THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF UNHEALTHY FEET
AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
Feet are the structural foundation of the body and essential to overall health and wellness. Everyday working conditions such as walking and standing on hard surfaces for long shifts can cause harmful issues to feet that radiate up the entire body.
When the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot, is excessively stretched it can cause inflammation and pain. Excessive stretch will happen with increased weight pressure and continuous long-term activity on your feet such as running, working on a factory floor or in a restaurant. It is more likely with high arches or flat feet.
Premium footbeds in your work shoes and custom orthotics with strategic arch support will help take the pressure off of the plantar fascia to help prevent stretching. Boots built with a shank, an internal rigid piece housed in the midsole of a boot in front of the heel, will also add arch support and prevent stretching. Note, as these features breakdown, it is important to replace them to maintain their protection.
Heel Pain Syndrome
Extreme discomfort or pain in the heel is a common condition. It can be caused by over-use and repetitive stress on the heel, shoes with heels that are too low, a thinning fat pad in the heel area, or increased activity.
The easy solution to alleviate heel pain is to wear a good pair of work boots that absorb shock, provide cushion and elevate the heel to transfer pressure. Look for a pair with a firm heel counter, good arch support, quality cushioned footbed, and appropriate heel height.
Also referred to as ball-of-foot pain, metatarsalgia is a common painful foot condition where one or more of the metatarsal heads become inflamed from excessive pressure over a long period of time. This can be caused by too narrow of a toe box that compresses the toes and ball-of-foot and a thinning fat pad in the area.
Making sure to wear work boots with a wider toe box for wiggle room and expansion from swelling is important. A rocker heel will reduce stress on the ball-of-foot. An orthotic with a met pad will relieve pressure and redistribute weight from the area.
Pain results from bones in the forepart of the foot squeezing a nerve between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal head. This can happen when significant pressure is placed on the area from excessive walking or standing.
Footwear with a high and wide toe box is ideal for treating and relieving pain. An orthotic with a met pad will transfer the pressure from the area.
Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, a large tendon located in the back of the leg that inserts into the heel, can cause shooting, burning or piercing pain. A common cause is over-pronation which is when the arch collapses and the foot rolls in.
Avoid this ailment by preventing your arch from falling with proper supportive work footwear. Aleve and help correct with custom orthotics built with corrective arch support, a heel cup that elevates to reduce stress and pressure on the tendon and shock-absorbing materials.
Any kind of foot pain or fatigue can cause a change in your gait that adds stress and strain to your knees. When adjusting to pain or are unsteady from lack of supportive footwear at the end of a long shift, you may take shorter steps or even slightly limp. This unnatural or change in motion can cause knees to bend improperly or endure added strain.
When feet are out of alignment from under- or over-pronation, fallen arches or flat feet, the issue can transfer to the knee. Since the knee is made to only bend straight forward, the foot rolling in or out will rotate the leg as well, putting stress on the knee.
Inadequate footwear can cause knee pain in several ways. Shoes that change body alignment force your knees to work harder. When work requires a lot of standing, wear shoes with lots of internal support, strong heel cups, and side posts that support the ankle and keep or put the foot in its natural neutral position.
Hip & Lower Back Pain
Under or over-pronation, fallen arches and flat feet can cause the thighs and knees to rotate inward putting stress on the entire leg and hip. This can lead to an exaggerated curvature of the lower back putting more pressure on your hips and lower back.
Job & Life Impact
Unhealthy feet cause added fatigue and distracting pain that can lead to serious injuries on and off the job. Enjoying time at home or weekend activities with friends is dependent on being healthy and pain-free.
Issues from not taking proper care of your feet can lead to time off work, doctor's visits, workers comp claims, insurance costs and more. The negative impacts and expenses add up fast and can far outweigh any reason to ignore making sure you are wearing properly fit work footwear that is in good condition. Save yourself time, energy and money by taking care of your feet with supportive footwear and orthotics that reduce incidences.