Why Do My Legs Hurt When Standing Too Long? – When damaged vein valves are unable to efficiently pump blood back to your heart, leg pain and swelling often follow. Periods of inactivity from prolonged standing can further impact your blood circulation, leg swelling, and symptomatic pain.
- This is because a standing position requires blood to travel against gravity back toward your heart.
- Your leg pain and swelling are likely related to your body’s natural inflammatory process.
- When disease is present, your white blood cells begin to release chemicals.
- These chemicals travel into the blood flow to protect your body from foreign substances.
They can also cause fluid to leak from your blood vessels into the surrounding tissue. Over time, this can affect your ability to move around and perform daily activities.
- 1 Why does my body hurt when I stand for too long?
- 2 Is it healthy to stand for 8 hours?
- 3 Is standing for 8 hours too much?
- 4 How long is too long standing?
- 5 Does high blood pressure cause leg pain?
- 6 Can dehydration cause leg pain?
- 7 What can I do for extreme pain in my legs?
Why do my legs hurt when I stand too long?
Lately, I’ve had a lot of leg pain, especially when sitting at my desk or standing in line at the store. Should I be concerned about this new aching? – Answer From Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D. New, persistent leg pain certainly warrants a visit to your doctor for evaluation.
Leg pain can have many causes, but your description of aching after prolonged standing or sitting suggests a possible buildup of fluid in the leg veins (chronic venous disease, venous insufficiency). Chronic venous disease occurs when the valves in your leg veins don’t work properly to keep blood moving efficiently from your legs to your heart.
Instead, blood pools in your legs and feet, causing pain and swelling. The pain is typically described as a burning or cramping sensation, mainly in the calf. Past inflammation of a vein (phlebitis) may damage the valves and lead to chronic venous disease.
- Poor function of the valves in the leg veins also contributes to varicose veins — distended veins visible just beneath the skin.
- Varicose veins also may lead to chronic venous disease.
- Wearing knee-high compression stockings may be worth a try to ease discomfort associated with fluid buildup in the legs.
Ask your doctor for a recommendation.
Can standing all day cause leg pain?
Problems That Can Result from Extended Periods of Standing – The most commonly reported symptoms from extended periods of standing are discomfort, fatigue and swelling in the legs. Workers required to spend too much time on their feet are at greatly increased risk of pain and discomfort affecting feet, shins and calves, knees, thighs, hips and lower back.
- In fact, studies have shown that musculoskeletal disorders are the most common causes of work-related ill-health, and that 17 per cent of these disorders affected the lower limbs.
- There are many other debilitating and potentially very serious health concerns related to prolonged standing.
- Worsening of existing coronary heart disease, varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency have been associated with prolonged standing, as has pain in the lower limbs and feet.
Further studies suggest back pain associated with work is about twice as common in those who work standing compared to those who usually work sitting, even after controlling for age and lifting weights. Older workers and those employed in heavy manual jobs frequently develop knee and joint pain as they get older, and may become progressively less able to cope with constant standing.
Other workers, for example those with arthritis, varicose veins caused by pregnancy or who have suffered a back or lower limb injury are also at an increased risk. The effects of standing all day can show up almost right away and prolonged standing or walking can often accelerate health problems and soft tissue injuries.
For example, standing all day on your feet can result in: • Varicose veins • Plantar fasciitis • Low back pain • Muscle soreness and fatigue • High blood pressure • Knee or hip arthritis • Bunions • Pregnancy complications • Neck and shoulder stiffness • Chronic heart and circulatory disorders • Poor posture (and its effects) • Various foot problems and pain • Knee problems • Swollen or painful feet or legs • Stretched Achilles tendon (tendonitis) • Joint damage • Poor circulation and swelling in feet & legs
Why does my body hurt when I stand for too long?
Tips for Avoiding Back Pain From Standing at Work – Prolonged standing puts pressure on the muscle groups stabilizing the lower spine and hips. According to the OSHA Back Injury Instructor Guide, low back pain that develops for any reason usually involves spasms of the large muscles alongside the spine.
- Symptoms include muscle pain or discomfort in the back, leg pain, swelling, and tiredness.
- Your back may hurt while standing, and you might experience pain when standing up or sitting down.
- Standing for hours can lead to inflammation of the veins and cause joints in the spine, hips, knees and feet to become immobilized.
The immobility can cause pain now but also lead to degenerative damage to the ligaments and tendons. Following are some tips for standing for long periods of time that may help you find relief if you experience lower back pain when standing still.
- Take a break from standing by sitting down at intervals throughout the day
- Use an adjustable height work table so your work is kept at waist level
- Use anti-fatigue floor mats but not thick rubber mats that are too soft
- Wear supportive shoes or shoe inserts that keep feet in a neutral position
- Change work positions by periodically placing a foot on a footrest while standing
- Use good body posture
Posture plays a big role in knowing how to stand for long periods of time. After standing for hours, there is a tendency to slouch out of fatigue, meaning the back, neck, and shoulders are curved. The best standing position is one in which your head is up, the stomach is pulled in, the shoulders are back and the spine is straight.
You should use the footrest to rest one foot and then the other periodically to change your posture. It is also a good habit to get into because it can remind you to watch your posture. If work permits and you experience lower back pain from standing too long, ask your employer for a sit-stand workstation.
A study by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that chronic lower back pain was reduced in severity by using a sit-stand workstation. The same finding was reported by medical researchers in an article published in Ergonomics.
How many hours a day should you be standing?
How many hours a day are you supposed to stand? – Experts have found that you should try to stand for at least 2 hours per day, but up to 4 hours per day could be optimal. This might seem like a lot, but there are lots of ways you can fit standing into your day.
- For some people, getting a standing desk is not an option, and some people feel like if they are not sitting at their desk it looks like they’re not doing work.
- Try parking your car further away from the office so that you have to walk a little further each morning and evening if you drive.
- Walk around when you take phone calls and if there are toilets on each level of the building, go out of your way to use the ones furthest from your desk.
A few small habits each day could be the difference between a healthy lifestyle and suffering from unnecessary health complications. For more information on the dangers of sitting too long, read our article on, Standing too long can be bad for you, but so can sitting for too long.
Is it healthy to stand for 8 hours?
Increased risk for heart disease. – As much as prolonged sitting is harmful to your heart, so is prolonged standing. When you stand for too long, your blood tends to pool in your legs, unable to properly circulate around the body. In effect, the veins have to work doubly hard to distribute the blood evenly to parts that need it.
Is standing for 8 hours too much?
Working in a Standing Position – Basic Information : OSH Answers Standing is a natural human posture and by itself poses no particular health hazard. However, working in a standing position on a regular basis can cause sore feet, swelling of the legs, varicose veins, general muscular fatigue, low back pain, stiffness in the neck and shoulders, and other health problems.
These are common complaints among sales people, machine operators, assembly-line workers and others whose jobs require prolonged standing. A person’s body is affected by the arrangement of the work area and by the tasks that he or she does while standing. The layout of the workstation, the tools, and the placement of keys, controls and displays that the worker needs to operate or observe will determine, and as rule, limit the body positions that the worker can assume while standing.
As a result, the worker has fewer body positions to choose from, and the positions themselves are more rigid. These restrictions give the worker less freedom to move around and less opportunity to alternate which muscles are used. This lack of flexibility in choosing body positions contributes to health problems.
These conditions commonly occur where the job is designed without considering the characteristics of the human body. Keeping the body in an upright position requires considerable muscular effort. Standing effectively reduces the blood supply to the loaded muscles. Insufficient blood flow accelerates the onset of fatigue and causes pain in the muscles of the legs, back and neck (these are the muscles used to maintain an upright position).
