There is no question that the kitchen is the center point of the household. How many times do our kids utter the words "I'm hungry" each day (usually right after the dinner that they didn't have enough of, right?) When we have company over, whether it be a couple or dinner party, it seems like we congregate in the kitchen. It's inevitable!

As slate, stone, and tile floors have become more popular, more and more people are finding that extended periods of standing in the kitchen is causing foot pain. Not just foot pain, but also ankle, knee, and hip pain. It's hard to think that something simple like a hard floor could make a difference, but it does. There are two main forces on our feet, the forces coming down into our feet from our body weight, but also the reactive force from the ground into our feet. The harder the surface is, the greater the force is.

I always remember seeing rubber mats in Sears behind the registers. Thinking back on this, it is for this covert reason. In fact a couple of years ago, many employees of a high end store in Houston came to my podiatry office in pain. It turned out that their wood floors were replaced with marble. It looked great, but you won't find anything harder than marble!

Turns out Sears had it right, although those black rubber mats weren't the greatest looking. Even the high end store added a solution for their employees, after they saw one employee after another headed to their Houston foot doctor. Similar mats are available for home use in the kitchen.

Cushioned mats are better looking and even more cushioned than they used to be. I saw one advertised in the Skymall catalog on an airplane. It was NewLife Mat with BioFoam, which molds to the feet as you stand on it. Another popular solution is the Gelpro which, as it's name suggests, has a gel inside that provides excellent cushioning.

Having a stylish cushioned mat in your kitchen will help to save you from foot, ankle, knee, and back pain the next time you are preparing for a big dinner party. You'll be amazed at the difference it can make!
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