5 Tips for Workplace Footwear from an Expert: Proven Pain Relief Must-Knows

If you are a tradesman, contractor, home renovator or do it yourself-er, the most important tool that you have is your personal well-being, which includes your feet. Your feet are what carry you through the world, and orthotics can be a great tool for supporting your feet. When doing physically demanding work, your feet are susceptible to injury, abuse, and long-term degeneration. We take it for granted that the tools we use are what gets the job done; but, often we don’t realize how stressful the workplace can be, or that our feet are essential to using those tools safely and efficiently.

Long-term wear and repetitive strains from manual labour can take a significant toll on our feet, especially when working on hard surfaces for many hours per day, several days per week, over several years. In this article, we’re going to look at how we can support our feet at work through choosing the correct footwear, finding custom orthotics, and some other tips and tricks.

What to look for in your footwear

  1. Sturdy work boots, especially CSA Approved Class 1,  are better protection than ordinary shoes or sneakers, whether from punctures, dropped objects, electrical shocks, or falls. These boots are an essential part of any job site, and are typically required under CCOHS standards.
  2. In addition, having a steel or composite soleplate can protect your feet from uneven surfaces and ladder rungs, as it will distribute your weight evenly and cause less stress to the arches. As you climb ladders, specifically rungs versus steps, your feet are required to flex around the rung, and the strong metal rung can damage the soft arches of the feet.
  3. If you experience foot pain or fatigue at the end of the day, a high-quality cushioned liner or arch support is another beneficial feature to look for in your footwear. Hard or uneven surfaces are not kind to your feet, ankles, knees, hips or back and their impact adds up throughout the years. Custom orthotics can help significantly with any foot pain or fatigue you may experience.
  4. Stockings are another important part of your kit. Absorbent cotton or cotton poly work socks will keep your feet dry and protect them from the friction inside the boot. There are many types of stockings with special properties available now including seam-free, padded, insulated and blister resistant socks. These socks may cost a bit more, but they can make your working life a lot easier and they’re an investment in your health.
  5. Don’t forget your feet! Good foot health using a high-quality moisturizer to keep skin supple and strong, and paying careful attention to callouses, corns, and ulcers will keep your feet ready to carry you through the world.

Custom foot orthotics can play an important role in holding your feet in a better position inside the footwear. Whether for cushion or position this can have a beneficial effect on the feet, knees, hips and back. Repetitive stress from doing the same movements or positions over-and-over can cause long term damage, especially if precautions are not taken. If you are climbing stairs or ladders or just standing on concrete floors for a long time, repetitive stress can damage your feet, and ultimately lead to issues with your knees, hips, back, neck, and more. Workplace injuries are often seen as only slips, falls, or acute trauma, but recurring tendonitis and repetitive stress fractures can lead to degenerating joints, compensation, and early onset osteoarthritis.

If you find yourself in pain at the end of the workday more often than not, and find yourself spending the weekends recovering, this may be a preventable. Following the above guidelines of  using the appropirate footwear, consulting a pedorthist for custom orthotics, and using appropriate stockings and foot care practices will give you and your feet the best possible outcome. This is the most important part of occupational health when working around tools and other workplace hazards. One misstep can have lasting consequences. Be foot smart and work safe.

More questions than answers? You can get more information on orthotics, footwear and pedorthic services at Thera-Ped Foot and Ankle Clinic by calling (506) 632-9397, or book an appointment today with our Canadian Certified Pedorthists.