Foot pain can keep many adults stuck in a chair even longer than they already are during the normal course of a day at work. And when it comes to truck drivers, long bouts of sitting are both a job requirement and an unavoidable hazard, at least if you plan to keep trucking.
Reasons you might have foot pain
Foot pain can be caused by many factors like bunions, hammer toes, arthritis and scar tissue, but let’s not forget a reason that is often overlooked — lack of use and immobility. The hard, flat surfaces we walk on are, for the most part, not made for human feet. Walking on asphalt and concrete doesn’t stimulate our feet and muscles the way they should be daily.
We can’t remove the pavement, but we can improve our foot function and mobility.
5 fitness exercises and strategies to reduce foot pain on the road
- Get your shoes off.
Shoes are like casts, binding and restricting our feet. What does a cast do? It immobilizes body parts. It’s no wonder your feet feel stiff and sore, and it hurts to walk — those muscles haven’t moved in ages, and now they’re stiff, tight, aching and atrophied. Start small. Take your shoes off and walk around in a clean area in small doses. Try moving and stretching your toes and using your entire foot when you walk; this is a practice most shoes help you avoid. There’s a saying: “Use it or lose it.” If you’re wearing shoes 24/7, you might be losing it.
- Walk on uneven natural surfaces.
Try to find patches of ground that require your body to balance, stabilize and use more muscles when you walk. Have you ever gone hiking and then your legs, ankles and feet were sore the next day? That’s because you were using muscles you usually don’t, and in new ways. When you can, opt to walk on grass or dirt instead of concrete.
- Roll out your feet.
Inside your truck, you can roll your feet back and forth on a ball or frozen water bottle to break up the stiff, tight fascia (think of this as millions of spider webs restricting your feet) on the bottoms of the feet. Start gently, with varied pressure. All that crunching, cracking and discomfort is your feet saying, “It’s about time you moved me!”
- Stretch your calves.
Everything is connected. You may have been told to immobilize your feet when you have pain. That pain may disappear, but the restriction causing the pain hasn’t. Moving any body parts has various benefits, such as increased circulation, proper lymphatic drainage, improved mobility and a reduction in pain. After teaching and working with thousands of people in pain, many with issues like plantar fasciitis and knee and hip pain, I’ve discovered that stretching the calves is a straightforward exercise that often has almost instantaneous effects. Here’s how:
Standing, take a small step back with one foot.
- Point both feet forward.
- Level and square the hips.
- Slightly bend the front knee and keep it bent.
- Slowly bend the back knee without lifting the heel.
- Hold for five counts and then straighten the leg.
- Repeat this 10 times on each leg.
- Try using pain creams.
Pain creams are an excellent topical solution that can help reduce discomfort so you can do the work you need to do. Always use creams as directed— and don’t forget to read the ingredients, as many are made with “junk” ingredients that don’t really work.
Try any of these powerful driver’s exercises and find time to implement them before you head out for the day, on break while filling up with fuel, or before you go to bed. I believe you’ll experience less pain and cramping, as well as improved mobility.
Hope Zvara is the CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga, a company devoted to improving truck drivers’ fitness and wellness standards. She has been featured in Forbes and Yahoo News, and is a regular guest on SiriusXM Radio. Her practical strategies show drivers how they can go from unhealthy and out of options to feeling good again. Find out more at www.mothertruckeryoga.com.
Hope Zvara is the CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga, a company devoted to improving truck drivers’ fitness and wellness standards. She has been featured in Forbes and Yahoo News, and is a regular guest on SiriusXM Radio. Her practical strategies show drivers how they can go from unhealthy and out of options to feeling good again.