It’s spring! Depending on where you live, the trees and shrubs may be budding; the flowers may be blooming; and the grass may be growing greener and higher. Usually that means it’s time to start doing yard and garden work – mowing the lawn; putting down fertilizer; pulling up the weeds or spraying them; and planting flowers, herbs and/or vegetables.
When it comes to yard or garden work, most people equip themselves with the right tools to get the job done. But they often don’t put much thought into what they’re wearing when they’re gardening – other than wearing comfortable clothes that they can get dirty. As for their shoes, many people probably end up wearing old athletic or walking shoes. Or if it’s really hot outside, they may even opt for flip-flops. Then they wonder the next day why their feet and legs are sore.
Gardening can exert a lot of pressure on your feet, especially your toes. When you squat for a long time period, this motion forces your big toe joint upward. Eventually the prolonged compressive force on the bones in the toe joint can lead to inflammation, arthritis and loss of joint motion.
Gardening is also associated with other foot problems.
- Bruised and/or ingrown toenails due to kneeling for prolonged time periods or friction on the toes from not wearing socks with your shoes to cushion your feet. You can also get bruised toes by stubbing your toe while working or by dropping a heavy object on them.
- Foot and ankle swelling due to walking or standing for too long; working in high heat and humidity; wearing tight socks that restrict normal blood flow; fluid retention; or uncontrolled high blood pressure.
- Foot and toe cramps due to not properly stretching your legs; kneeling for long time periods without taking frequent breaks; or from wearing socks or shoes that are too tight.
- Arch or heel pain due to shoes that don’t fit properly or are worn down.
- Plantar fasciitis due to overuse of the plantar fascia ligament; added stress on the plantar fascia from being overweight; or overpronating when you walk.
To prevent foot problems from occurring while you do yard work, you should:
- Properly stretch your foot, ankle and leg muscles first.
- Take frequent breaks to stretch your legs and rest.
- Drink plenty of water to reduce muscle cramps and swelling.
- Wear properly fitted shoes/work bootsthat have adequate padding to absorb shock and are sturdy to protect your feet from injury. Your shoes/work boots should have proper arch support to reduce strain on your plantar fascia. Also, shoes/work boots with deep tread or cleats will help prevent slips and falls, especially on wet grass or mud. A shoe or boot with a rounded, deep toe box will prevent pain from ingrown toenails, corns and bunions. Refer to our Shoe Fitting Guide for more information on how to correctly fit your shoes.
- Wear socks with your shoes/work boots. Socks made with moisture-wicking materials will absorb sweat and keep your feet cool.
- Bend from your knees and never your waist when picking up heavy bags or other landscaping materials.
- Use a kneeling pad or sit on a small bench to prevent excessive force on your toes.
- Use long-handled tools to reduce excessive bending and stretching.
- Consider wearing a custom orthotic, like the ezWalker® Performance Insole. Unlike over-the-counter arch supports which are produced as mirror-matched images of each other, ezWalker® insoles are custom made to the exact specifications of each of your feet – providing you with the right support you need. The ezWalker® realigns your body by providing your feet with a proper foundation and guides your feet to a better biomechanical gait with each step you take. Functional custom orthotics, like the ezWalker®, will support your feet as you work in the yard, keeping them comfortable and relieving general foot fatigue.
By taking a few minutes of preparation and the necessary precautions, you’ll be able to enjoy your yard and garden with less foot pain this spring and summer.
For more information on ezWalker® Performance Insoles, visit our website. These insoles are ultra thin and ¾ length, so they work well in most footwear. Plus, they easily transfer from shoe to shoe – saving you money. Proactive use of ezWalker® insoles can safeguard against the strains, sprains and other foot conditions, like plantar fasciitis, caused by gardening injuries. Plus, the ezWalker® has been proven to improve foot health within one year of continued wear. So put a smile on your face and spring in your step with ezWalker® Performance Insoles. Order your pair today!
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.