Occupational Injuries & Heel Pain

Feb 28, 2019

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 60 thousand foot injuries per year result in employees losing paid-time from work. Of those 60 thousand injuries, 75% occur when an employee is not in compliance with company safety policies. And, because of this, occupational foot injuries can lead to stressful times, from being unable to pay your bills to eventually losing your house.

Don’t let your job get you down and out! After all, we work in order to pay our bills and keep a roof over our heads. So, how can you prevent the possibility of your job literally keeping you from working and earning a living?

We got the answers.

Occupational injuries like heel pain are as common in the industry as they are preventable. Your job may require you to stand for long periods of time, or you may potentially work around hazardous areas and materials which increase the risk of damage to your feet. But if provided the right tools and training, this risk can drastically decrease, and worrying about your feet will be a problem of the past.

Though we are here to provide safety measures for your feet, of course your employer is responsible for providing the proper training. It is your right and you should make sure you receive it.

Now, let’s learn a little more about this oh-so-common threat to our feet!

Is Your Job Causing You Heel Pain? 

If you suffer from heel pain, welcome to the club. Studies have shown that every year over 2 million Americans also report dealing with this painful nuisance. And, it is no wonder – the complex anatomy of our feet allows us to sustain up to 4 times our bodyweight while providing us balance as we stand. This structure is also strong enough to propel our bodies forward as we walk to our desks or run to our posts 

Our heels in particular bear most of these stressors as they are usually the first part of our feet to come into contact with evervarying surfacesAnd, as our heels continuously absorb these sudden shocks of impacts, pain can start to take place. 

Although heel pain is a common result of continuous impact during activities, there are also other risk factors you should take into account: 

  • Bearing weight for long periods. Standing for long periods of time can cause heel pain. This is especially true with hard flooring or surfaces.
  • Age. Your age is a good indicator as to why your heels are in pain. The older you are, the more prone you will be to experiencing discomfort.
  • Obesity. If your body mass is higher than average, then your feet and ankles are also under higherthanaverage pressure which can lead to heel pain.
  • Ill-fitting footwear. Wearing shoes that provide poor shock absorption and support – especially during high impact activities – is actually one of the main causes for heel pain.  

The right footwear is, therefore, vital for preventing injuries. So, the most probable solution to your issue is, of course, to wear appropriate footwear. This can minimize – if not altogether eliminate – foot pains. That being said, you should always opt for supportive shoes, keeping in mind the specific industry requirements which apply to your job. A balance between both will be your “sweet spot.”

What is the Best Footwear for You? 

When searching for the adequate shoes to fit your specific needs, here are some things you should ask yourself:  

  • Is your work environment unusually hot or cold? 
  • Is your work environment often wet or slippery? 
  • Is the ground/surface of your work environment uneven or cluttered with small objects which you inevitably tread upon? 
  • Is the ground/surface of your work environment unusually soft? 
  • Does your work environment consist of mainly hard surfaces – wood floors, concrete, etc.? 

In some cases, companies will provide their employees with the appropriate footwear according to their assigned roles based on the company’s hazard prevention programs and policies.

However, custom orthotics can also be used to complement most footwear provided by employers – doing so can optimize relief from the strains brought forth by the daily forces exerted on your feet, especially your heels. The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society recommends the use of custom orthotics coupled with simple stretch regimens to significantly reduce heel discomfort and pain.

Need Help? We are Here for You! 

Of course, we understand that even when taking all the precautionary measures available, heel discomfort caused by work exertion can still happen. If that is the case for you, our medical professionals here at Sunshein Podiatry have the best tools to help tackle this problem.  

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t let your heel pain keep you from doing your best work.

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