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 22 May, 2017

What lies hidden in the grass, dirt or sand can definitely wreak havoc on bare feet. From nails, shards of glass, slivers of wood, pieces of seashell at the beach, thorns from trees and plants or sometimes discarded toothpicks, each can puncture the skin of the foot and cause serious injury. Even after the object has been completely removed from the foot, any dirt or bacteria pushed into the wound from the puncture can lead to an infection, painful scarring or even a cyst. Any puncture wounds should be promptly treated in my office within 24 hours.

Besides hidden dangers, “everyday childhood injuries” can also interrupt a summer break. Protect your children’s feet from traumatic injuries, such as bicycle injuries and lawn mower accidents, by making sure they wear sturdy shoes while riding a bike or when cutting the grass.

Do not discount sunburn on the feet. Protect your children’s feet from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of their feet. Feet, like shoulders, burn faster than the rest of the body since they are most perpendicular to the sun’s rays. Not only is sunburn of the feet painful, it can also cause skin cancers that often go unnoticed until they become very serious.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 20 Apr, 2017

Competitive youth sports often require many athletes to transition from winter activities to spring activities without considering the increased risk of incurring a foot or ankle injury. Moving from indoor to outdoor playing surfaces with varying impact can stress a young athlete’s feet and ankles. Going from sport to sport without allowing time for muscles and bones to rest can cause overuse injuries.

If your child plans to participate in a sport this spring after playing through the winter sports season, follow these six tips:

  1.       Get a preseason health and wellness checkup. A medical evaluation before the season begins can help identify any health concerns that could possibly lead to injury.

2.       Take it slow. Ask the coach to gradually increase children’s playing time during practice to avoid pushing them full throttle. Your child’s feet and ankles need to become accustomed to the activity level required for a sport.

3.       Wear proper, broken-in shoes.   Different sports require different shoe gear. Wearing the appropriate, well-fitting, broken-in athletic shoes can eliminate heel and toe discomfort.

4.       Check your child’s technique. Watch for any changes in your child’s form or technique. Ask the coach to notify you if your child is placing more weight on wide side of his/her body or limping.

5.       Insist on open communication if your child has pain. Express to your child athlete that s/he should inform you and the coach of any pain or discomfort as soon as it occurs. Overuse injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis and shin splints, can be subtle and develop over time.

6.       If an injury occurs, remember RICE. An injured foot or ankle can often be healed with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). If your child complains of foot or ankle pain, s/he should take a break from playing and allow time for recovery.

By Ruth Ann Cooper 06 Apr, 2017

This painful condition results from inflammation of the tissue band (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. Repetitive activities, such as a new exercise routine or walking on a daily basis, can put stress on the ligaments in the foot, leading to inflammation and pain.

The good news is heel pain can often be relieved using conservative methods, but it must be treated early.

 Heel pain can become chronic and debilitating if not properly treated.

I can help you find relief with therapies, such as:

  •  Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Stretching exercises
  • Orthotic devices
  •  Physical therapy
  • Footwear modifications
  •  Activity limitations
  • MLS Laser Therapy
  • Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

 Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to nonsurgical treatment, some require surgery. If you continue to have heel pain with non-surgical treatment, we can discuss your surgical options.

Heel pain should not stop you from enjoying the beauty of Spring. Make an appointment with my office if you are experiencing heel pain so my staff and I can help you resume a healthy and active lifestyle.

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