The worker suffers not only muscular strain but other discomforts also. Prolonged and frequent standing, without some relief by walking, causes blood to pool in the legs and feet. When standing occurs continually over prolonged periods, it can result in inflammation of the veins.
- This inflammation may progress over time to chronic and painful varicose veins.
- Excessive standing also causes the joints in the spine, hips, knees and feet to become temporarily immobilized or locked.
- This immobility can later lead to rheumatic diseases due to degenerative damage to the tendons and ligaments (the structures that bind muscles to bones).
In a well-designed workplace, the worker has the opportunity to choose from among a variety of well-balanced working positions and to change between these positions frequently. Working tables and benches should be adjustable. Being able to adjust the working height is particularly important to match the workstation to the worker’s individual body size and to the worker’s particular task.
- Adjustability ensures that the worker has an opportunity to carry out work in well-balanced body positions.
- If the workstation cannot be adjusted, platforms to raise the shorter worker or pedestals on top of workstations for the tall worker should be considered.
- Organization of the work space is another important aspect.
There should be enough room to move around and to change body position. Providing built-in foot rails or portable footrests allows the worker to shift body weight from one leg to the other. Elbow supports for precision work help reduce tension in the upper arms and neck.
Controls and tools should be positioned so the worker can reach them easily and without twisting or bending. Where it is possible, a seat should be provided so that the worker can do the job either sitting or standing. The seat must place the worker at a height that suits the type of work being done. For work that requires standing only, a seat should be provided in any case to allow the worker to sit occasionally.
Seats at the workplace expand the variety of possible body positions and give the worker more flexibility. The benefits from greater flexibility and a variety of body positions are twofold. The number of muscles involved in the work is increased which equalizes the distribution of loads on different parts of the body.
Thus, there is less strain on the individual muscles and joints used to maintain the upright position. Changing body positions also improves blood supply to the working muscles. Both effects contribute to the reduction of overall fatigue. Quality of footwear and type of flooring materials are also major factors contributing to standing comfort.
For further details on these subjects, refer to these related documents on OSH Answers: The basic principles of good job design for standing work are:
Change working positions frequently so that working in one position is of a reasonably short duration. Avoid extreme bending, stretching and twisting. Pace work appropriately. Allow workers suitable rest periods to relax; exercises may also help. Provide instruction on proper work practices and the use of rest breaks. Allow workers an adjustment period when they return to work after an absence for vacation or illness so they can gradually return to a regular work pace.
A well-designed workplace combined with a well-designed job makes it possible to work in a balanced position without unnecessary strain on the body. Although the actual performance of the task depends on the worker (including how the worker stands, moves or lifts), work practices can make the job either safer or more hazardous.
- Proper education and training helps the individual work safely.
- It is important that the worker be informed of health hazards in the workplace.
- In fact it is a legal requirement.
- The worker needs to understand which body movements and positions contribute to discomfort and that the conditions causing mild discomfort can lead to chronic injury in the long term.
Worker education and training should also contain information on how to adjust specific workplace layouts to the individual’s needs. The worker should be aware that rest periods are important elements of the work. Rest periods should be used to relax when muscles are tired, to move around when muscles are stiff, to walk when work restricts the worker’s ability to change postures or positions, and so on.
The worker should also be encouraged to report discomforts experienced during work. It may result in correcting working conditions. All these elements – education, training, and supervision, coupled with active worker input – can result in sound work practices. It must be remembered that a well-designed job and workplace are essential to healthy and safe work.
Without these, good work practices cannot be effective. Workplace design should fit the variety of workers’ shapes and sizes and provide support for the completion of different tasks. Different tasks require different work surface heights:
Precision work, such as writing or electronic assembly – about 5 cm above elbow height; elbow support is needed. Light work, such as assembly-line or mechanical jobs – about 5-10 cm below elbow height. Heavy work, demanding downward forces – from 20-40 cm below elbow height.
Adjust the height of the work according to body dimensions, using elbow height as a guide. Organize your work so that the usual operations are done within easy reach.
Always face the object of work. Keep body close to the work. Adjust the workplace to get enough space to change working position. Use a foot rail or portable footrest to shift body weight from both to one or the other leg. Use a seat whenever possible while working, or at least when the work process allows for rest.
Avoid reaching behind the shoulder line. Shifting feet to face the object is the recommended way. Avoid overreaching beyond the point of comfort. Avoid reaching above shoulder line.
Your feet can only be as comfortable as the footwear permits.
DO wear shoes that do not change the shape of your foot.
DO choose shoes that provide a firm grip for the heel. If the back of the shoe is too wide or too soft, the shoe will slip, causing instability and soreness. DO wear shoes that allow freedom to move your toes. Pain and fatigue result if shoes are too narrow or too shallow.DO ensure that shoes have arch supports. Lack of arch support causes flattening of the foot. DO wear shoes with lace-up fastenings. DO tighten the lace instep of your footwear firmly. The foot is prevented from slipping inside the footwear. DO use padding under the tongue if you suffer from tenderness over the bones at the top of the foot. DO use a shock-absorbing cushioned insole when working on metal or cement floors. DO choose footwear according to the hazard at your workplace. DO select safety footwear, if required, that is CSA approved and carries the proper ratings for the hazard. The OSH Answers document has additional information.DO select footwear taking into account individual fit and comfort. Try them on and walk around for a few moments before buying. DO NOT wear flat shoes. A small heel can decrease strain on the Achilles tendon and allow for more comfortable walking and standing.DO NOT wear shoes with high heels. Recommendations vary but, in general, heels should have a broad base and be less than 4 cm to 6 cm height (1.6 inches to 2.4 inches). When standing often, other recommendations are that the heel should be no more than 2 to 2.5 cm (about 1 inch).
Keep work areas clean. Avoid standing on concrete or metal floors. Recommended for standing work are wooden, cork or rubber covered floors. Ensure that the floors are level and non-slippery. Cover concrete or metal floors with mats. Slanted edges on mats help prevent tripping. Do not use thick foam-rubber mats. Too much cushioning can cause fatigue and increase the hazard of tripping.
Document last updated on July 4, 2016 Contact our 905-572-2981 Toll free 1-800-668-4284 (in Canada and the United States) : Working in a Standing Position – Basic Information : OSH Answers
What happens if I stand too long?
I. BACKGROUND – Many workers are required to stand for long periods of time without being able to walk or sit during the work shift. In operating rooms, for example, nurses and doctors must stand for many hours during surgical procedures. Similarly, direct care nurses, hairdressers, and store clerks spend large fractions of their working time standing without the ability to sit down. Briefly, a short summary below outlines the scope of the prolonged standing situation in working populations. McCulloch (2002) summarized findings from 17 studies that involved standing for more than 8 hours per day (8 h/d). Major health risks identified were chronic venous insufficiency, musculoskeletal pain of the lower back and feet, preterm birth, and spontaneous abortions. Best et al., (2002) reported on the findings from a self-reported questionnaire administered to 204 hairdressers. Back pain was the most reported musculoskeletal disorder followed by neck and shoulder discomfort. Duration of standing was reported to be between 82% and 99% of total work time. Tissot et al., (2005) reported that the standing at work prevalence rate is 58% in the Quebec working population and more common in men, workers >25 years of age, and lower income workers. Meijsen and Hanneke (2007) reported that the average standing time for Dutch perioperative personnel was 2.5 hours per day, and that 18% of respondents exceeded 4 hours of standing per day and 47% were in the Amber zone, and 17% were classified into the Red zone. According to Dutch ergonomic guidelines for prolonged standing, exposure is classified into one of three zones – Green (safe-continuous standing ≤ 1h and total/day ≤ 4h), Amber (action recommended-continuous standing >1h or total/day > 4h), or Red (direct action required-continuous standing >1h and total/day > 4h). Werner et al., (2010) in a cross-sectional evaluation of workers at an engine manufacturing plant in jobs that necessitated prolonged standing and walking reported that 24% met the case definition for foot/ankle disorder and that 52% had the symptoms. Sitting, standing and type of work surface did not change the prevalence. To emphasize the importance of this topic and concern regarding worker safety, the Association for perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) recently published guidelines and solutions for reducing health risks associated with prolonged standing in perioperative environments ( Hughes et al., 2011 ). In the guideline adopted by AORN, it is recommended that caregivers should not stand more than 2 hours continuously or for more than 30% of the work day without some type of fatigue-reducing interventions, such as anti-fatigue mats, specially designed footstools, sit-stand stools or chairs, or supportive footwear. The AORN guideline also suggests that if the caregiver must wear a lead apron during prolonged standing, that exposure should be limited to 1 hour without some type of intervention. Additionally, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) (2014) has reported that working in a standing posture on a regular basis can cause sore feet, swelling of the legs, varicose veins, general muscular fatigue, and low back pain, stiffness in the neck and shoulders, and other health problems. According to the CCOHS report, prolonged standing effectively reduces the blood supply to the muscles resulting in the acceleration of the onset of fatigue and causes pain in the muscles of the legs, back and neck, as well as pooling of blood in the legs and feet which leads to varicose veins. The CCOHS suggests that job design can reduce the ill effects of working in a standing position by changing working positions frequently, avoiding extreme bending, stretching, and twisting, pace work appropriately, and allow workers suitable rest periods. The CCOHS report also suggests use of floor mats, shoe inserts, compression hosiery, and ergonomic seating to avoid exposure as well. The International Labor Organization (ILO) (2011) has also published guidelines for prevention of health effects associated with exposure to prolonged standing at work. According to the ILO, if a job must be done in a standing position, a chair or stool should be provided for the worker and he or she should be able to sit down at regular intervals. The ILO also suggests use of floor mats and good shoes to avoid standing on a hard surface, as well as the availability of footrests to help reduce the strain on the back and to allow the worker to change positions by shifting weight from time to time. Finally, the ILO suggests that the height of the work surface should be adjustable or that the worker should be able to adjust their height relative to the work surface, so that the arms do not have to be held in awkward and extreme positions. Reid et al., (2010) in a review of several published studies on occupational body postures and the lower extremity body region affected developed a lower extremity discomfort guideline for standing based on published research. Standing >2h/incident affected the hip and >3/h affected the overall lower extremity. Halim and Omar (2012) developed a Prolonged Standing Strain Index (PSSI) in order to attempt to quantify the risk levels with standing jobs and other workplace factors (e.g., posture, injuries, vibration, air quality) with minimum risk levels proposed. The PSSI provides an overall numerical score that can be used to assign risk for a specific job into a “Safe,” “Slightly unsafe,” or “Unsafe” category. The purpose of this paper is to review existing scientific literature examining the potential health consequences resulting from exposure to prolonged standing at work and to document the effectiveness of various interventions aimed at reducing potential health risks. The review encompasses studies examining a variety of health consequences including musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as low back and lower limb discomfort and pain, local and whole body fatigue, cardiovascular disorders (CVD), cardiovascular insufficiency (CVI), and pregnancy outcomes. The review also examines the effectiveness of interventions to reduce risk of these health outcomes, such as various floor surfaces and use of floor mats, shoe and shoe inserts, use of support or compression hosiery (e.g. stockings), and sit-stand chairs/workstations. The following inclusion/exclusion criteria were used for assessing studies for this review: (1) Review articles and single studies must be available in English and were published in the peer reviewed literature since 1990; (2) Single studies had a clearly identifiable study population and purpose with study designs using independent/dependent variable paradigms; (3) Outcome measurements that focused primarily on prolonged standing and either one of the health issues listed above; and, (4) Intervention studies that evaluated methodology aimed at reducing risk due to prolonged standing. Listed below are short narratives for each study. At the end of each section is a Table that describes the study population and summarizes the major results from each study. Use of volunteers usually indicates laboratory studies. Abbreviations used in text an tables are defined initially.
