Work boots are not bad for your feet unless you buy a pair incorrectly suited for you, which places you at risk of various foot injuries.
Orthopedic specialists list the top 3 most common workplace foot injuries as broken feet, plantar fasciitis, and bunions.
What does this mean for you? Wearing expired work boots will likely leave you a victim of these terrible foot traumas that take ages to ‘heel’!
Fortunately, we’re here to help you avoid severe foot injuries by sharing the features of a fantastic work boot and much more.
In this article we get to the bottom of:
- What the features of a great work boot are.
- How you get foot pain from work boots.
- 2 methods to diagnose work boot foot pain.
- How work boot fatigue is caused.
- 7 ways to easily treat work boot foot pain.
Our editorial crew at MyBestWorkBoots works tirelessly to bring you the freshest retail trends. Accordingly, we’ve compiled this comprehensive analysis of whether work boots can be harmful to your feet.
Let’s get rolling!
What Are the Features of a Great Work Boot?
The features of a great work boot are arch support, heel height, and a right-fitting toe box.
The right amount of arch support prevents damage to the feet. Most work boots don’t have adequate arch support for the contour of your foot’s arch.
Make sure you equip your work boot with the right arch support that suits the contours of your arches to ensure your health.
You need to keep your arch in place so that your foot does not roll out flat, putting undue stress on your ligaments, nerves, and muscles.
One of the most prevalent foot problems, Plantar fasciitis, can be caused by excessive pronation. This so-called “policeman’s heel” can be very unpleasant to the foot arch.
The arch support of your boots must match the arches of your feet.
Work Boot Heel Height
The right heel height helps the feet evenly distribute the weight they are carrying; an imbalance in weight distribution on the feet could lead to damage to the feet, legs, and back.
You may not be aware that an excessively elevated heel causes your hips and center of gravity to move forward. This causes your calf muscles to contract to adapt to the altered posture of your foot. As a result, your Achilles tendon tightens, and your weight shifts to the ball of your foot instead of being evenly distributed.
An excessively high heel places your body under increased stress which causes numbness and soreness in your feet, knees, and back. You’re more likely to have an ankle injury or a tumble under these conditions.
Traditional boot heels should be your go-to option as their heels are not excessively high and will prevent some of these risks. A work boot with a raised heel height needs to be coupled with sufficient arch support to avoid these injuries.
The Right Toe Box for Perfect Toe to Toe Fitment
The right-sized toe box prevents the wearer from contracting damage to the feet, such as foot soreness, chafing, and corns that may result if the toe box is narrower in length.
Having a short toe box might lead to hammertoes.
Having a toe box that is the perfect fit is crucial.
How Do You Get Foot Pain From Work Boots?
You get foot pain from work boots by wearing them for extended periods and the excessive strain this causes the feet.
Common work boots are often insufficient for long-term use and are frequently blamed for being the cause of growing pains in the heel. If you put your heavy work boots on for an extended period, the likelihood is that you may experience pain and discomfort, along with the formation of painful bone growths like heel spurs.
Pain, discomfort, and unhealthy bone growth result from overloading your feet due to excessive strain. It is commonly noted that work boots with the wrong fit for your feet encourage unhealthy proprioception that places an unnatural strain on the foot and the joints, restricting their movement.
Work boots are made specifically to protect your feet from occupational hazards; they are bolstered with heavy tips that defend your feet and toes against various possible harm, but they are not comfortable if worn for extended periods.
But that’s not all
In the long run, the solid material meant to save you from work-related accidents to limit your freedom of motion can result in continual sharp foot aches.
Remember that the stress on the feet is proportional to your work conditions—the more severe the work you do in uncomfortable boots, the greater the chances of progressive degeneration of your healthy feet.
What Are the Warning Signs of Chronic Foot Pain?
Chronic foot pain warning signs are heel spurs, Haglund’s syndrome, and plantar fasciitis.
