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 August 09, 2021

Pain in the … heel! Helping Workers with Plantar Faciitis

Plantar Fasciitis (fash-e-i-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain that can lead to much more serious work-related strain and injury. This condition accounts for almost 15% of all foot-related complaints.

The condition involves inflammation of the plantar fascia (a tough fibrous band of tissue that runs along the sole of the foot with attachments to the heel bone) and to the base of the toes. The plantar fascia provides support to the arch of the foot and plays an important role in normal walking.

The main symptom of Plantar Fasciitis is pain in the center of the heel. This is usually worse in the morning when the foot is first placed on the floor.

The pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis is typically gradual. But occasionally, the onset of pain can be sudden, triggered by a worker missing a step or after jumping from a height.  The degree of discomfort can sometimes lessen with activity after “warming-up”, but unfortuantealy can also become worse with prolonged or vigorous activity.

The main contributing factors causing Plantar Faciitis are:  age, weight and more extreme foot arches (both low or flat feet and high arches). In addition, work surfaces and work shoes can and do contribute to the condition. Very hard work surfaces means the foot-on-floor impact is more severe. Flooring that provides cushioning or matting can be help reduce the impact. It’s also important for workers to wear safety shoes or work boots with the right amount of cushioning  to support the foot and relieve the potential triggers associated with this condition. You can also recommend that workers do foot stretches, like toe and calf stretches, to reduce tightness in their feet and heels specifically.

Workers in occupations that required prolonged standing and walking are at a higher risk for developing Plantar Fasciitis. Helping workers mitigate some of the potential risk with the right flooring, matting and safety footwear that helps cushion workers feet are ways you can help minimize their risk and “soften the blow” of Plantar Faciitis for your workforce.

Find more information on Plantar Faciitis here:  https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=hw114458