How can I stand up through a concert without foot pain?
March 13, 2006 3:37 PM   Subscribe

I went to see Ben Folds here in Milwaukee last night, and by about halfway through the main act, I was in serious pain, just from standing there. My feet, especially my heels, were killing, and my lower back was stiff and uncomfortable as well. My question is: Is there any way to avoid this?

I'm not really inclined to dance unless I've had WAY too much to drink, and most concerts I attend are stand-up sorts of things.

I'm going to another concert tonight (Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins), and I'd really be able like to enjoy it...
posted by joshjs to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can we assume you're wearing reasonably-comfortable footwear with flat heels and decent support?

If so, here's my recommendation: move. Don't keep your knees locked, don't keep your feet planted. Shift your weight around, move your feet to new places, bend your knees, etc. -- and since you're not the dancing type, at least bounce up and down a little.

As someone who spend a few years as a grocery store cashier back in the day, I can honestly say the only thing that kept me from having the same issues was that I went out of my way to bag the groceries as well whenever I could; that forced me to turn around, move my feet, and use different muscles. Makes all the difference.
posted by davejay at 3:45 PM on March 13, 2006

Try getting some new insoles for your shoes.
posted by hooray at 3:49 PM on March 13, 2006

just from standing there

That's work too, you know. Try to move around a little, without dancing. What kind of shoes were you wearing? You might be more comfortable in newer athletic shoes.

I notice that you listed posture as a tag. I founda good link on improving posture just today—hopefully it will have some helpful tips. Although when you're at a concert is not really the best time to try to build up your core muscles.

Keep your ankles shoulder-width apart. Don't lock your knees.

Finally, if you can afford to go to these concerts you can damn well afford a single visit to a physical therapist for some tips. It's hard to diagnose posture problems on oneself, and the helpful commentary and exercises the PT could give you would really help, I imagine. (Also they might be able to see something that would indicate a trip to a physician is in order—which you might consider anyway.)
posted by grouse at 3:49 PM on March 13, 2006

posted by occhiblu at 3:51 PM on March 13, 2006

It's possible you're simply not used to standing. It's something you can build up conditioning for. When I worked standing behind a counter for 7 hour shifts, it was almost unbearable at first, but after a couple of weeks I thought nothing of it. Maybe you could set up a standing-height work desk to use daily or something.
posted by Tubes at 4:11 PM on March 13, 2006

Sit ups for the lower back pain. Compression/circulation stockings for the foot pain. They aren't as awful as they sound, just tight knee socks and I wish I'd known about the magic of them years ago.
posted by InkaLomax at 4:33 PM on March 13, 2006

Try some Superfeet insoles (check your local REI or other sporting goods store). They're about twenty bucks, and fit like poor-man's orthotics. They were very helpful for me with a similar problem.
posted by rossination at 4:36 PM on March 13, 2006

The easiest and most effective thing to do is lose weight and work out your leg and back muscles.
posted by delmoi at 5:10 PM on March 13, 2006

First, I second the Superfeet idea. I use them in my hiking boots and cycling shoes and they're very effective.

Second, when I was in high school and got a retail job that involved standing for 8-10 hours at a time, my dad, who's a school principal, told me that the number one complaint of first year teachers is the standing. He actually had a sheet of exercises that was supposed to help condition you for being on your feet all day.

Standing for a long time, it turns out, is hard work. Even though you might not break a sweat, you have to maintain muscle tension, and that leads to fatigue and discomfort.

The best thing you can do is just get used to being on your feet. Just walking around for a few hours a couple of days a week will make a big difference. Strengthing your core and legs will help too.
posted by dseaton at 6:31 PM on March 13, 2006

Sit ups for the lower back pain.

If you do crunches for your ab muscles, you should also do back extension exercises to counter them.
posted by grouse at 1:26 AM on March 14, 2006

Get thee to a podiatrist.
posted by flabdablet at 3:08 AM on March 14, 2006

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