain, low back problems, knee pain and I'm sure as you have witnessed in the streets, imbalance while walking. Similarly, flat shoes are a no-no in that they bring strain to your Achilles tendon. All in all, choose shoes that you're comfortable in and that are appropriate to the kind of work you do.

Check Our Shoes Recommendations: Top 17 Best Shoes For Standing All Day At Work In 2017 | ShoesTracker

3) Beneficial remedies

  • Foot baths

Soak your feet in warm Epson salt and water solution to ease swelling, pain, and inflammation. The salt relaxes the muscles and relieves restless leg syndrome which interferes with sleeping cycles.

  • Massage

This eases muscle tension and aids blood circulation. If self-given, use a wooden roller under your feet. Do some foot and calf exercises afterward this is highly therapeutic.

  • Exercise

Losing weight reduces foot and leg issues immensely as the more you weigh, the more pressure you put on your feet. Feet problems like knock knees, flat feet, and fallen arches are most common in overweight persons. Increasing cardiovascular exercises such as jogging or walking will help you lose weight as well as reducing your calorie intake.

  • Shoe orthotics

These are shoe insoles that offer arch support and shock absorption. Mainly, they help treat plantar fasciitis which causes pain to the bottom of your feet. So as to fit, you may require a bigger shoe size than your usual if you choose to use insoles.

Apply the given solutions to your day to day life and protect yourself from the mentioned, and many more health effects caused by prolonged standing. I hope you have enjoyed learning and use these links that I used as my main source of reference to gather more information:​​

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