Without even thinking much about it, you put a lot of stress and strain on your feet at work. Despite this, getting treatment when your feet hurt is probably not at the top of your list of priorities. However, unless you get prompt and effective care for a foot injury or chronic foot condition, you could be squandering your sick leave or suffering through your shifts for years to come. Our Portland podiatrists take a look at common work-related foot problems and explain how we can help you here.
Common On-the-Job Foot Injuries
Workers typically injure a foot in one of two ways: either they have a sudden accident that impacts one or both feet, or they develop a chronic problem after years of standing or carrying heavy loads. Either type of injury can be effectively treated by a skilled podiatrist. The most common injuries we see include:
- Dropped-object injuries. If your job requires you to lift heavy objects or move a lot of merchandise, the odds are that you will eventually drop something on your foot. If the object is heavy enough, it could cause broken or crushed bones, but even lighter objects can cause painful bruising, dead toenails, or general pain.
- Cuts and puncture wounds. Nails, broken glass, rocks, and other sharp objects can break through the sole of a shoe, particularly if it is already worn thin, and cut the skin on the bottom of your foot. These kinds of injuries are prone to infection, given their location.
- Toe injuries. Toes are fairly fragile appendages, so dropping an object on one or stubbing a toe on a step or other obstacle could easily cause a sprain, if not a fracture.
- Ankle sprains. Anyone doing any kind of job could twist their ankle on an uneven surface and sprain the ligaments or strain the muscles or tendons in the joint. Outdoor workers who must deal with harsh weather conditions are at particular risk of an ankle injury.
- Plantar fasciitis. Being on your feet all day, whether standing still or walking, can aggravate the long tendon on the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. The most common symptom of this condition is pain in the heel, particularly when first getting out of bed in the morning.
- Bunion aggravation. Bunions are bony protrusions at the base of your big toe that some people are just predisposed to. Work activities can’t actually cause a bunion, but once you have one, it can be difficult to put weight on the ball of your foot, stand for long periods, and wear required footwear.
If you are struggling to stay on your feet all day, experience aching or swelling at night, or wake up in pain, schedule an evaluation at one of our Portland-area podiatry clinics to find out what’d going on.
Treatment and Prevention of Work-Related Foot Problems
Once we have diagnosed your foot problem, we will develop a treatment plan that starts with the most conservative, non-invasive options first and progresses as needed to more drastic measures. With some of these problems, rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories might get you back to work. In other situations, you might want to consider physical therapy, shockwave treatments, or surgery.
In our experience, one of the most effective ways to prevent foot injuries at work is to wear the proper shoes for the job. We help our patients who are nurses, construction workers, cashiers, factory line workers, warehouse workers, and more, locate and size appropriate sturdy, comfortable shoes for the job. Custom-made orthotics can also benefit anyone who is on their feet for long periods of time.
Discuss Work-Related Foot Injuries With Our Team
If you are finding it difficult to do your job because of foot pain, the podiatrists at Northwest Extremity Specialists will develop a personalized treatment plan that will get you back to work pain-free. We will diagnose and evaluate your condition to ensure that we are providing the best possible treatment options. Call us today at 503-245-2420 to make an appointment in the Portland-area office closest to you.