Retail workers. Cashiers. Teachers. Servers. Anyone whose job requires standing for long periods of time, and who (because of this) often struggles with heel pain – THIS BLOG IS FOR YOU!
Here at Precision Foot and Ankle, we understand that standing on your feet for long periods of time without rest means returning home with aching, painful heels. If this sounds familiar to you, then welcome to the club! More than 10 percent of Americans today suffer from heel pain due to their occupation.
But this annoying condition is as common in the work industry as it is preventable. If provided the right tools, your risk of experiencing heel pain can drastically decrease, and worrying about your feet will be a problem of the past.
So don’t let your job get you down and out! After all, we work in order to pay our bills and keep a roof over our heads. How can you prevent the possibility of your heel pain literally keeping you from working and earning a living?
We have the answers.
Is Your Job Causing Your Heel Pain?
Heel pain can easily make your workdays miserable, but its occurrence should really come as no surprise. The complex anatomy of our feet endures on average a total of several tons of force impact each and every day. Our feet also provide balance as we stand, and are strong enough to propel our bodies forward as we walk to our desks or run to our posts.
Our heels in particular bear most of these stressors as they are usually the first part of our feet to come into contact with ever-varying surfaces. And, as our heels continuously absorb these sudden shocks and impacts, pain can start to take place.
Although heel pain is a common result of continuous impact during activities, there are also other risk factors you should take into account:
- Bearing weight for long periods. This is especially true with hard flooring or surfaces.
- The older you are, the more prone you will be to experience discomfort.
- If your body mass is higher than average, then your feet and ankles are also under higher-than-average pressure, which can lead to heel pain.
- Ill-fitting footwear. Wearing shoes that provide poor shock absorption and support – especially during high impact activities – is one of the main causes for heel pain.
The right footwear is, therefore, vital for preventing injuries. So, the most probable solution to your issue is, of course, to wear appropriate footwear. This can minimize – if not altogether eliminate – foot pains. That being said, you should always opt for supportive shoes, keeping in mind the specific industry requirements that apply to your job. A balance between both will be your “sweet spot.”
But What is the Best Footwear for You?
When searching for the adequate shoes to fit your specific needs, here are some things you should ask yourself:
- Is your work environment unusually hot or unusually cold?
- Is your work environment often wet or slippery?
- Is the ground/surface of your work environment uneven or cluttered with small objects that you inevitably tread upon?
- Is the ground/surface of your work environment unusually soft?
- Does your work environment consist of mainly hard surfaces – wood floors, concrete, etc.?
In some cases, companies will provide their employees the appropriate footwear according to their assigned roles and based on the company’s hazard prevention programs and policies.
However, custom orthotics can also be used to complement most footwear provided by employers. They can optimize relief from the strains brought about by the daily forces exerted on your feet; especially your heels. We recommend the use of custom orthotics coupled with simple stretch regimens to significantly reduce heel discomfort and pain.
But Is There Anything Else You Can Do About Your Heel Pain?
Other than wearing proper shoes, and perhaps even complementing them with some custom orthotics, there are plenty of other steps you can take to ensure your work days are not spent dealing with painful heels.
Here is what you can do to prevent and relieve heel pain while at work:
- Alternate between standing and sitting. Use break periods or slow periods to switch up.
- Change positions often. Walk around, stretch and stand in different positions to move your weight around.
- Avoid wearing heels.Keep the really high heels and the very pointy toes for parties and special events.
- Cover hard floors.Request a rubber mat or a rug to be placed on the floor to cushion the area that you are standing on and reduce the impact on your feet.
- Flex your knees.Bend your knee and try (without going beyond your natural range of motion) to touch your heel to your buttocks with one leg and then the other.
- Stretch your calves. Place both hands shoulder width apart and level on a wall, or even at desk level. Kick one foot forward and bend the knee so that it is directly over the ankle. Do the same with the other leg.
Once you get home from work, make sure to remove your shoes right away and keep your feet elevated above heart-level for as long as possible.
We know this can be easier said than done – for many of us, getting home from work doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to rest. In fact, getting home from work merely means “working” on our personal lives, from completing house chores to taking care of the kids.
And, if that is the case for you, finding time for a relaxing foot soak can also do wonders!
We also understand that even when taking all the precautionary measures available, heel discomfort caused by work exertion can still happen. Fortunately, Dr. Tenenboym has the best tools available to help you tackle this problem, including conservative treatment methods.
Find Heel Pain Relief at Precision Foot and Ankle
If heel pain is still keeping you from doing your best work, then it’s time to come visit our office. And while you wait for your appointment date, you can check out our FREE e-book, “Ending Heel Pain: A Guide to Understanding Its Causes and Treatments.” In it you will find some great information on how to kick heel pain to the curb.
To schedule an appointment, just give us a call at (727) 399-7167 or simply fill out our request form online.