03 May 2017 person wearing boots jumping

Daily demands aside, many workers also have to face a number of workplace risks, such as slippery or oily floors, wet conditions, and extreme temperatures, all of which can be detrimental to your feet, knees and lower legs.

When it comes to workplace health and safety, foot health probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but looking after your feet while you’re at work – even if you’re sitting down most of the day – is essential!

Farming, Animals and Conservation

Whether you’re a farmer, outdoor education teacher, or work as a parks and wildlife officer in a National park, your feet will have to withstand a lot of walking and standing for long periods. The high level of force and pressure that is placed on the feet under these tough conditions can cause a number of issues.

Common injuries include:

  • Cuts and bruises
  • Sprains from trips and falls
  • Arch pain
  • Overuse injuries, such as stress fractures and sprains that happen as a result of consistent pressure on joints and tendons

If your work often sees you walking for four hours or more at a time, you’ll be more likely to experience one of the aforementioned injuries.

To reduce your risk, make sure you wear supportive footwear that fits properly. Good shoes for these working conditions will have a sturdy heel box, good arch support and will have an appropriate amount of cushioning.

Healthcare and Medical Professions

Healthcare and medical staff often stand up for long periods of time. Because of this, it’s common for workers to experience pain in the heel, balls of the feet and arches. This pain could be a result of overuse, or from an injury or bruise that was incurred while walking on hard surfaces, or from wearing inappropriate footwear.

A lot of hospital staff wear comfortable footwear, such as sneakers, and those who need to wear dress shoes, should make sure they have suitable depth, width and support, to reduce the risk of experiencing foot, ankle and knee pain. Ideally court shoes should be avoided with lace ups and shoes with an ankle strap to reduce forward slippage are preferred. Cushioned soles are paramount for shock absorption, but if you do need extra arch support, custom orthotics may be required.

Office Workers

Many office workers think they’re exempt from any work related foot issues, however, unsupportive footwear worn in office settings is largely responsible for a number of lower limb issues in office workers.

Even if you’re sitting at a desk most of the day, simple tasks like walking to the printer, going to the toilet, or running out to grab a coffee can damage your feet, especially if you’re a fan of high heels!

Common injuries include:

  • Corns and calluses
  • Foot pain
  • Skin or nail problems, such as blisters and ingrown toenails
  • Lumps or bumps, bunions and misshapen toes

Most of the foot and lower leg injuries that office workers suffer are a result of high heels. Everyday shoes shouldn’t have a heel higher than 2cm. If you do wear higher heels than this, your calf muscles can shorten, you can end up with hammer toes and experience nerve and ligament damage from the amount of pressure placed on the balls of your feet. Plus, heels that are 4cm or higher often cause ankle injuries, knee pain, and strain your back.

To avoid these issues, opt for more comfortable, supportive footwear rather than a pair of high heels.

If you’re feeling any pain or discomfort in your feet or ankles because of the pressure you place on your feet at work, make sure you contact your podiatrist. If you need a podiatrist in Cannington, contact Cannington Podiatry today – we can assist with heel pain, knee pain and muscle pain straight out of our Cannington-based clinic.