6 tips for cooks who work on their feet all day

Do you ever have that aching feeling that runs through your arches and makes its way up through your legs? Believe me, I’ve been there!

From standing around prepping ingredients to bustling around during service, doing 6 or 12-hour shifts can really take its toll on your feet.

With rarely a chance to rest, it’s so important to look after the two things that keep you stable throughout the day.

Here are my top six tips for those with aching feet:

Wear the right shoes

Considering that they’re protecting you from a hard floor; having the right footwear is vitally important. You need to have shoes that allow you to stand for hours on end while offering you comfort and safety. eBay has a handy list of the top 10 shoes for chefs but I tend to stick to trusty Crocs from Nisbets. No need to be fashion conscious in the kitchen!

Consider the sock

One can never have too many socks but it’s definitely best to know which ones will actually go with the shoe to offer you a more cushioned experience. You need a sock with good compression to encourage circulation. Trust me, it’s really worthwhile to invest in at least two pairs of compression socks.

Though normally associated with older people – my Grandad had a pair – compression socks will help the foot when it comes to ankle swelling. You can find them online, from physios or sometimes in pharmacies. Alternatively, if they’re not your thing, head into a sports shop and check out their socks for runners.

Shake it out

Taking a five minute break? Try stretching out those limbs. A simple point and flex exercise can offer relief along with rising slowly on the balls of your feet and gently lowering them down.

I usually do mini-stretches when I’m tackling my 20kgs worth of potatoes!

Sit down during lunch

Though it may be tempting to have a working lunch, if you can, try to nab a chair and enjoy your food. It’s a real opportunity to take the weight off of your feet. Short of chairs? It’s not unreasonable to bring in a small fold-up one and place it somewhere safe while you eat.

Change out of your shoes after work

Because I walk home after a shift, I automatically switch into a new pair – and what a relief it is! Apart from having the amazing feeling of freedom after you take off your shoes, it’s even better when you slip on a fresh pair.

Invest in some Epsom salts

If you have a small basin, some hot water and a sprinkling of Epsom salts, you could have yourself a mini-heaven in a tub! The magnesium in the salt helps your muscles to relax and reduce pain.

Don’t have salts? Place your feet on a rolling pin and roll back and forth or get a tennis ball and place it under your arches (if you’re lucky enough to have a willing significant other, you can ask them for a foot massage!

 

Do you have any other tips for people who are constantly on their feet? Let me know in the comments below!

 

(Lead image via Wikimedia Commons/Beigal Bake Kitchen)

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