Last Updated on November 3, 2021 by Howard Robey
You would be surprised to know that an average human being walks 75,000 to 115,000 miles in a lifetime. Most of these steps are taken on hard surfaces that don’t offer much support to your feet, knees and lower back. One of the hardest surfaces you will encounter every day in your life is concrete.
Most sidewalks are made out of concrete. Concrete is hard. It is the hardest walking surface you will ever encounter in your life.
Concrete doesn’t give much, and it is tough on your joints. Compared to other surfaces like grass and dirt, carpeted surfaces, running tracks, treadmills, sand or snow, concrete is rock solid. Other concrete-like surfaces are asphalt, marbles, wood flooring, and tiles.
From a flooring perspective, concrete is preferred as sidewalks, flooring (mostly factories, airports, hospitals, and garages) because of its durability and ability to withstand the test of time. Properly installed, sealed, and maintained concrete floors can last a hundred years or more in even the highest commercial environments.
Since concrete floors are common around us, it is imperative to understand how to avoid knee, hip, and foot pain while working on a concrete floor. People who work on concrete all day long are at far greater risk than people who use sidewalks for a 5-10 minute walk. This article is also useful for all people who do their daily run/jog on concrete sidewalks.
Reasons behind Knee, Hip, and Foot Pain while working on Concrete Floor
Before we delve into the tips to prevent knee, hip, and foot pain while working on a concrete floor, let’s find out what causes back pain while working/walking on concrete floors.
- First of all, standing or working all day long is the appetizer for starting knee and hip pain. Once the pain starts, your joints don’t get enough time to heal from the daily wear and tear. It takes no time for this pain to become chronic.
- Second, any previous injury, strain, or spasm in feet, knees, and hips can also revive and aggravate pain while walking/working on concrete for long periods.
- The wrong type of footwear is the most common reason for back pain in workers.
- Problematic foot type, mainly due to genetics, can be a major cause of these pains.
How to Avoid Knee, Hip, and Foot Pains while working on Concrete Floor?
You don’t have to do much to prevent body pains resulting from working on concrete. Some changes in your lifestyle, footwear, and diet can do marvels for you. You don’t need a doctor to help you deal with prevention. However, you may need one if you don’t take timely action.
Let’s visit all the tips you can employ to avoid knee, hip, and foot pain while working on concrete floor.
Healthy Diet and Weight: No one can deny that a healthy diet and maintained weight are very important for your health. Many health problems start with you being overweight or underweight, and obesity is more dangerous than skinniness. Most doctors will recommend you tone down your body as the first defense against all medical conditions. Improper diet and lack of exercise is the main reason behind body pains. Excessive body pain puts additional stress on your limbs and hips, resulting in lower back pain.
Exercise Regularly: Many people who have a standing/working job don’t exercise much or hit the gym daily. They excuse themselves by saying that we walk and stand all day long. Your muscles need proper and guided exercises. You’ll need to stretch your muscles in the right direction to repair the damage caused by repeated movements all day long. You can consult a chiropractor or subscribe to mobile applications or YouTube channels that suggest specific exercises according to your condition.
Take Rest:Apart from a healthy diet and exercise, taking proper rest is very important for repairing your muscles. The human body repairs itself while sleeping. Therefore, it is important to sleep for at least 8 hours daily if you have a tough job. Your muscles undergo a repair regime during this time. The blood flow increases to the pain points.
Sleeping Posture: Pay attention to your sleeping posture if your body hurts due to working on a concrete floor. Get a good mattress that supports your hips and helps improve blood flow.
Shoe Wear: It is the most important of all. Your shoes must be comfortable. There is no second thought here. Wearing inappropriate or damaged shoes that offer little or no support to your feet while you walk on a concrete floor is like axing your foot.
Look for shoes with shock-absorbing foot beds and cushioned midsoles. Midsole cushioning is very important as you will be standing on it all day long. Something extra here will do wonders for you. Technological advancements and computerized designs have helped us revolutionize the footwear industry. Nowadays, lightweight midsoles are available that don’t add much weight to your shoes and still provide excellent comfort and stability.
Outsoles: The outsole of your shoes must be thick but not too thick. Ensure that the outsole is tough, durable, and rugged enough to withstand the temperature changes and absorb shocks or hits from any solid objects. Moreover, it must be comfortable because you have to wear your shoes for at least 10-12 hours per day.
Insoles: Insoles work with outsoles to provide comfort and stability while you work on concrete floors. You can use custom insoles for extended comfort. If you have a medical condition like diabetics, low arches, or flat feet, consult a doctor before adding insoles. Medicated insoles are easily available now. Many workers walking/standing on concrete floors recommend using custom insoles and highlight betterment in their condition after modifying their shoes.
Arch Support: Arch support is also very important in preventing back pain. Shoes with poor arch support can lead to under pronation or over pronation. Regardless of the pronation conditions, it is very important to wear the right shoes with a proper comfort level to help prevent back pain.
Shoe Dynamics: Your shoe’s design or shoe dynamics, as we like to call it, play an important role in preventing body pains. Take care of the following while buying shoes for working on concrete and other hard floors.
- Never wear heels above two inches while working on concrete floors. This goes for men and women.
- Don’t go in flats too. 1-1.5 inch heel within the sole is great.
- Get the right fit. Don’t buy shoes that are too loose or too tight. Tight shoes can hurt your toes and restrict blood supply. Loose shoes can impair your gait.
- Replace your shoes as needed. You may save a few bucks for some time by wearing damaged shoes, but it will cost you a lot in the long run.
Quality Socks: Pay attention to your socks. High-quality moisture-absorbing padded socks keep your feet fresh for long times as compared to ordinary socks. Padded socks also help prevent blisters. Moreover, make sure that your socks are generally comfortable, hole-free, and the proper size for your feet.
Stretching: Stretch your feet after regular intervals if you can. Take 1-2 minutes for stretching your feet after 1-2 hours of working/walking/standing on concrete floors. Give your feet, knees, and hip time they need during your break hours.
Frequently Change Positions: If you have a standing job on a concrete floor or any other hard surface, change your positions frequently. Use a step stool to place your one foot for a couple of minutes to relax it and then repeat with the other. Put pressure on one feat and relax the other. Alternate between standing positions to relax your legs and feet.
Anti-Fatigue Mats: Use anti-fatigue mats on top of concrete floors for standing. These mats provide a softer surface for standing on concrete floors and reduce pain caused by prolonged standing.
There is no way to eliminate body pains due to standing on concrete floors for long times. However, you can avoid, lessen and reduce the damages caused by the hard concrete floor.
All the tips discussed above will help you walk/stand better on hard floors like concrete.
If you ask us the single most important thing for reducing pain while working on concrete floors, our answer will be footwear. The day you get better shoes for walking/standing/running on concrete floors, you will notice that your life has improved a lot.