How long is too long standing?
Prolonged standing is defined as over 8 hours of standing per day without a lot of movement and walking around. Jobs that require standing all day are commonly associated with lower back pain, issues with leg muscles and tendons, and chronic venous insufficiency.
Does high blood pressure cause leg pain?
How does high blood pressure cause PAD? – High blood pressure can damage your arteries, Fatty deposits, known as plaques, can build up in the damaged areas, making the arteries narrower. This process is called atherosclerosis. Over time these plaques can become harder, making the arteries stiffer.
This narrowing and stiffening of the arteries means less blood can flow through them, restricting the blood supply to the part of the body they lead to. When the arteries leading to the legs and feet are affected, this is PAD. What else causes PAD? The lifestyle factors which lead to high blood pressure can also lead to PAD, in particular, smoking, being overweight or obese, lack of activity, an unhealthy diet, and drinking too much alcohol.
Other things which can mean you’re at higher risk are:
age – about 20% of people aged over 60 have some degree of PAD high blood cholesterol – which can be laid down in the arteries diabetes – as diabetes can damage the blood vessels coronary artery disease being male – PAD tends to affect men more than women a family history of diseases affecting the blood vessels, including heart disease and stroke chronic kidney disease
The NHS has more information on what causes PAD and how you can prevent it.
Can dehydration cause leg pain?
Does Dehydration Cause Cramps? – Dehydration is a medical issue where your body loses more fluids and electrolytes than it takes in. It can range from mild cases with signs like extreme thirst to severe cases that are life-threatening. Dehydration is when your body lacks the water and electrolytes it needs to function.
The condition can cause fatigue, decreased urination, extreme thirst, and dizziness, It can also cause dehydration cramps. In fact, two of the most common signs of dehydration include muscle cramping and stomach cramps. Here’s why. When you’re dehydrated, you lose more fluids than you are taking in. As a result, your body reacts by storing water for the most vital organs.
These include your heart and lungs. That means less vital organs — like your muscles and digestive system — don’t get the water and electrolytes they need. Without these fluids, your muscles can start to cramp. You may particularly experience leg cramps in your calf muscles and thigh muscles.
You may also have involuntary contractions like muscle spasms. Dehydration also decreases blood volume, That means your muscles and organs have less blood flow, resulting in cramps and spasms. Dehydration doesn’t only cause muscle cramps — you may also get stomach cramps from dehydration. That’s because your digestive system uses fluids and electrolytes to store nutrients and create waste.
When dehydration sets in, constipation can occur since you don’t have enough water to create stool. This can lead to stomach cramps, bloating, and abdominal pain. Dehydration isn’t just about a lack of water intake. When you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t have the right balance of electrolytes.
What can I do for extreme pain in my legs?
Over the Counter Pain Relievers Can Provide Short Term Relief for Many Types of Leg Pain – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can offer relief from sore muscles and swelling from leg pain. Some over the counter pain relievers include:
Ibuprofen (Advil, or Motrin) Naproxen (Aleve)
Make sure to follow instructions on the medicine labels. If you are experiencing leg pain that lasts longer than a few days, you should seek the advice of a medical professional either your primary care doctor or a specialist like Dr. Jonathan Ellichman.
To set up your appointment or call Dr. Ellichman’s office today (901) 479-1063. While we get used to hearing medical acronyms, we’re not always sure what they mean. Dive into PAD and PVD – what are they and what’s the best way to prevent these diseases. Some people write off nightly leg pain as a symptom of getting older, but if you are experiencing nightly leg pain that is interrupting your sleep that could be a symptom of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
Listed below are different reasons why your legs may hurt. There are many different diagnoses associated with your leg pain. If you suffer from Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) your doctor might have recommended amputation. You should get a second opinion.