Foot comfort and safety at work

When we think about the important parts of our bodies to protect, whether at work or in general life, somehow our feet seem to slip down the priority list.

But foot injuries and pain in the feet are extremely common and can seriously compromise our ability to work and enjoy our social lives.

So, it is important to start taking care of your feet, here is why foot comfort and safety is so important at work and what you can do to protect them.

Why is foot comfort important?

Foot care is important for a variety of reasons.

Not least the fact that treating problems like corns, calluses, bunions, and ingrown toenails can help to prevent issues that make you unsteady on your feet, and thus putting you at greater risk of falls and doing further damage.

Footwear is particularly important. Good footwear should be safe, appropriate for whatever task you are doing and be in good condition to help alleviate the risk of falls.

Keeping a good check on your feet need not be laborious either, keeping them clean and dry, checking regularly for cuts, swelling and bruising, and using a foot file or pumice stone to fill in dry or hard skin are some of the easy methods you can employ.

What are some causes of foot problems?

Most of us work in jobs where our feet take an absolute hammering, even if we don’t necessarily realise it. 

Nurses for instance spend long hours on their feet all day, office workers are up and down on their feet, retail workers have to stand up all day, and those in construction are not only on their feet but have heavy tools and supplies to try and avoid dropping.

Working on your feet all day can lead to stress fractures, sprains, strains, corns and ingrown toenails. You could also endure arch pain or pain in the ball of the foot or heel from muscle strain.

Foot and lower limb injuries are a very common reason why people miss work and lose wages.

How does footwear contribute to foot problems?

There are many pitfalls when it comes to the right footwear selection. 

Often we select footwear early in a morning when our feet are most swollen, it is better to wait until you have woken up a little first.

There is also a good chance you are wearing the wrong shoe size, particularly as we get older as our feet tend to lengthen.

Old and worn-down shoes, improper footwear for the type of activity you are doing, and wearing high heels that are too big are also common mistakes we make with our feet.

How can foot injuries be prevented?

There are plenty of things we can do to try and prevent foot injuries.

Make sure floors are free of litter you might slip on, and that they are also dry and clean so people don’t slip and trip.

Ensure all hallways, aisles and paths are kept clear of other hazards, and use bright and contrasting colours in places where visibility is impaired.

And of course, a good pair of protective boots is imperative, especially when working with heavy tools and machinery.

What should I know about protective footwear?

Approximately 80 per cent of adults in the United Kingdom have some form of foot-related issue they are contending with.

So, when in an environment where protective footwear is required, it is important to get it right.

Make sure both feet get measured as they are not always the same size, and always try on both shoes to check the length, width and depth.

You need enough room at the front of the shoe or boot for natural movement of toes, which should be able to wriggle – keep around one centimetre of space between your biggest toe and the end of the shoe.

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