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Ask any teacher about to retire, and they’ll likely tell you that their feet will be pleased by their forthcoming retirement.

Most teachers are aware that long hours each day on their feet can often result in foot or lower leg fatigue. Certainly this can take away from the teaching experience. Here are some tips to keep you going on those hard, terazzo floors of your school:

  1. When possible, soft soled, laced walking shoes are ideal for support and comfort. Women who are interested in wearing more of a dress shoe may want to consider the soft soled flats or low pumps that provide added cushioning on the hard, unyielding floors of a school.

  2. Standing for prolonged periods can result in contraction of the calf muscles. Try doing stretching exercises throughout the day where you simply lean against the wall with one foot forward and one foot back, keeping your back knee straight. Hold for 10 seconds. You can then bend the back knee and continue to stretch.

  3. Many people think foot pain is normal. It is not. If you have painful corns or calluses, a Chiropodist can easily and painlessly clear these up for you.

  4. Sore spots on your toes or feet can often be accommodated with “moleskin” pads commercially available at drugstores. Be careful not to use any medicated pads on your skin because they can often damage the normal tissue.

  5. Sore arches or heels may mean that you have a foot imbalance. Flat feet often cause strain to the arches and can be easily corrected with orthotic devices prescribed by a podiatrist.

  6. Ingrown nails are not common among teachers but they do occur. Many teachers have told me over the years that they have feared having this attended to because of pain. The fact is that they can be painlessly treated and ongoing discomfort can be easily alleviated.


Sitting Exercises: When at your desk, if you get a chance, consider doing some range of motion exercises with your feet and ankles. Simply rotating your feet in circles and moving them up and down enhances their flexibility and avoids stiffness in muscles and tendons. Also, try extending your legs and bend your feet up at the ankle to stretch the calves.

Walking as an exercise is excellent. If you feel too tired to exercise it may be that taking up a walking program may give you even more energy. Start off with short, easy distances and increase your mileage gradually.

Orthotics Advisory

Avoid getting orthotics from commercial centers. These are no more than expensive arch supports that don’t correct the mechanics of the gait cycle. Sophisticated computer graphics look impressive, but the end result is basically a stock item arch support that is being dispensed by a retailer. You’re better off seeing a foot specialist who can prescribe an orthotic that works precisely according to your foot mechanics. Follow up visits are important.

It’s hard to be an enthusiastic teacher if your feet are sore. A little care and attention to your feet can enhance your level of comfort so that when your retirement comes, your feet will be ready to do what you want them to.

Brought to you by Doctor John A. Hardy, owner of Toronto's foot clinic, Academy Foot and Orthotics Clinic.


Toronto, ON Chiropodist Academy Foot and Orthotic


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