Healthcare & Medical
Common problems for healthcare & medical staff
Any work that involves walking or standing for long periods of time is hard on the feet — with up to twice your body weight in force applied through your feet and legs with every step. Your feet are taking a lot of force over extended periods of time! Pain is common in the heel, balls of the feet, and arches.
Heel pain is one the most common conditions treated by podiatrists. The way your foot moves can be contributing factor to heel pain. The stress may also result from injury or a bruise incurred while walking on hard surfaces, or from wearing poorly constructed footwear.
Standing in one spot or walking for more than 4 hours at a time
Overuse injuries are prevalent for people who are on their feet for long periods of time. Proper foot care is paramount to relieving discomfort and preventing more serious injuries from occurring. When your feet are sore and tired you are at increased risk of tripping and falling injury. Supportive footwear and/or orthotics can reduce your risk of injury.
Walking on hard surfaces
Hard surfaces like concrete lack flexibility and multiplies ground force with every step. Workers employed regularly on hard surfaces can benefit from cushioned soles for shock absorption. Custom orthotics may also be useful for additional arch support.
Unsupportive footwear — including high heels
Shoes that are unsupportive or lack appropriate protection. Your toes should not touch the end of your shoes. If you can see the outline of your feet pressing against your shoes, they are probably the wrong size.
Regular high heel wearers place more pressure on the balls of their feet and walk less efficiently than wearers of flat shoes. The effect of wearing high heels for more than 40 hours per week shortens your calf muscle and actually changes your stride even when the heels are off.
High heels can contribute to many foot discomforts including:
- Corns and calluses
- Hammer toes
- Nerve and ligament damage resulting from the huge amount of pressure placed on the balls of your feet.
These irritations can all lead to more serious issues as you alter your walking style to compensate for painful injury, which can result in more serious problems with the knees, hips and spine.
How to reduce your risk
Common overuse among workers include repetitive strain injuries to the Achilles tendon, stress fractures through constant force applied to the feet, arch pain as arches can become strained through long periods of standing and carrying weight, and heel pain.
These problems can be avoided by:
Wearing supportive shoes
Shoes that are properly fitted with a sturdy heel box, good arch support, and appropriate cushioning are recommended to reduce discomfort and prevent injury. Shoes should be secured on the feet with laces, straps, or buckles. If your feet have to work to hold your shoes in place, your foot muscles may be strained.
Changing position regularly
Keep your muscles mobile and to give pressure points a rest. Keeping joints flexible by moving around is just as important as sitting down and having a rest at regular intervals.
Make sure you change positions frequently so that any one particular muscle group isn’t getting more strain than another.
Take care of your feet at home
Many foot problems can be prevented simply by keeping feet clean and dry, inspecting them for corns, calluses and cuts, and keeping your nails in good condition. Your feet are more susceptible to injury if you are on your feet all day, so looking after your feet will make your working life easier and pain free.
What can a podiatrist do for you?
Podiatrists are highly-skilled health professionals trained to help prevent, diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate medical and surgical conditions of the feet. While occupational health and safety guidelines can reduce the risk of injuries to employees, professional care can often benefit both employer and employee.
Podiatric treatment for healthcare & medical staff can include:
Managing existing injuries
If you are suffering from foot pain, we can recommend treatments to provide your feet with more support throughout the day and relieve any discomfort. Podiatrists will not only recommend ways to relieve pain but can also help with isolating the cause and preventing the problem from recurring.
We conduct assessments to investigate your posture and the way your lower limbs function. We look to see if you are compensating for any slight abnormalities in your feet or legs. We can then develop a treatment plan specific to your individual needs.
Finding appropriate footwear
The importance of workplace-appropriate footwear shouldn’t be ignored, and for many jobs, safety or protective shoes are mandatory for good reason. We can provide expert advice to ensure you have maximum comfort at work.
Fitting custom orthotics
We can also fit you with custom orthotics to provide extra support and reduce muscle, tendon and ligament strain. Orthotics are available for high heels and can be fitted to provide support, to adjust the balance of the shoe and thereby redistribute your weight over the whole foot instead of just to the front.
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