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8 Tips for Server Feet Problems

8 Tips for Server Feet Problems

Although Chef might think that the most important limbs you have to offer are your hands, as a server or bartender, you know that it’s your feet that really get the job done. 

But you also know the soreness, fatigue, and discomfort that can put your feet out of commission after a few shifts spent standing behind the bar, running food, or sprinting from table to table. 

Wondering what you can do to ease your sore feet, quiet your barking dogs, and make sure you have all your covers covered? Keep reading for eight tips to help prevent common server feet problems, from everyday aches and pains to calluses, corns, and infections. Here’s what every server should know.

#1 Find the Right Shoes

Avoiding foot pain starts with footwear. Perhaps the single best thing you can do to curb server feet problems is to find the right restaurant shoes for the job. You wouldn’t go hiking in a pair of flip-flops, so why would you show up for work in shoes that aren’t suited to the environment? 

When it comes to shoes for servers, the right shoes will: 

  • Fit correctly – Length, width, and the length of your arch are all important measurements when it comes to proper fit. Choosing the right size, matching the shoe to your foot shape, and having your feet measured are all ways to ensure that you find a pair that fits you properly.1 
  • Be supportive – The right work shoes give your feet support and protection from heel to toe. They should keep your arches lifted and your feet aligned while providing cushioning for your heels and the balls of your feet.2 A little shock absorption never hurts either.
  • Be slip-resistant – Slip-resistant work shoes and soles might not do much to influence your everyday pain, but they’re absolutely essential to reducing your risk of slips and falls that can injure your feet and cause long-term damage. Plus, they’re a required part of the uniform in most bars and restaurants.  
  • Finding the right shoes can also be the answer to avoiding some of the most common restaurant injuries

    Discover best-in-class sneakers from Snibbs. Shop now!

    #2 Never Underestimate the Power of Insoles

    Another part to consider when tackling foot pain is the powerful insole. You can improve the support and comfort of your work shoes by slipping in a quality set of orthotic insoles. Insoles are designed to cradle your foot and make up for support that most shoes lack. They can help combat server feet problems during your shift by:3

    • Supporting your arches
    • Cushioning your heels
    • Fighting muscle fatigue 

    Insoles come in three different thicknesses, known as “volumes,” depending on how much lift they give to your arch.4 If you go the insert route, you’ll need to decide if you want high, medium, or low-volume inserts based on the desired amount of lift. 

    #3 Hygiene is Key

    One way to avoid common server feet problems, from athlete’s foot and fungal infections to blisters, bunions, and ingrown toenails, is to prioritize your foot hygiene. But even if you’re scrubbing them down each time you shower, you might not be doing enough to keep your feet as clean as they should be. 

    At the end of the day, proper foot care and hygiene is a three-pronged effort. It includes being diligent about: 

  • Foot cleanliness – Keeping your feet clean can cut back on irritation that leads to calluses, cracks, and blisters. Additionally, keep the skin moisturized but make sure your feet are dry before putting on socks and shoes to avoid odor, skin infections, and toenail fungus.5 
  • Shoe cleanliness – You wouldn’t put on dirty clothes after getting out of the shower, so why would you put filthy shoes on your clean feet? Keep your work shoes clean inside and out. Anti-odor powder can help alleviate noxious scents while a disinfectant spray can fight bacteria, germs, fungi, mold, and mildew.6
  • Sock cleanliness – By the end of your shift, your socks have become a repository for sweat, oils, and dead skin, so you should always opt for a clean pair before clocking in. 

  • #4 Be a Sock Star

    And speaking of socks...If you’re experiencing server feet problems, your socks could be to blame. There are many ways your sock game could be interfering with your foot health, from retaining moisture that facilitates bacterial and fungal growth to bulky fabrics that crowd your toes. 

    The solution? Start by choosing socks with the appropriate thickness. If they’re too thick, you can expect discomfort and extra sweating. On the other hand, blisters and sores from friction can occur if your socks aren’t thick enough

    Other sock-related waitress tips for sore feet include:

  • Moisture-wicking socks – Socks made from a moisture-wicking fabric keep your feet dry by leaching sweat and other moisture from your feet and redistributing it to the outer layer of the sock where it can evaporate. 
  • Compression socks – These tight-fighting compression socks put just enough pressure on your feet, ankles, and legs to increase blood flow. This helps reduce pain, swelling, and aches.7

  • #5 Treat Your Feet

    You already know that every long period of standing or walking can increase the chances of sore muscles and foot pain. While the right shoes and socks can help take care of your feet during your shift, you may need more. Showing them a little extra TLC between shifts can help relax and rejuvenate your feet. 

    You can create a foot care routine or pamper your feet by treating them to:  

  • Massages – A simple foot massage can help improve circulation in your feet, ease tension, and stimulate your muscles.8 
  • Foot spas – A relaxing soak in a foot spa can help restore your feet at the end of the work week or even a particularly wild shift. Warm, bubbling water revatilizes feet and soothes soreness.9 
  • Epsom salt soaks – Give your feet a bath by soaking them in Epsom salt and warm water. This can help reduce inflammation associated with pain and stiffness, treat fungal infections, and exfoliate and remove dead skin.10

  • #6 Stretch It Out

    It’s no secret that doing regular stretching helps keep your body limber, improves circulation, and facilitates muscle performance, among many other benefits.11 What’s less well-known is that the same is true when it comes to stretching your feet

    Performing foot stretching exercises is an excellent way to boost your overall foot health.12 Just like in the rest of your body, stretching your feet helps:

    • Promote flexibility, mobility, and strength
    • Ease muscle soreness
    • Reduce foot and ankle pain

    Some exercises are as simple as toe splays, extensions, and curls, while others use props like tennis balls, marbles, and sand. Experiment with different exercises until you settle on the plan that’s best for your feet. A foot problem you have may also be leading to sore muscles in your legs or even back pain. So stretching can have overall benefits for your body. 

