Understanding and addressing tired aching legs
Extended periods of standing can lead to muscle fatigue and tenderness in your legs and feet. Over time, this can become a growing concern that eventually leads to adverse effects on one’s quality of life. It is a complaint we often receive here at the clinic, especially from those who are on their feet for the greater part of the day (e.g. factory workers, retail personnel, delivery carriers).
The root of the problem
It is important to seek evaluation by a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist, to determine the underlying cause of your discomfort. Often, following assessment, we find that aching legs are linked to feet that are protonated—meaning they roll inwards towards the midline. This results in the flattening of your foot’s arch.
When this happens, all of the muscles in the leg and feet activate and constrict as they try to support and shift the foot back into a more neutral position. Essentially, they are trying to raise the foot’s arch back up.
Under normal conditions and regular levels of expenditure, these muscles are well designed to carry out this function. However, these muscles exhaust quickly with prolonged use, leading to fatigue and persistent soreness.
Working together to ease leg pain
Treatment for tired aching legs in the clinic centers on providing better ways to support your feet. This is usually done with orthotics or insoles that assist in preventing an individual’s foot from rolling excessively inwards, minimizing time spent in the pronated position. This takes the pressure off of the heels, the arches, your shins, the knees, as well as your lower back.
Insoles are also coupled with shoes tailored to your specific needs and occupational roles. For example, if you work in a factory-like setting, we recommend functional boots that offer adequate protection.
Lastly, there are stretching and strengthening exercises that can be implemented into your day-to-day routine, both during your sessions with us and at home, to help mitigate pain and reduce chronic inflammation.
One of the great things about stretching is that, unlike other methods (e.g., foam rolling), you can practice them anytime without the assistance of any tools. They can be easily done throughout the day to relieve tension in your lower limbs and back.
With these, it is recommended that you follow your podiatrist’s recommendations on how often to do them and, more importantly, the proper ways to perform them. We want to avoid any unintended injuries that could exacerbate or add to your condition.