As a tradie, you spend more time on your feet than most other people. Not only that, you’re squatting, stretching, reaching – using the muscles of your body constantly. If there’s any misalignment in your structure, you’re probably going to feel it more than others as well.
Your feet would take you more than 10,000 steps per day, which is about eight kilometres every day. Good hip and spine health start from the ground up, from the foundations – your feet.
Tradies get sore feet because:
- You’re standing in the same place for a long time
- You do repetitive activity
- You’re standing on hard surfaces for a long time
- You’re wearing work boots that don’t fit correctly
These cause foot pain, which can also create ankle and knee pain, and eventually hip and lower back pain.
If you’re feet are happy, your spine is happy and you’re happy. Let’s look at some common problems for foot complaints among tradies.
Common foot complaints for tradies
Corns and callouses – these are caused by pressure and friction on the skin as a protective measure to make the skin more resilient to the friction. Corn and calluses can be quite painful but they can also be removed. To make sure they don’t return, we need to determine the cause.
Bunions – bunions are a protrusion of the joint at the bottom of the big toe. Sometimes the big toe pushes toward the smaller toes and can overlap them. This occurs because of genetics or badly-fitting work boots and can be quite painful, getting worse as time goes on. With proper footwear and maybe orthotics, we can prevent further growth and minimise any pain.
Cracked heels – these can develop by wearing shoes that are too tight or too loose, and because you are standing for long periods. If you’re hot and dehydrated, cracked heels develop faster.
Arch pain – foot arches lower with age and especially if you are on your feet a lot. This causes the foot to roll in and your arches can become painful. Orthotics can help to support the foot, and in turn support your ankles, knees and lower back.
Heel pain – heel pain can be caused by Achilles tendinopathy which is straining of the Achilles tendon due to over stretching. This can happen to tradies who are getting on top of roofs, under houses and other areas which require some minor acrobatics!
Plantar Fasciitis – plantar fasciitis is a common form of heel pain and occurs when the tissue between the heel and the arch of the foot is stretched or strained. You can really feel it when you get up in the morning after a long period of rest, sometimes it resolves itself after getting up and walking around. But if it doesn’t, you may be compensating for the pain with an altered walking style and standing position, leading to more problems with your ankles, knees and lower back.
Get the right boots – our tips for buying new work boots
- Make sure the boot bends where your foot bends so that your foot’s natural movement is not prevented by a rigid sole.
- Get a boot that has plenty of width for your foot
- Lace ups are better than zips as you can adjust the width
- Make sure it has a strong and supportive heel, press the back of the shoe to check if it folds in which means it’s not strong enough
- Find a shoe with good cushioning on the inside for shock absorption
- Get a boot with a removable liner so you an replace with an orthotic if necessary
And don’t skimp on your work boots, if there’s one place to spend good money for a tradie, it’s your feet!
The benefits of regular podiatry
The human foot is complex. It has 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments. With so many working parts, this highly developed structure needs preventive care to support you to do your daily work.
A regular trip to the podiatrist – we recommend about twice a year – does the following:
- Relieves pain and treats infections
- Helps to identify possible health conditions
- Supports good long term foot health
- Help you make healthier long-lasting lifestyle changes
Adelaide, Stirling and Mount Barker – Sanders Podiatry Clinic
If you have pain in your feet, pop into one of our podiatrist clinics in Adelaide, Stirling or Mount Barker. The team of experienced podiatrists in our family owned practice helps many Adelaide tradies with common foot complaints.