Uncomfortable feet shouldn’t be ignored, especially when your work requires you to be on your feet practically all day. Minor foot problems can quickly get more complicated, meaning that looking after your feet by wearing the correct footwear for your job and addressing any problems as soon as they start to appear is a priority.
Here’s a quick guide to common foot problems to help you keep your feet in tip-top condition.
A bunion is a bony bump at the base of your big toe joint. When the big toe pushes against the neighbouring toe (usually because of badly fitting shoes) it forces the joint of your big toe to get bigger.
Bunions can occur naturally due to an inherited structural defect or medical condition, such as arthritis, the culprit is often too-tight shoes. To prevent bunions, shoes should have a wide toe box and there should be space between the tip of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. No part of your foot should be squeezed or pressed. Protect your feet by wearing footwear that is fit-for-purpose – choose safety shoes and boots and footwear for hazardous jobs from high quality specialist work footwear suppliers, such as WEARMASTER®, Caterpillar and Bata, for the best protection and comfort.
- Calluses and corns
Calluses and corns are hard spots of skin that appear on the toes and other areas of the feet when too much friction occur. The skin protects itself against the formation of blisters by hardening. Although calluses may not cause pain or irritation, they can eventually become uncomfortable and troublesome.
To prevent calluses, start by replacing shoes that are too tight, particularly around the toes. Shoes should allow good airflow, socks should also be worn and it’s important to keep feet clean and dry. And while you might always buy the same size shoes, you should check your size regularly, as your shoe size may change, especially the width, and you may be different sizes in different brands. Always measure both feet and buy for the larger foot.
- Ingrown toenails
When the sides of a toenail grow into the surrounding skin and pierces it, it’s known as an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails can be red, swollen and tender.
Sometimes, ingrown toenails need surgery to correct them, so preventing them is important. The advice from the NHS is to keep your feet clean by washing them regularly with soap and water, change your socks regularly and cut your toenails straight across to stop them digging into the surrounding skin. Wearing comfortable workwear and safety shoes that suit your working conditions and fit properly can minimise the risk of ingrown toenails.
Hammertoe and mallet toe are deformities that happen because of an imbalance in the muscles, tendons or ligaments in the foot. They can be caused by foot structure and some diseases, but wearing the correct footwear is also important to prevent the joint deformities.
To avoid hammertoe, ensure there’s adequate toe room in your shoes. Laced or strapped shoes are recommended as they’re roomier and can be adjusted for the best fit. When buying new work footwear always do so at the end of the day to get the best fit, because your feet swell throughout the day.
- Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s Foot is a common fungal infection. It can appear as itchy white patches between the toes, or red and sore patches on your feet. It is treated using creams, powders or sprays from a pharmacy.
There are number of measures you can take to help avoid Athlete’s Foot
– drying your feet thoroughly after washing them, particularly between your toes
– taking off your shoes when you’re at home
– wearing clean, cotton socks (for example, Contego’s Cool Comfort Socks, which are specially designed to keep feet cool and keep moisture under control. They also feature reinforcements designed to complement safety footwear)
– selecting boots and shoes made from good quality, full grain leather, which helps breathability and airflow inside the footwear
Blisters are painful, fluid filled lesions caused by pressure and friction. Repeated rubbing of badly fitting shoes is often the cause. Blisters develop very quickly and can take several days to heal, or longer if a blister breaks open and becomes infected.
Ensure your feet are well protected against blisters by choosing well-fitting footwear and socks.
Find out more about Contego Safety Solutions’ extensive range by downloading the Contego Catalogue now, visiting our website www.contegosafety.co.uk or contacting our friendly team on 0800 122 3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.