If you are a retail professional who spends most of your working days standing and walking, you undoubtedly know how sore your feet can feel after a long shift. Unfortunately, sometimes a hard day's work can leave you with more than just sore feet.
Sales associates, store managers, cashiers and other retail workers who spend long periods on their feet are at risk of developing a chronic heel condition known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can cause debilitating heel pain and may affect your ability to work. If you are a retail professional suffering from symptoms of plantar fasciitis, you should visit a podiatrist as soon as possible.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the sole of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the joints at the bases of your toes. This tissue provides your foot with strength and protection, but it is vulnerable to repetitive strain caused by long periods of standing and walking.
Long hours on your feet can cause the plantar fascia in one or both feet to become torn and damaged. This damage causes swelling and inflammation, placing pressure on the nerves surrounding the fascia. This inflammation is known as plantar fasciitis.
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is a sharp, stabbing pain in the bottom of your heel(s). In many cases, this pain gets progressively worse the longer you stay on your feet. it can also be particularly acute when you first stand up after sitting or lying down, and many sufferers report that the pain is at its worst when they first get out of bed in the morning.
How Can Podiatrists Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis?
If you are a retail professional suffering from the characteristic heel pain of plantar fasciitis, you should visit a podiatrist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Without treatment, plantar fasciitis can become increasingly painful, and may cause loss of strength and stability in the affected foot or feet. It can also change the way you stand and walk, potentially causing serious problems with your back, knee and hip joints.
If your podiatrist confirms that plantar fasciitis is causing your heel pain, they can offer a range of non-invasive treatments to lessen pain and inflammation:
You may be prescribed oral or topical painkilling medications, which will reduce your heel pain and lessen inflammation. If your pain is severe, your podiatrist can also administer steroid injections, which provide more long-term relief.
If your retail job requires you to wear smart or heeled shoes, they may be contributing to the pressure placed on your plantar fascia. Many podiatrists can provide you with prescription footwear. These shoes are indistinguishable from regular work shoes, but have additional cushioning and ankle support, helping to reduce pressure on your damaged fascia.
These specially shaped insoles are individually crafted to suit the contours of your feet. They modify the shape of your feet as you walk, taking pressure away from your heel and correcting any gait abnormalities which may be contributing to your plantar fasciitis. These insoles can be worn inside your regular footwear, and are very useful if your workplace has a strict dress code.
Night splints are padded foot braces that you wear while you sleep. They keep your foot in an extended position during the night, which prevents the plantar fascia from contracting. This minimises the formation of scar tissue in the fascia and promotes blood flow to damaged tissues, allowing it to heal more swiftly.
For more information on heel pain, contact a professional near you.