Do you spend hours driving each day and experience pain because of it? This type of pain is very common, yet it is largely overlooked. The reason why people don't pay too much attention to foot pain caused by driving is that they always try to explain their discomfort by trying to figure out some other reasons behind it. As a result, pain management becomes more challenging, and it's needless to mention it negatively affects your quality of life. This post focuses on foot pain from driving and shows you how to manage it properly.
What are the Common Types of Foot/Ankle Pain Caused by Driving?
Called driver’s foot, accelerator foot, and some other names, foot pain caused by driving is a common occurrence that affects millions of people. Both experienced and new drivers can deal with this problem, and it is most common among persons who spend a lot of time behind the wheel.
For example, truck drivers and men and women whose jobs involve driving all day, e.g., delivery, are particularly prone to driver's foot. Besides pain and discomfort, some people also experience cramps in their feet. The symptoms aggravate when you're stuck on the road or take no breaks.
Not all people have equal foot pain due to driving. Different types of pain can be identified, such as:
- Achilles tendon pain
- Burning sensation in one foot or both feet
- Joint pain affecting primarily the big toe
- Pain and stiffness in the ankle
- Pain and/or bruising in the heel or back of the heel
- Top of foot pain
Pain, discomfort, and cramps are particularly frustrating when a person has other foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, just to name a few.
How to Treat Foot Pain from Driving
While foot pain from driving clutch or spending a lot of time on the road is troublesome and stressful, there is a lot you can do to manage it successfully. Below, you can see the most effective strategies you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
1. Adjust Positioning
Improper positioning while driving can only worsen pain and other symptoms you experience, mainly if you're driving for hours. An effective way to reduce the intensity of pain and prevent it from bothering you again is to adjust the positioning.
How to do it? Make sure your foot is at 45-60 degree angle to the pedals. In addition, your heels should be planted on the floor at all times. Your driving instructor probably told you that numerous times back when you were a student driver, but as time goes on we totally forget all about it. Try to use the foot as a lever to press the pedal, without moving your heel.
2. Comfortable Shoes
Comfortable shoes are vital to alleviate truck driver foot pain and discomfort caused by driving for long periods. Why? All these strategies for pain relief won’t do much if you wear uncomfortable shoes on a daily basis. The reason is simple; inadequate shoes cause more discomfort, don’t allow your feet to breathe, and they don’t support the heel, arch, and the toe area. Below, you can see some of the most comfortable shoes for driving:
Timberland’s boots belong to the group of the best footwear for truck drivers due to their strength and comfort. The boots are made of leather and feature a sole that has a lot of ridges that prevent them from slipping. That way, you have a strong grip on the pedal.
The boots are also waterproof and come with a steel-toe feature to prevent your toes and protect them from injury. Comfortable footbed makes it easy to wear these boots throughout the day, and an extra advantage is an anti-microbial fabric that protects your feet from infections, bad odor, and other problems.
Don't let their fancy appearance fool you, and these leather boots provide much-needed strength, support, and comfort that every trucker and delivery man need to alleviate pain and other symptoms. They are also a wonderful work shoe that serves many other purposes. Mesh lining and pigskin collar provide warmth and comfort that is also able to prevent ankle pain from driving. Although they look quite sturdy, these shoes are lightweight which is important for persons who want to wear them for long hours.
No this is not a mistake, Vans can truly help drivers alleviate pain. Chances are high you had, or still own, a pair of this classic shoe, and now it's time to get an additional pair. While their padded insole and tongue make them an ideal skateboard shoe, Vans provide amazing flexibility that also helps drivers eliminate discomfort. They promote ease of movement thus eliminating pressure on your feet as you’re pressing the pedals. Vulcanized construction provides comfort and durability both of which are important for pain management process.
3. Take Breaks on Long Drives
Although you may believe that avoiding breaks on long drives is practical, the reality is different. While you may arrive 30-45 minutes earlier than you were supposed to, is it really worth the pain and discomfort you feel? The answer is: no, it is not! You see, if you already suffer from pain in feet while driving, discomfort can only intensify if you refuse to stop and take a break.
Put more thought into the way you organize your time on the road; adjust it if necessary, and include regular breaks. Duration and frequency of breaks depend on your condition, severity of pain, and other factors. Experiment for a while until you find the ideal length of a break and its frequency. Some drivers decide to take a 5-10-minute break every 45 minutes while others opt to pause their time on the road every 60 minutes.
4. Heel Pads
If you’re experiencing burning heel pain while driving, then you should definitely consider heel pads. The heel pad is an orthotic that you can buy and insert into your shoe. The primary function of these pads is to absorb shock, provide comfort, and support your heels while you drive, get in and out of car or truck, load and unload, and you name it.
In addition, heel pads prevent skin chafing while allowing you to alleviate pain, discomfort, and inflammation. These orthotics also prevent your heels from rubbing against the shoe, and they flatter the heel's contour.
We recommend Heel That Pain's Heel Pads for men and women.
5. Gel Pads
A convenient way to alleviate foot pain and make driving with plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions easier is to consider using gel pads. Gel inserts are created with a purpose to enhance comfort and prevent injury. They work by absorbing shock and stress before it gets to your feet. Gel pads provide much-needed support while making it easy for feet to breathe. The gel is soft, promotes ease of movement, and is ideal for persons who spend a great deal of their time wearing shoes and driving.
We recommend Dr. Jill's Gell Ball of Foot Cushions as a great option of gel pads.
6. Foam Rollers
Foam rolling is an effective driver’s foot remedy, and it also has a tremendous potential to address other problems affecting your feet as well as tiredness and fatigue after a long day at work or behind the wheel. The foam roller is, basically, a tube of foam that is both soft and supportive.
The tube is easy to use; you just roll it back and forth while sitting, leaning against the wall, or standing. How does it work? Foam rolling works in a similar manner as a massage. It provides relaxation, eliminates tension, and helps decrease the intensity of pain and inflammation by improving blood flow at the same time.
Other Things to do:
Besides the strategies mentioned above, there are many other things you can try in order to alleviate foot pain from driving. These include:
- You should never under any circumstances drive with bare feet because it gives you less control over the pedals and you don’t get much-needed support
- Women should opt for flat shoes when driving because heels increase the angle at which the foot needs to bend thus causing tension and pain
- Avoid wearing slip-on shoes when driving
- Try not to sit too close to the wheel because it bends your legs more. As a result, the angle at which your foot is positioned changes and produces more pain
- Make sure your seat isn’t too low because it would put more pressure on the tendons located at the back of your heel
- Do foot exercises such as rolling your foot in circles, flexing, and others when you’re on the break
- When taking a break from driving, instead of sitting only, you should take a short walk to loosen up muscles and joints
- When you’re home, use cold packs to alleviate pain in the affected area and elevate your feet
Many people experience foot pain when driving, and it can be incredibly frustrating. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to feel better, and this article showed you how to minimize that pain for a more comfortable driving experience