Did you know that on an average day most people walk about 4 miles? And did you know that all of your body weight is supported on 26 little bones? AND, did you know that with every mile we walk we exert something like 200,000 to 300,000 pounds of pressure on those little bones?
As pet groomers we spend a LOT of time on our feet. Here are some tips to help keep those dogs happy.
- Invest in good footwear
- If you have not had your feet measured recently, ask to have that done. Our feet change as we age, and women's feet often change size during or after a pregnancy.
- If one foot is larger than the other (and this is common!) buy the larger size. Wear a thicker sock on the smaller foot
- Try shoes on at the end of the day. Our feet can swell 10% or more during the course of the day. Don't just stand in the shoe when you try it on, walk around. Our feet flex differently when we walk then when we stand.
- Shoes designed for runners, walkers, nurses or chefs work well in the grooming environment. They tend to have no skid soles, a definite plus in the bathing room!
- Look for shoes that hold your heel firmly, but have a roomy toe box and support over the arch to keep your foot from rolling (pronating.)
- Leather or man made mesh uppers are good, they allow for air flow
- Ideally you will choose a shoe with a cushioned foot bed. This will help absorb the shock of all those steps you take!
- Replace your shoes every 6-8 months, or when they show signs of wear.
During the day you can do some simple exercises to reduce stress on your legs and feet and increase blood flow.
- Stand on tip toe from time to time
- Lift one leg at a time and rotate your ankle. Point your toes down, then up. Flex your foot, then repeat with the other foot
- Alternately tighten then release your calf muscles.
When you take a lunch break, (you ARE taking a lunch break, right?) take your shoes off and elevate you legs to hip level on a chair or stool. Now:
- Wiggle your toes
- Separate your toes
- Point them like a ballerina, hold a few seconds, then point them towards the ceiling. Hold, repeat.
- Curl your toes, then turn your feet so the soles face each other. Hold, relax, repeat.
- Roll a tennis ball against the floor with the sole of your foot... it's a mini massage, ahhh!
If you don't have anti fatigue mats in front of your bath tub and table, you should! My favorites are Ortho Mats, sold by the very nice folks at Forever Stainless. (www.foreverstainlesssteel.com) They are lightweight, super cushy and don't absorb water (or any more odious liquids, either!)
Try these tricks and you will be amazed at how much better your legs and feet will feel.