The Importance of Healthy Feet at Work
The importance of healthy, comfortable feet is often overlooked by people until they experience some type of foot problems. This is usually quite unfortunate because the problems that begin with the feet often spread and develop into other serious problems such as backaches, headaches, knee problems and more. Not only do these problems translate into discomfort and pain for the individual, but they also translate into increased expenses for both the employee and employer due to lost work time, increased insurance premiums and medical costs as well as decreased productivity in the workplace. Keeping the feet healthy will help keep employees happier, healthier and working to their full potential.
Common foot problems at work
The constant pressure of working all day on a hard, unforgiving surface, such as a cement or tiled floor can lead to a variety of foot problems including:
· Calluses and/or corns
· Ingrown toenails (may also become infected)
· Morton’s Neuroma (nerve damage on the ball of the foot)
· Arthritis of the foot and/or ankle
· Complications to diabetes (a diabetic’s feet are more prone to damage and take longer to heal
· Fallen arches
· Athlete’s foot and other bacterial or fungal infections
· Heel pain
· Sprains or strains
In addition to this myriad of foot problems, the constant pressure and shock to the feet, left unchecked, will travel up the body and may lead to deterioration of the ankle and/or knee joints as well as a misalignment of the spine which may cause headaches and numerous other complications.
Anti-Fatigue Insoles—A Sensible Solution
A simple, relatively inexpensive and sensible solution is implementing anti-fatigue insoles in the workplace. Having all employees wear ergonomic anti-fatigue insoles inside their shoes during all work activities is the most sensible and economically viable solution. Anti-fatigue insoles have been proven to increase employee productivity, which means the insoles could end up paying for themselves. Another great benefit is that anti-fatigue insoles will naturally help to decrease lost work time due to foot and back problems that would otherwise develop over time. This is especially true for employees that stand or walk on hard floors for more than a few hours per day (which in many industries is most of the workforce). The fact that anti-fatigue insoles are far less expensive to implement than installing anti-fatigue floor mats is another reason they are a sensible option. Another reason that anti-fatigue insoles are a better option than anti-fatigue floor mats is that they help to address foot fatigue issues for employees that work outdoors for all or any part of their work day.
How Anti-Fatigue Insoles Help
A quality pair of anti-fatigue insoles will help reduce or eliminate many of the above foot related problems in several ways. First of all, they are made from high quality, high tech materials such as dual layered memory foam that cushions each step and absorbs the shock that is caused from each step hitting the ground. The memory foam in the anti-fatigue insoles will gently compress and then rebound working in unison with the foot and dramatically reducing the effects of the impact. Next, they provide a cushion of comfort and help to distribute the worker’s weight more evenly throughout the entire length of the shoe. This prevents too much pressure from building up in any one area, such as the ball of the foot. Finally, a quality pair of anti-fatigue insoles will keep moisture away from the foot and be resistant to bacteria, mold and fungus. All of these factors together greatly reduce the risks of the various foot problems and their consequences.
Making the Transition
Making the transition to ergonomic anti-fatigue insoles in the workplace is far easier than other anti-fatigue solutions such as anti-fatigue matting. Each employee can simply provide their shoe size and the insoles can be ordered for the entire organization at one time. There is no expensive installation and no loss of work time while the solution is implemented. Once the insoles arrive, the employees simply slip them into their shoes and immediately experience the benefits of improved circulation and comfort. Using anti-fatigue insoles will show a noticeable increase in employee productivity almost immediately. There is really nothing else that an employer can implement with such little effort that will have as much noticeable and immediate benefits as providing anti-fatigue insoles.
For the Employee
Even for the employee that works in an environment where insoles are not being provided, the personal benefits and overall cost savings make it well worth while for them to purchase the anti-fatigue insoles themselves. Experiencing less fatigue is an immediate benefit, but the other benefits such as protecting their long-term foot, back and knee health should not be overlooked. The employee will experience fewer days of lost work and lower medical expenses. Increasing their own productivity will add to their value in the workplace, which is another added benefit that may lead to increased income over time.
Few things will have such a dramatic impact on a person’s overall health and well-being as their feet. Foot health and its relationship to other medical issues such as backaches, headaches and knee joint deterioration is often overlooked, but costs both employers and employees a lot in terms of costs, time and for the employee pain and loss of ability to do the things they love. A simple solution to this problem is the implementation of ergonomic anti-fatigue insoles which will absorb the shock and reduce the pressure from the feet while resisting bacteria, mold and fungus. Implementing anti-fatigue insoles is a much easier and less expensive alternative to installing anti-fatigue mats at the workplace and helps protect more employees including those on the move and those who work outside.