Throughout the workday, feet can be stressed and stretched in new ways, whether working outdoors at a construction site or inside a classroom.
At Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates (FASA), providers across several South Sound locations help workers to stay nimble on their feet. When visiting FASA, a team of providers and wellness professionals use both surgical and non-invasive treatments to help patients feel their best for both work and play.
In a workplace, the right type of footwear can help ease chronic pain while also helping to prevent injury to the foot. To complement appropriate footwear, custom orthotics can further help to support healthy feet. Custom orthotics are shoe inserts that can absorb shock and make everyday movement more comfortable.
Some types of orthotics are available over the counter, but when creating custom orthotics at FASA, a provider will use digital scans of the foot to produce custom foot inserts.
“Custom orthotics help bring the ground up instead of gravity always pushing everything down,” explains Dr. Terrance Hess, CEO of FASA. “They are made for everyone standing and moving around, who are on their feet and experience tiredness, pain and are uncomfortable throughout the day.”
Custom orthotics can help to soothe regular aches and pains from the workday. By cushioning and protecting the foot, custom orthotics can also help alleviate the symptoms of multiple foot conditions, including chronic heel pain or tendonitis.
Patients who are eligible for bunion or Achilles tendon surgery may also seek out orthotics before their procedure is scheduled. Hess says orthotics work through supporting foot arches and by distributing weight across the foot. “Custom orthotics can help provide stability when you stand or walk to prevent further injury,” says Hess. “They help with support of foot fatigue for prolonged time of standing and moving around.”
Because custom orthotic inserts are fitted to the unique shape of a patient’s foot, no two pairs are identical. Orthotics may also have different applications for different conditions, like diabetes, arthritis or chronic pain. Custom orthotics can also fit inside a range of footwear, including work boots, tennis shoes or even ski boots.
“To fit custom orthotics, a patient would need an appointment to scan, design, and to fit the foot,” says Hess. “It arrives a week to two after the appointment to the office. The patient picks up at the office for instructions and care.”
Custom orthotics can be helpful for a wide variety of lifestyles and chronic conditions but are particularly important in the workplace. For workers who are on the move all day, orthotics can help provide extra protection, comfort and cushion while walking, standing, lifting, or while working with customers. “For people that are constantly on their feet, they usually work on hard surfaces that offer no cushion,” says Hess. “Restaurant workers, retail, hospitality, service industry can constantly be on the move and the shoe inserts you see in the store are a one size fits all approach. That shouldn’t be as we all have different feet.”
A patient keeping on top of their foot health is important for both a better workday and for a better quality of life. For workers who spend a lot of time on their feet, preventative measures like stretching, and proper foot supports can help prevent injury and long-term damage. If chronic foot pain or other conditions do arise, Hess recommends that patients visit a provider to help prevent further damage and to help remedy symptoms.
“Proper stretching and support are important,” says Hess. “Also make sure shoes are fitted and comfortable. If you feel pain or discomfort, it’s best to be seen as soon as possible as foot pain is something that can get worse as we push it off. The feet take 120% of our body weight when we walk so if someone weighs 150 pounds, our feet are really taking 180 pounds of force.”
To learn more about preventing injury and staying comfortable while on feet all day, visit the Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates website. For updates, demonstrations and tips to stay healthy, visit the FASA TikTok page, Instagram page or Facebook page.