Those Hips (And Legs and Feet) Don't Lie!
Support your body’s foundation.
At the salon, you’re working with your upper body, but your lower portion can be the one that takes a hit. Your professional goal is to have a full book that goes from guest to guest with no break and sometimes has you double-booking to do one guest’s cut while another’s color is processing. Your body’s goal is the polar opposite, begging you to take regular breaks and frequently alternate from stand- ing to sitting, changing your position each time. Is there a compromise between business and body?
5 Things You Can Do Today to Relieve Leg and Foot Pain: 1. Wear low heels or flats that offer arch support. 2. Stand on a rubber mat. 3. Distribute your body weight evenly on the front, back and sides of your feet. 4. Use a cutting stool so you can alternate periods of standing and sitting. 5. Wear compression socks or pantyhose.
If you want to have a long career in hairdressing, you have no choice but to carve out that compromise. Standing all day can give you sore hips, cause varicose veins in the thighs and calves and make your feet feel as if they’re on fire. You may even need a hip or knee replacement.
“Because you’re on your feet for long stretches of time, you may be developing bad habits that lead to poor posture and body alignment,” says Troy Maier, CEO of 12 Benefits. In addition to driving upper body issues, flawed body alignment can damage your legs.
“Wear soft-soled shoes when you’re going to be working on your feet all day, and utilize your cutting stool as much as possible,” advises Allen Ruiz, Aveda global artistic director, hair styling, and owner of Jackson Ruiz Salon Spa an Aveda Concept Salon in Austin, Texas.
During the workday, switch your standing position frequently, sit down periodically and get into the habit of doing quick stretching moves between guests.
Your legs are so far away from your heart that it takes a lot of pumping to get the blood back and forth. So perhaps it’s no surprise that varicose veins affect half of people 50 years and older, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office on Women’s Health (OWH). Men experience the condition less than women, but by only about 10 percentage points.
In addition to sitting or standing for long periods of time, OWH lists these risk factors for developing varicose and spider veins in the legs:
1. Age. As you get older, the valves in your veins may weaken and not work as well.
2. Genetics. Being born with weak vein valves or having family members with vein problems increases your risk.
3. Pregnancy and other hormonal changes. Pregnancy creates a huge increase in the amount of blood in the body, which can cause veins to enlarge; the growing uterus puts additional pressure on the veins. Hormonal changes during puberty and meno- pause also can affect vein health, as can taking birth control pills and other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone.
4. Obesity. Being overweight can put extra pressure on your veins.
First step: Maintain your recommended weight to limit the pressure on your hips, knees and legs, lowering your risk for joint problems and varicose veins.
Pain in the hip can signal any of several conditions. The most common are osteoarthritis, tendonitis and bursitis. How can you tell the difference? The Arthritis Foundation lists these distinctions:
1. Osteoarthritis—bones rub against each other. You’ll feel pain in the groin and butt, and you’ll notice that your hip has lost some range of mo- tion. Take anti-inflammatory medication and do low-impact exercising like walking, biking and swimming to keep your joints moving.
2. Tendonitis—the band of tissue connecting muscle to bone becomes inflamed. Climbing stairs and rising from a chair will cause a dull, deep ache in your groin, whereas if it’s hamstring ten- donitis you’ll feel it in the butt. Rest the tendon, apply ice several times a day and take anti-inflammatory medication.
3. Bursitis—the sacs of lubricating fluid that cushion tendons become inflamed. This burning on the side of your hip hurts even more if you press on it. Apply ice, massage the area throughout the day and take anti-inflammatory medication. It may help to do stretching exercises—stand up, cross your legs and touch your toes, hold for 20-30 seconds and switch legs.