One of the biggest complaints of assembly/warehouse workers is their feet. Since the foot is the base of our motion, if the feet do not work properly, people have an increased risk of knee/hip/low back issues. There is also the potential for slipping or tripping. Sometimes, fixing the issue is as simple as a pair of good fitting shoes.
Shoes have the ability to make a significant difference in comfort and long-term health. The tasks assigned to someone will dictate the appropriate type of shoes to wear. Whether it’s steel-toed, clogs or sandals, the importance of finding a good shoe remains the same.
Additionally, certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, also affects shoe choices. If you have a medical condition that affects your feet, consult your doctor or physical therapist about the type of shoes recommended for you.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Shoes should not change the shape of your foot. For example, shoes with very narrow toes force your toes into an unusual position.
- Shoes must have good grip at the heel.
- Shoes should have room for toes to wiggle and a good arch support.
- Shoes should have laces so you can tighten them over the arch for additional support.
- Shoes should not be completely flat or have a heel higher than 2 inches.
- Shoes should be correct for the hazard at your workplace.
- Shoes should have shock-absorbing soles-if you work on cement or metal floors.
- If you are standing at a workstation for long periods of time, use a footstool or a bar if possible and alternate the weight on your feet. Another thing to consider is using an anti-fatigue mat to help alleviate foot pressure.
- The best posture for sitting is to have your feet flat or supported with a footrest as needed. Sitting provides an opportunity to slip off those uncomfortable high heels and give your feet a break. You can also do some exercises (listed below) at your desk to keep your feet and ankles happy:
- Alternately point and flex your toes.
- Point your toes and make a circle, alternating between clockwise and counter clockwise movements.
- Starting with your bare or socked feet flat on the ground, slowly roll your feet on the ball of your foot and then back down again.
- For a special treat, give yourself a foot massage.
- Shoes with stiletto heels might look good, but they are not good for your feet or knees. Heels over 2 inches high force the foot forward, ultimately causing pain for toes. Additionally, the way in which weight is directed through a tiny, tall heel can cause knee injury.
- Walking shoes should be similar to those you would choose for standing- providing excellent shock absorption and support. If you must wear heels for meetings or events, keep a good pair of walking shoes available to change into.
- People with diabetes must take special precautions with their footwear. They are much more likely to suffer the ill effects of uneven pressure and uncomfortable footwear than non-diabetics. Since diabetes affects blood flow and immunity, it becomes easy for a small sore to become infected. People with diabetes should:
- Choose shoes that provide complete protection, but do not rub or cause sores.
- Limit the time spent in uncomfortable, tight or high heeled shoes and keep a good pair of walking shoes available.
- Inspect their feet every day for sores.
- Make sure shoes do not have small bits of debris or gravel in them before they put them on.
- Wash and dry feet daily.
- Wear cotton or wool socks to keep feet dry.
- Keep nails trimmed.
- See a doctor immediately about foot issues such as hang nails, corns and bunions instead of trying to treat them at home.
- Avoid going barefoot, even at home.
Choosing a proper shoe for your work environment is key to being able to perform your tasks without pain and reducing the risk of slipping and tripping. Saving a few dollars at the shoe store can end up costing you in pain and discomfort in the long run, so take extra time and money, if needed, and make a good choice! If you are having problems, make sure to consult with your family physician.