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.

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