Causes Of Foot Pain At Work

January 27, 2022

When you’re busy at work with a seemingly never-ending task list, foot pain slowing you down and holding you back is the last thing you need. Foot pain can have a wide range of causes that require very different care at home, and treatment to get fixed, which is why it’s important to know the cause of your pain. Here are some of the common causes of work-related foot pain that our podiatrists see and treat in our clinic, based on the location you’re experiencing the pain. If your foot pain is extending over multiple areas, remember that injuries are not always isolated and can involve many structures.  

Causes Of Heel Pain

If you’re getting pain at the bottom of the heel that feels worst first thing in the morning when you take your first few steps, then eases, and may radiate through your arch, then you may have plantar fasciitis. If the entire pad around the bottom of your heel is sore, your fat pad may be damaged. If the pain is affecting the very back of your heel, your Achilles tendon may be injured. You may also have developed a ‘pump bump’ – otherwise known as a Haglund’s deformity – that can occur if you regularly wear tight work shoes that rub against the back of your heel. General heel pain from tired, used muscles can also develop as a result of long periods of standing on your feet – especially when you’re regularly walking over hard surfaces, in unsupportive footwear, or you have poor foot biomechanics – like flat feet.  

Causes Of Pain At The Ball Of Your Feet

Pain at the balls of your feet can indicate that you’re putting more pressure on the joints in the area. Often we see this being a result of the footwear worn at work, particularly if they’re heeled or have a firm base without much cushioning. It can also be related to repetitive movements performed as part of your work duties, like standing on the balls of your feet to reach files or moving over uneven ground where your toes are gripping the shoe at the front of the foot to try to gain stability. Your foot biomechanics and the tendency to naturally place more pressure on the balls of your feet can also play a big role. Having pain at the ball of a foot can indicate that you’ve damaged, or at least irritated, a joint, muscle or tissue. This can look like a plantar plate injury, bursitis, or capsulitis. If the pain is felt more in the middle of the foot, along one of the long bones, it may be metatarsalgia. If squeezing the foot from the sides elicits pain, you may have a Morton’s neuroma – the inflammation of the lining around one of the nerves in your foot.  

Causes Of Ankle Pain

Pain on either the inside or outside of the ankle that makes it difficult and painful to walk can indicate damage to one of the ankle ligaments. This is usually the result of an ankle sprain or suddenly twisting or rolling your ankle, which can occur when working on an uneven or slippery surface. If you haven’t noticeably suddenly twisted the ankle, you may have an impingement where a tendon or nerve is getting trapped in the space between bones in the ankle. It may also be a tendon injury, where the tendon runs down the leg and crosses over the ankle and causes pain in this area, or the pain may be arthritic in nature.  

Causes Of Pain At The Toes

Pain at your toes may be the result of an ingrown toenail, a corn or callus from your work shoes, or often, the direct result of work shoes rubbing against the feet. If the pain is at the big toe and towards the ball of the foot, it may also be sesamoiditis – which we often see in runners or those very active on their feet. If you have arthritis or gout, the big toe joint is also a common place to be affected.  

Generally Sore And Tired Feet

If you’re struggling to pinpoint a specific location for your feet, and are feeling like you just generally have sore feet and legs, it may just be general muscular overuse as a result of your foot type, your footwear or your work conditions. A classic example is flat feet, where various muscles of the feet and legs must work much harder to move the foot through every step compared to a regularly arched foot.  Unsupportive work shoes can also add to the problem by not helping to stabilise your foot within the shoe, meaning that your feet and legs will have to work even harder to maintain good stability and adapt to the uneven ground throughout your workday, tiring your muscles more. Hard surfaces and higher arched feet can also contribute to foot fatigue, and we often see tradies and those working on concrete that have high arched feet come in with sore feet and legs as their foot type means they may not absorb shock efficiently and the hard surfaces increase the forces that their feet are exposed to.  

Need Help With Sore Feet?

Wherever your foot pain is located, it’s important to get to the cause of your pain and address it before it worsens. As we are on our feet all day every day, putting force and pressure through the feet, issues and injuries are highly likely to worsen if left untreated. Our experienced podiatrists are here to help and will not only treat your current pain but get to the root of the problem to help prevent the problem from coming back.  Book your appointment by calling 09 523 2333 or book online