At 77%, a majority of Americans say they’ve experienced foot pain before. However, only a third of these are willing to seek expert care by a podiatrist.
Foot injuries can have a major impact on your quality of life. For example, foot injuries can restrict activities, including:
41% of people even say they would participate in more activities if not for their chronic foot pain.
Don’t let your pain take over your life! Instead, discover the five most common foot injuries you can develop at work, and how you can prevent them.
By reading this guide, you can tell you pain to heel, heal your pain, and get back to a happier life!
1. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain that occurs in the outpatient setting. An estimated one million patient visits per year occur due to plantar fasciitis. 83% of these patients are active working adults between the ages of 25 and 65 years old.
Our plantar fasciitis tissue runs across the bottom of the foot. This tissue connects the toes to the heel bone. When the heel endures stress or tension, inflammation can develop.
This inflammation often occurs as a result of running on concrete or wearing high-heeled shoes.
It’s also caused by a lack of stretching, which can lead to chronically tight calves and hamstrings. Work tasks that put a lot of pressure on your heel can also cause plantar fasciitis.
Patients with this condition often experience a sharp, stabbing pain in the sole of the foot around their heel.
This condition occurs as a result of degenerative irritation in the heel. Other symptoms include:
- Granulation tissue
- Collagen disarray
- A lack of traditional inflammation
- Intrasubstance tears
- A thickening and heterogeneity of the plantar fascia
If you have plantar fasciitis, you’ll likely have heel pain that’s worse in the morning but improves throughout the day. It can feel like a stabbing or dull pain in the arch of the foot or your heel.
If you develop plantar fasciitis, consider workers’ compensation. Make sure to stretch your lower legs every day. It also helps to ice your heel for 10 minutes a day to reduce inflammation.
2. Stress Fractures
Though stress fractures don’t sound as intense as broken bones, they’re often just as painful. In fact, stress fractures are tiny “cracks” within your bone. These often occur in the legs and feet.
If you develop stress fractures in your feet, the affected area will start to feel painful and/or tender.
Stress fractures are common among runners. Increasing your mileage too soon or striking and landing against pavement improperly can cause a stress fracture.
Employees who work on hard surfaces are prone to stress fractures as well.
You might develop foot injuries after making a sudden switch to high-intensity maneuvering, too.
If you experience stress fractures, it can help to know this type of foot injury often heals on its own. You’ll need to rest and give your foot a break. Wearing a medical boot can also help keep you from putting too much weight on the affected foot as you heal with your workers’ comp.
3. Ankle Sprains
Your ankle joints are connected to your feet. They’re often easy to twist if you land wrong or misjudge a step. As a result, you could develop an ankle sprain, which will cause your ankle to become swollen and painful.
Ankle sprains occur after your foot rolls outward and the ankle rolls inward. This can cause you to hurt the ligaments on the inside of the ankle. Then, your ankle will become stiff and swollen as your body responds with inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or illness. Too much inflammation, however, can cause us to experience pain for a period of time.
Ankle sprains are often caused by work tasks that involve intricate footwork. A sudden change in direction could cause you to sprain your ankle.
If you sustain any of these foot injuries, consider using the RICE method. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
First, rest the ankle from any activity until the pain begins to subside. Otherwise, you could sustain additional workplace foot injuries or cause more damage.
Next, ice your ankle for 20 minutes every few hours. This will help ease the inflammation and swelling. Make sure not to place the ice directly against your skin.
Instead, wrap the ice or ice pack in a towel before applying it to your ankle.
Next, use compression wraps, such as an ACE bandage. Compression wraps can help reduce the swelling.
Lastly, elevate your ankle above your heart. Repeat this step for a few hours every day to prevent bruising and swelling.
Bunions appear as a large bump on the joint at the base of your big toe. You might notice the skin over your bunion appears sore and/or red.
Bunions occur when you wear shoes or boots that are too tight. You might also develop a bunion if you have a genetic predisposition or arthritis.
In order to treat bunions and prevent future foot injuries, look for shoes and boots that fit properly. Apply for workers’ comp if you develop this injury.
If your bunion feels inflamed, apply ice. There are also foot inserts available that can help you distribute pressure evenly to reduce your pain.
Unless the bunion causes you severe pain, you shouldn’t need surgery.
5. Achilles Tendinitis
The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue connecting your heel bone to calf muscles. You can develop Achilles tendonitis when the tendon becomes inflamed. As a result, you’ll also experience a mild ache around the back of your lower leg.
Failing to stretch before active work tasks can cause your calves to tighten, resulting in Achilles tendonitis.
If you have this foot injury, use the RICE method to heal.
Get a Step Ahead: 5 Common Foot Injuries & How to Prevent Them
Ready to get a step ahead of your pain? By learning about these common foot injuries, you can prevent them before the pain sets in.
Did you suffer a foot injury at work and searching for an experienced workers’ compensation doctor near you? Call (888) 590-4030 today and get on the road to recovery.