Black Friday is Coming: Are Your Feet Ready?

A lot of the people I know are starting to get starting to get ready for Thanksgiving today, but not in the way you might think.  While many of you are prepping your turkeys and mashing your potatoes, others are gearing up for the fun of Black Friday (it's just one week away) and mentally preparing Lace up those sneakers if you want a pain-free shopping day on Black Friday themselves for the endless hours of shopping.

If you fall into the latter group, I’m here to tell you that planning to prevent foot pain should be part of your preparations. When contemplating long hours standing in line waiting for door-buster deals or mad-dashes to grab the last 80" television, you need to select a pair of shoes that will let you get your shopping done in comfort.

While you might be tempted to try on the latest fashions in your high heels, it’s a really bad idea. Not only will your feet ache by the end of the day, but you’ll also be leaving yourself open to ankle sprains and other injuries.

Black Friday Foot Saving Guidelines

Here are some tips to keep your feet happy as you shop this Black Friday:

  • Wear walking shoes or sneakers to avoid foot pain: Even if it means you might be fourth on line at Walmart instead of first, NEVER leave your house in flip-flops or even Uggs. Typical Black Friday shoppers visit up to 8 different stores, so your feet will be aking a major beating throughout the course of the day. Wear the most comfortable and supportive pair of shoes you own. And if none of the pairs in your closet are up to the task, stop at the shoe store first!
  • Wear cotton socks to absorb keep your feet dry and avoid athlete’s foot: it's gotten colder outside, which means we Houstonians are tempted to finally wear our warmest clothes. But remember: malls and stores will be well heated, and you'll be rushing from shop to shop, trying to score more deals. All of that can add up to super sweaty feet, which is why your sock choice is super important on Black Friday (and, basically, always.)
  • Consider slipping on orthotics: If your feet have flat arches, or tend to roll to one side or the other, staying on your feet for marathon shopping events (or for runs, long walks or even every-day tasks) may be extremely painful. If you already have orthotics, you should certainly wear them on Black Friday. If you don't, and don't have time to get fitted before the big day, consider wearing some store-bought insoles to provide your feet with some extra cushioning and support while you shop. 
  • Be sure to take plenty of sitting breaks, as standing all day puts lots of pressure on your feet. You get extra points if you’re able to elevate your feet during the breaks to avoid swelling. Why not stop into one of those stores with a fancy, back-massaging chair on display? You'll give your feet some much needed recovery time, and you may just end up with the comfiest new piece of furniture in your house! 

Post Black Friday Recovery Plan

Even if you follow all my foot-sparing tips for Black Friday, your tootsies may still be sore at the end of the day. Consider this your post shopping foot recovery bible: 

  • 1. Stretch your feet: Just like the rest of your muscles, foot muscles tighten up after a major workout like an all day shopping spree. To help loosen things up, soak your feet in warm water as soon as you get home, then start stretching those newly-relaxed muscles. Using your hands or a strap if you're tight, sit in a comfortable position, legs out, and stretch out the ankle and toe joints with a nice firm tug. Hold for 30 seconds or as long as feels comfortable.
  • 2. Give yourself a sweet massageGet some lotion and apply it to dryer spots on your feet, like your heels or the balls of your feet. Then, using light pressure--or whatever you prefer--gently take your thumbs and give a good rub to any spots that feel sore. This is a great way to release the tension that may have built up over the day and prevent next-day soreness. 

Follow these tips and I’m fairly certain your feet will feel great as we leave Black Friday behind and head into the rush of December holiday madness. But if for some reason you find yourself experiencing foot pain after your marathon shopping, come see your Houston podiatrist at Tanglewood Foot Specialists as soon as possible.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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