Is Your Job Tough on Your Feet?

  • By Ruth Ann Cooper
  • 13 Jun, 2016

Many occupations are hard on the feet and visits to my office for work-related foot problems are on the rise.

People who spend eight hours a day or more walking or standing at their job often suffer from chronic foot disorders such as heel pain (plantar fasciitis), hammertoes, bunions and blisters, which occur from repetitive stress and may be aggravated by wearing inappropriate footwear. This repetitive stress can also lead to painful hairline breaks in the bones of the foot called stress fractures.

Workplace safety regulations often require employees to wear steel-toed boots or shoes. While this protective footwear prevents injuries from industrial accidents, the rigid toe box that guards against traumatic incidents is also responsible for the chronic foot problems many industrial employees experience, such as toe irritation, heel pain and Achilles tendon stress. To relieve toe discomfort, some workers opt for shoes with more room in the toes but are too big. Over time, the ill-fitting shoes put too much pressure on the heels and lead to plantar fasciitis and Achilles problems. In some cases, surgery is recommended for treatment of plantar fasciitis and other conditions when conservative treatment doesn’t provide long-lasting relief. However, the non-invasive treatments of Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) or MLS Laser which I offer in my office in Cincinnati, could be an effective treatment so as to avoid surgery.

Most industrial workers would benefit from protective shoe attachments that can be strapped onto the toe box of the flexible work shoe. These attachments provide the necessary protection and are much better for feet than steel-toed shoes.

Custom made biomechanical orthotics from Northwest Orthotic Lab can also provide excellent support and relief from repetitive stress. They correct biomechanical irregularities, realign joints and cushion daily pressure on the feet. Custom made orthotics also help prevent complications such as pain in the lower back, knees and hips, which result from bad posture related to foot discomfort.

If you work on your feet all day, I advise you to evaluate your foot wear choices to be sure they are comfortable and appropriate for your occupation. If practical, cushioned athletic shoes are highly recommended. For employees who must wear formal business attire, I advise wearing dress shoes that are wide enough and also recommend using arch supports or custom made biomechanical orthotics.

If you are experiencing foot pain you feel is associated with your work environment, make an appointment with my office—I’ll be happy to evaluate the best course of action to relieve your foot pain.

Dr. Ruth Ann Cooper

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Oct, 2017

Is the surgery painful? The level of pain experienced after bunion surgery is different with every patient. Most patients will experience discomfort for three to five days. However, if you closely follow the postoperative care instructions, you can help minimize pain and swelling after your bunion surgery. As part of my protocol, I utilize a MLS robotic laser both prior and subsequent to the procedure to reduce pain and inflammation and promote self healing.

What type of anesthesia is used? Most bunion surgeries involve local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. This means your foot will be numb and you will receive medications to relax you during the procedure.

How soon can I walk after surgery? You may be asked to avoid driving for three to six weeks depending upon the procedure selected for you, which foot you use to drive, how quickly you heal and other factors.

Can the bunion return? Yes, some cases have a risk of bunion recurrence. You can help prevent recurrence by following any instructions to wear arch supports or orthotics in your shoes.

If screws or plates are implanted in my foot to correct my bunion, will they activate metal detectors? Not usually. It depends upon the device chosen for your procedure as well as the sensitivity of the metal detector.

To learn more about what to expect during bunion surgery, consult with a foot and ankle surgeon by calling my office to schedule a consultation with me.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 18 Sep, 2017

Follow these six tips to help protect your children from serious foot and ankle injuries this fall:

1.       Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately. What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain. In addition to cartilage injuries, your child might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Schedule an appointment with my office if you suspect your child has a foot or ankle injury. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner long-term instability or arthritis can be prevented and the sooner your child can safely get back into the game.

2.       Have a foot and ankle surgeon check old sprains before the season begins. A checkup at my office can reveal whether your child’s previously injured foot or ankle might be vulnerable to sprains and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive brace during competition.

3.       Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players should never substitute baseball cleats for football shoes.

4.       Child athletes should begin the season with new shoe gear. Old shoes can wear down and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot cannot lie flat.

5.       Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports related foot and ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. This is why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in nonprofessional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player’s foot. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.

6.       Encourage stretching and warmup exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging prior to competition, help warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing risk for foot and ankle injuries.

If you would like a foot and ankle surgeon to evaluate your child’s feet, ankles or athletic shoes, contact my office for an appointment.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 10 Aug, 2017

This thickening and enlargement of the tissue surrounding the nerve in the ball of the foot is the result of irritation and compression caused by repeated pressure. Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma usually begin gradually and may disappear temporarily by massaging your foot or by avoiding shoes or activities that irritate it. Symptoms will become progressively worse over time as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary changes in the nerve become permanent.

If you suspect you have a Morton’s neuroma, make an appointment with my office as soon as symptoms develop. Early treatment with padding, orthotics or medication can help you avoid the need for more invasive therapies.

More Posts
Share by: