Thursday, 27 February 2014

Foot conditions associated with work related factors

Prolonged sitting or standing, working in awkward positions or handling heavy load at workplace can put excessive stress on muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and nerves thus leading to pain, fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders. Foot related injuries are quite common which often result from erratic work conditions. While many would opine that corns or calluses can’t be categorized as occupational injury in the strictest sense but the fact is that a tired and painful foot results in extreme fatigue which in turn affects body muscles and bones.

Work related foot problems and common causes

There are certain foot conditions which can occur in any workplace and under any working condition. Calluses, corns, severely aching feet, malformations of toes, rheumatism, arthritis, flat feet or bunions are caused from standing at a stretch or because of ill fitted footwear. If you prefer wearing high heels, pointed shoes or footwear that lack proper arch support then be careful! You are exposing yourself to foot problems. Those who need to work in extreme hot and humid environment or under strenuous condition often suffer from fungal infections, i.e. athlete's foot. Footwear that prevents adequate air circulation might prove to be the culprit too.

What kind of work condition can cause foot problem

Though common foot conditions can arise on/off the job, there are certain problems which can be directly related to work-related factors. Standing for long hours is one of the main culprits. Our foot is designed for mobility. Hence an upright stance can result in poor blood circulation which leads to severe ache and tiredness of the foot.  Continuous standing can also result in flat feet and inflammation. If not taken care in time, this foot condition finally leads to rheumatism and arthritis.

Flooring used in the workplace might also contribute to foot ailments. If an extremely hard floor can cause heel pain too slippery floor is the prime cause for slips or falls. Thus you end up with broken foot bone or sprained ankle.

How to prevent workplace related foot problems

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”, so it is always advisable to follow some precautionary measures to prevent aggravation of foot conditions at workplace. If your work demands constant standing, then try to take short breaks in between. In fact frequent short breaks are preferred over infrequent long ones. Take a close look at your footwear to assess if it is indeed suited for your work condition. Rather than giving preference to style, emphasize on comfort and safety. Opt for shoes that allow enough movement of the toe. Preferably it should have a fastening across the instep to prevent sudden fall. Flat shoe or the one with wide-based heel is preferred over high-heeled ones.

In case the foot problem doesn’t subside then it is always advisable to get in touch with an experienced podiatrist. The doctor’s guidance indeed helps in buying shock absorbing insoles or properly fitting shoes. He may also suggest some light exercises to improve blood circulation of the feet. Do keep in mind that timely foot treatment is the right way to get rid of long-term ailments.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Foot conditions of women that aggravate with age

Foot ailments are quite common and can happen to anyone irrespective of age or gender. However, a study shows that women are more prone to foot issues than men. Then, age plays a major role too. Before 40, if a woman suffers from high heel injury or overstressed foot problem then after hitting 40, the situation turns a bit grave. This is the age when foot tendons and ligaments start losing their elasticity. Sometimes toenails tend to thicken or fat pads underneath the foot become too thin. All these result in feet stiffness and extreme pain too.

Does this mean being a woman you are destined to hobble into the ripe old age? Not, if you are conscious about various foot conditions and their remedial measures. Timely treatment indeed helps in aggravating foot conditions that develop with age. Discussed below are few such foot problems from which a woman is mostly likely to suffer with age:-

  • Bunion: A kind of protuberance which results due to shifting of the first metatarsal, i.e. the big toe bone towards the second toe. A large bump on the side of big toe, skin redness, swelling and pain are few common signs of bunion. Though genetic predisposition is considered the prime reason but you might give a further boost to it by wearing shoes with narrow toe boxes. By shifting to soft, supple leather shoes with thick sole it is possible to reduce pressure on foot bone. Specially designed orthotics proves to be effective too.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: An inflammation which is caused by excessive stretching of the bottom of the foot i.e. plantar fascia. This foot condition results in heel, arch pain and heel spurs, especially after getting up in the morning. Tight calf muscle, excessive strain on the arch portion, extreme physical activity and flat feet are some primary causes of Plantar Fasciitis. One effective remedy is wearing shoes with one-and-half-inch heels. The right kind of orthotic with longitudinal arch support and rear foot posting can be of great help too.
  • Neuroma: Thickening and inflammation of nerve tissue, mainly between third and fourth toes is considered as Morton’s Neuroma. Numbness, cramping of forefoot or tingling sensation are few common symptoms of this foot problem. Erratic footwear that puts excess pressure on nerves in the ball of the foot might be one of the culprits. While walking if your foot tends to roll inward then it can also result in Neuroma. Thus it is also advisable to take a break from physical exercises or activities that irritate nerve tissues. Shoes with cushioned heel helps relieve pain and discomfort associated with this ailment.

With advancements in podiatric treatments, it has now become easy to get rid of nagging and painful foot syndromes. Surgery is considered the last resort if the patient is suffering since long or the foot problem is obstructing her daily activities. Otherwise regular exercises, proper footwear or orthotics are just adequate to take care of most of the foot conditions. Whatever route you follow, make sure to do that under expert guidance of a podiatrist.