Working hard is a part of everyday life, and has been since the beginning of humanity. Some jobs are more dangerous than others, of course, though employers should do their best to minimize risks for injuries. Still, accidents happen and even the stress and strain of simply being on your feet all day can lead to discomfort. Work-related foot injuries are any type of painful lower limb problem that results from your job.
Accidents versus Overuse: Common Workplace Foot Injuries
There are a few basic reasons your feet suffer injuries at work: accidents and overuse. Accidents are the sudden injuries that you can’t really predict or prevent—you drop a heavy box on your foot, you step on something sharp, you stub your toes, you trip and fall, and so on. Depending on your job and your working situation, this can include ankle sprains, muscle strains, fractures, black toenails, and other trauma-based injuries.
Overuse injuries typically develop on the job as the result of frequent standing or walking. The strain on your lower limbs from spending hours standing, particularly on hard surfaces, contributes to soreness and issues like heel pain, aching arches, swelling, blisters, and more. Certain jobs or required footwear may increase your risk for conditions like ingrown or fungal nails and athlete’s foot, too. These problems develop slowly over time and tend to persistently cause discomfort that can interfere with your work.
Taking Care of Painful Feet
How you deal with foot pain at work entirely depends on the condition that caused it, though there are certain methods and treatments that tend to be helpful. Our experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will carefully examine your lower limbs to diagnose the injury and any other factors that may be influencing it, such as worn out or poorly-fitting shoes. Then we will work with you to eliminate the injury and the pain.
Traumatic injuries like breaking your toes when something heavy is dropped on them or stepping on a nail need immediate care. Wounds will have to be cleaned and treated for infections. Broken bones and other problems may need to be temporarily immobilized to allow the tissues to heal. Once the initial damage has repaired itself, you may need conditioning to get your feet back to full strength to handle your job again.
Overuse injuries are treated slightly differently. You may need to make changes to your footwear to better support your lower limbs and reduce the strain on your bones and muscles. We might recommend orthotics or over-the-counter padded inserts as well. Massages and foot baths help with muscle soreness and swelling. Many times stretches and exercises throughout your work shift can help alleviate discomfort and pressure, too.
Protecting Your Feet from Workplace Pain
Protection and prevention is the best way to deal with work-related injuries. Always wear the right kind of footwear for your job. Generally closed-toed shoes are best. If you work in a high-risk environment, this may mean steel-toe boots as well. Make sure your footwear fits correctly and isn’t too worn out. Check your feet daily for blisters or puncture wounds you might have missed.
If you spend a lot of time standing in one place, request a padded mat to reduce the pressure of the hard floor on your feet. When you have a break, take the chance to sit and rest. If you’re prone to soreness, consider orthotics or padded insoles. Stretch your feet and calves regularly as well to loosen tightened tissues. Don’t take pain for granted, either—get any persistent discomfort checked out.
Painful feet don’t have to be a part of your job description. Accidents happen, yes, but you don’t have to learn to live with the discomfort. You can take steps to protect and support your lower limbs so they aren’t as painful. Our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. is happy to help you eliminate and manage work-related foot injuries and issues, so you can do your job without your feet holding you back. Make an appointment with Dr. Oberholtzer-Classen or another member of our team online through our website. You can also reach us by calling our Castle Pines, Cherry Creek, or Parker, CO, offices at (303) 805-5156.