Some people are more likely to develop foot problems than others. This can be due to genetic diseases, underlying medical conditions, or poor foot care. However, some people are potentially likely to develop foot conditions due to their job. There are certain professions where foot health is more compromised than others due not-so-foot-friendly working environments.
In this piece, we’re going to list all types of workers that are at most risk of foot problems, which conditions they may get, and how to prevent them. See below if you’re one of them:
Healthcare workers, such as nurses and doctors, have an increased risk of foot problems due to the nature of their job, which requires them to spend most of their day on their feet.
Healthcare professionals often work long shifts that can range from 8 to 12 hours, or even longer in some cases. They are required to stand, walk, and often run in a fast-paced environment while caring for patients.
In addition to prolonged standing and walking, healthcare workers may also be required to wear shoes that are not supportive or comfortable, which can further increase the risk of foot problems.
Healthcare workers may also be exposed to biological and chemical hazards, which can cause skin irritation, fungal infections, and other foot-related problems.
The retail industry is also one of the workplaces where workers’ foot health is often compromised. This is due to the working environments and several other factors that contribute to foot problems:
Hard Surfaces – retail workers often have to stand and walk on hard surfaces like concrete or tile for extended periods. This can cause foot fatigue and lead to foot problems.
Improper footwear – many retail workers wear shoes that do not provide enough cushioning and support which can cause the feet to roll inward, which can lead to foot pain, strains, and sprains.
Some also wear shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting, which can cause blisters, corns, and calluses. Wearing shoes that do not fit properly can also increase the risk of foot injuries.
Repetitive Motion – retail workers perform repetitive motions, such as bending, squatting, and reaching, which can strain the muscles and joints in the feet. This can lead to overuse injuries and foot problems.
Lack of Breaks – unfortunately, many retail workers do not have the opportunity to take breaks or sit down during their shift. Standing for extended periods without a break can cause foot fatigue and other problems.
Construction is a tough job. Tradies are often required to work on hard and uneven surfaces, as well as on slippery, wet or oily surfaces. Not to mention, their day-to-day also often include working with sharp or heavy objects, which are all magnets of accidents.
This type of environment is what makes construction workers and trades people at most risk of foot problem. Here’s why:
Impact – the constant pressure of standing and walking on hard surfaces and the impact caused by heavy objects falling on their feet are some of the main causes of injuries such as fractures, bruising, and muscle strains.
Punctures and cuts – tradies are also exposed to sharp objects such as nails, screws, or broken glass, which can penetrate their footwear and injure their feet. These puncture wounds can be difficult to heal and may result in infections.
Chemical exposure – depending on the nature of the job, they may also be exposed to chemicals, such as acids or solvents, that can cause burns or chemical reactions that can irritate or damage the skin on their feet.
Footwear – many tradies wear heavy protective footwear, like steel-cap boots. These are great for protecting the feet from impact injuries, however, these shoes are also usually quite heavy in nature and can put strain on the ankles, knees and hips.
Slips, trips, and falls – these not-so-happy accidents can lead to ankle sprains, twisted ankles, and other foot and ankle injuries.
Hospitality workers also spend hours on their feet without a break, which can cause fatigue and strain on the feet and legs. Many restaurant floors are made of hard materials like wood, concrete, or tile, which can increase the impact of standing for long periods.
They are also often required to wear non-slip shoes, which may not provide adequate support for the feet. Additionally, if the shoes are not properly fitted, they can cause blisters and other foot problems.
Restaurant workers may also be exposed to wet or slippery floors due to spills or mopping, which can increase the risk of slips, falls, and other foot injuries.
It’s no secret that athletes often engage in repetitive motions and high-impact sports. This can place a lot of stress on their feet and can cause small injuries to the bones, muscles, and ligaments of the foot that can lead to chronic foot problems over time.
Athletes who engage in high-impact activities such as running or jumping may be more susceptible to overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis or stress fractures.
Those who participate in contact sports such as football or basketball are also at increased risk of foot injuries due to collisions with other players or landing improperly after a jump.
Another factor that can lead to foot problems in athletes is wearing shoes that do not fit properly or do not provide adequate support. For example, wearing shoes with insufficient arch support can lead to overpronation or supination, which can cause foot pain and injuries.
That’s why it is important for athletes to take steps to prevent foot injuries, including wearing proper footwear, warming up adequately, and seeking prompt treatment for any foot pain or injuries.
Most Common Foot Problems in the Workplace
If you’re one of the professionals we just mentioned, below are some of the foot conditions that you should be aware of.
This is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot. This condition is often caused by standing or walking on hard surfaces for extended periods of time, which is common in many workplaces.
How prevent it:
It’s important to wear shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Stretching the feet and calves regularly can also help prevent this condition.
This is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon, which is the large tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. This condition can be caused by repetitive strain on the tendon, which can occur in jobs that require a lot of walking or standing.
How prevent it:
It’s important to wear shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Stretching the feet and calves regularly can also help prevent this condition. If you have a job that requires a lot of standing or walking, taking frequent breaks to rest your feet can also help prevent Achilles tendinitis.
Bunions are a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe. They are often caused by wearing tight, narrow shoes or standing for extended periods of time in uncomfortable shoes.
How prevent it:
It’s important to wear shoes that fit well and have a wide toe box. Avoid wearing shoes with high heels or pointed toes, as they can put pressure on the toes and cause bunions to develop.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are thick, hardened layers of skin that develop on the feet in response to repeated friction or pressure. They are often caused by wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes or standing for extended periods of time.
How prevent it: It’s important to wear shoes that fit well and have a cushioned sole. Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight or too loose, as they can cause friction and pressure on the feet.
Ingrown toenails occur when the corner or side of the nail grows into the skin, causing pain, swelling, and sometimes infection. This can be caused by wearing tight shoes or cutting the nails improperly.
How prevent it: It’s important to cut the nails straight across and avoid cutting them too short. Wear shoes that fit well and don’t put pressure on the toes.
Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bones of the feet and can be caused by repetitive impact on the feet, such as from running or jumping. They can also occur in jobs that require a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces.
How prevent it: It’s important to wear shoes with good shock absorption and cushioning. Avoid standing or walking on hard surfaces for extended periods of time and take frequent breaks to rest and stretch the feet.
If you notice any signs, it’s best that you contact your local podiatrist for assessment and treatment options.
Visit Watsonia Podiatry
Your feet carry you throughout the day, so it’s essential to keep them healthy and pain-free.
If you notice any signs of the conditions we just mentioned in your feet such as discomfort, pain, or swelling, it’s important to get them checked out. Early detection and treatment of foot problems can prevent more serious issues from developing.
At Watsonia Podiatry, we provide comprehensive foot care services, including routine foot exams, diagnosis and treatment of foot conditions, and custom orthotics. We use the latest technology and techniques to provide you with the best possible care. Book a visit and let us treat your feet!