Avoiding Foot Pain When Using a Treadmill Desk

Don't give up the treadmill desk; just make some adjustments instead.

Don't give up the treadmill desk; just make some adjustments instead.

You've already figured out a way to avoid sitting all day by using a treadmill desk, but to your dismay it's starting to cause pain in your feet. Before that forces you to go back to sitting on your rear for the entire work day, try to get to the root of the problem. Podiatrists talk to a lot of people who experience pain from using treadmills, and often recommend some common preventative techniques.

Perform a short warm-up by walking slowly on the treadmill -- or around the office - for five to 10 minutes.

Sit down and point and stretch your feet several times. Then lean forward and grab the toes toward you, stretching out the plantar fascia at the bottom of the feet. If you can't reach the toes with your legs outstretched, rest your lower leg on the opposite thigh, hold the heel of the foot in one hand and pull the toes toward the shin with the other foot.

Stand near a wall and place the toes of one foot up the wall, leaning in slightly until you feel a stretch in the calf muscle.

Move into "bent-knee" stretch. Stand with one foot about 1 foot from the wall and place the other foot about 1 foot behind that. Bend your knees and keep both heels on the floor as you lean forward, placing your hands on the wall. According to MayoClinic.com, this is another stretch that can help you prevent plantar fasciitis, or pain in the heel and bottom of the foot.

Maintain a steady pace that is not too fast. According to a 2003 article in "Podiatry Today," people's average walking pace is 90 to 120 steps per "walking minute," though a lot of people walk much faster than that on the treadmill -- which can lead to foot pain.

Play with the incline on the treadmill. According to that article in "Podiatry Today," foot pain is sometimes the result of too much incline. Switch to a flat incline if you're currently using an incline.

Check out your footwear. Getting the right pair of shoes for your gait can really make a difference. Some people "pronate," meaning their foot rolls inward significantly each time the heel touches the ground. A shoe store that specializes in footwear for runners and walkers will analyze your gait and help you find shoes with the proper support for you.

Stretch your feet and ankles at the end of your walking routine, in the same manner as you did when you started.

Items you will need

  • Pedometer

Tip

  • Talk to a podiatrist if the pain continues. While proper footwear and stretching can help, a podiatrist might have other suggestions, such as rehabilitation or taping that can give you more relief.

Warning

  • If you're experiencing serious foot pain when you use the treadmill desk, stop using it for a while and talk to your doctor or a podiatrist. Continuing to walk on the treadmill with severe foot pain could set you up for permanent pain or injury.
 

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

Photo Credits

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