Even in flats, using a standing desk can cause foot painLook around your office right now—chances are, many of your coworkers have made the shift from a traditional workspace to a standing desk. Maybe you’re even considering it, having heard of the supposed benefits which include a reduced risk of obesity as well as a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Lower back and hip pain can also be drastically reduced by switching from a sitting to a standing desk.

Unfortunately, when you make this sudden change, you may develop a new set of problems: foot pain as well as swelling (which can be drastic) in the feet and ankles. This makes a lot of sense, since standing on your feet all day puts a TON of pressure on appendages that are unlikely to have experienced this kind of force previously.

There are some products, such as anti-fatigue mats, available that can mitigate the impact your feet experience when you make the switch from a sitting to a standing desk. There are also sit-to-stand desks that allow you to change the height of your computer at will, meaning you can have the best of both worlds and give both your back AND your feet a break throughout the day (warning: these desks are a LOT more expensive than plain old standing models.)

If you (or, more likely, your HR manager) isn’t into the idea of shelling out more money for all these nifty little gadgets that will support your feet during your transition to standing, there are some things you can do to take the load off your feet. Instead of just standing in one spot, shift from side to side or try marching in place to keep the blood flowing to your feet and prevent swelling. And, just like when you sit all day, you should try to take little breaks at regular intervals and, during this time, sit down and take a load off (you should try to elevate your feet at that point, if possible.)

When you make the decision to switch to a standing desk, you are likely to experience at least some initial foot discomfort. If the pain is persistent and these suggestions aren’t enough to help you stop the problem, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider for a foot evaluation and more customized solutions. 

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.