    #7 Care For Your Kicks

    Just as important as caring for your feet is caring for your shoes. After all, your shoes are the barrier between your feet and the hard, unyielding surfaces they come into contact with all day. In other words, they need to be up to the challenge.

    The first step is opting for quality. When you start with a well-made pair of shoes, keeping them in good condition is so much easier. Aside from regular cleaning, you should also: 

  • Alternate shoes – It's a good idea to invest in two or three pairs of shoes so that you can wear them in rotation. This keeps each pair in better shape for longer, which means you aren’t losing support, comfort, and function to worn-out shoes.13 
  • Store them properly – When you aren’t wearing them, be sure to store your shoes properly. A cool, dry place is best. To help them retain their shape, consider investing in a set of shoe trees. It’s best to store them on shelves or shoe racks or in cubbies, shoe bags, or hanging shoe organizers.14  
  • Although shoes that have worn to the shape of your feet might seem to be more comfortable, they can actually be quite dangerous. Be ready to let go of your shoes when they’ve reached the end of their lives.

    #8 Use Mats At Work  

    While there are many workplace and restaurant safety tips for employees to follow, there are safety procedures for workplaces to follow as well. The human foot was designed to walk on soft, forgiving surfaces like dirt, sand, and grass. Unfortunately, you probably spend most of your time standing on and walking across hard surfaces—especially at work. Well-designed shoes and orthotic insoles can make up for some of it, but anti-fatigue floor mats are an essential second guard between your feet and the floor.

    If your place of employment isn’t already using floor mats, speak with your manager about making a change. They’ll likely come on board once you tell them how anti-floor mats can increase your productivity by:15

    • Reducing tiredness
    • Reducing risk of injury 
    • Alleviating pain 

    Treat Your Feet to a Pair of Snibbs

    The shoes might not make the man, but they can make all the difference to your foot health. If you’re on your feet all day, you need a pair of shoes that are prepared to stand with you.

    That’s where Snibbs comes in. We’re bridging the gap between fashion and function when it comes to shoes for people who spend a lot of time on their feet. Our stylish, work-safe shoes combine the highest-quality materials with lab-tested orthopedic features for shoes that perform shift after shift. 

    Designed by industry veterans, our shoes offer everything you need to stay on your feet, like water and slip-resistance, ultra-supportive, dual-density insoles, and ergonomically-designed midsoles for all-day comfort. 

    Step into the future of shoes for the workplace in a pair of Snibbs. Shop non-slip shoes today.


    Sources: 

    1. VeryWellHealth. How to Find Shoes That Fit Your Toes. https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-find-shoes-that-fit-1337774 
    2. Foot Care MD. 10 Points of Proper Shoe Fit. https://www.footcaremd.org/resources/how-to-help/10-points-of-proper-shoe-fit#
    3. Banner Health. Are Over-the-Counter Insoles a Waste or Worth It?. https://www.bannerhealth.com/healthcareblog/better-me/are-over-the-counter-insoles-a-waste-or-worth-it 
    4. Cary Orthopaedics. The Importance of Taking Care of Your Feet. https://www.caryortho.com/the-importance-of-taking-care-of-your-feet/ 
    5. REI. How to Choose Insoles for Shoe Inserts. https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/insoles.html 
    6. Bustle. The 6 Best Shoe Deodorizer Sprays. https://www.bustle.com/life/best-shoe-deodorizer-sprays 
    7. Cleveland Clinic. What You Should Know About Compression Socks. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-you-should-know-about-compression-socks/
    8. Harvard Health Publishing. Foot massage: The pause that refreshes and is good for you! https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/foot-massage-the-pause-that-refreshes-and-it-good-for-you#
    9. Very Well Fit. How to Pamper Your Feet Post-Workout. https://www.verywellfit.com/best-ways-to-pamper-your-feet-3435790 
    10. Healthline. Epsom Salt Foot Soak. https://www.healthline.com/health/epsom-salt-foot-soak 
    11. Mayo Clinic. Stretching: focus on flexibility. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931 
    12. Healthline. Foot Exercises: Strengthening, Flexibility, and More. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/foot-exercises 
    13. Today. Why you shouldn’t wear the same pair of shoes everyday. https://www.today.com/style/why-you-shouldn-t-wear-same-pair-shoes-every-day-t115144 
    14. Martha Stewart. How to Take Care of Your Shoes and Keep Them Looking Like New. https://www.marthastewart.com/1136215/how-take-care-your-shoes-keep-looking-new#
    15. EHS Today. New Study Confirms Benefits of Anti-Fatigue Mats. https://www.ehstoday.com/health/article/21915379/new-study-confirms-benefits-of-antifatigue-mats 
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