Heel spurs are the phenomenon of bone growth on the surface of the heel. These can be extremely uncomfortable and lead to swelling of the heel. The development of these is a serious warning sign to look out for.
Haglund’s syndrome is the phenomenon of a bulge on the heel bone due to an abnormality in the heel bone and the tender tissue in the feet. The onset of this syndrome is another warning sign to be mindful of.
Plantar fasciitis is the infection of the tendon plate underneath the foots’ sole. Immediate medical treatment is generally recommended to prevent the long-term degeneration of the feet.
2 Expert Methods to Diagnose Foot Pain Resulting From Work Boots
The expert methods to diagnose foot pain resulting from work boots are to get a professional opinion and to use technology.
Get a Professional Opinion
Getting the professional opinion of orthopedic surgeons, or GPs is instrumental when experiencing foot pain. A thorough examination of the affected person’s medical records will help identify any danger signs.
Use technology to diagnose any foot pain you may be experiencing. Imaging sciences, like X-rays, will help determine the place and development of bone growth on the foot bones or diagnose Haglund’s syndrome. This key information can help you get an accurate prognosis.
How Is Fatigue Caused by Work Boots?
Fatigue from work boots is caused by the added weight of working in your boots, the balance of your feet as you are working, and the boot cushioning.
If your boots are too heavy, this could result in work boot fatigue due to the physical exertion this weight causes.
People who work in industries that require much more physical labor than in other professions need to consider ways to counteract the fatigue from their work activity.
Your work boot selection becomes critical in your battle against exhaustion.
So you want to conserve your energy while at work?
Heavier boots wear out the feet and legs more quickly, so it’s important to get a pair of work boots that are the correct weight for you without compromising on their safety features.
Finding work boots made of different materials is a simple approach to minimize the overall weight of work boots and, as a result, fatigue.
Any impairment in your balance can result in work boot fatigue by making certain parts of the foot and leg compensate for the imbalance.
Shin splints and aching shins can result from wearing heavy-toed boots, leading to leg muscle strain. This discomfort is cyclical and can lead to exhaustion and perhaps catastrophic damage.
Steel-toe caps are the industry standard and provide effective toe protection. However, technological advancements have developed composite, aluminum, and carbon fiber caps which are substantially lighter than steel, contributing to overall lighter and well-balanced work boots.
Thick cushioning could be causing you to work boot fatigue because of how they yield and do not return energy. A highly cushioned boot is best for sedentary people at work, not for people always on the move.
For people in active physical labor on the job, features like a toe-spring will help create a more natural flex.
A boot with a firmer frame that places shock absorption closer to the ground (rather than the cushion) can absorb shock while returning energy, allowing for more efficient overall energy utilization and less fatigue.
7 Ways to Easily Treat Foot Pain Caused by Work Boots
Ways to easily treat foot pain caused by work boots are arch support, heel height, custom work boots, lifestyle changes, physiotherapy, orthopedic insoles, and surgical intervention.
The level of treatment you may require generally depends on how advanced your foot pain symptoms are; this means getting to the root causes of the identified symptoms.
A good quality boot helps to support your foot arch, which prevents injury.
The arch caves in without proper arch support, and the foot rolls out flat. This lack of arch support stretches the foot ligaments, nerves, and muscles – beyond what it is supposed to do. It’s called over-pronation, and it’s the main cause of plantar fasciitis, one of the most common foot injuries.
Examine the bottom of the foot. Four major parts touch the ground. Firstly, the heel, arch, followed by the ball of the foot, and then the toes. How the foot should contact the ground should begin with the heel first, then the arch roll forward, accompanied by the ball, then the toes.
Did you know
There are many home remedies for foot ache; however, injury is averted by getting work boots with proper arch support. People with high arches need a greater cushion, people with flat arches need extra firm stability, and people in the middle need a bit of both.
Getting a boot with a suitable fit according to the measurements of your foot arches will tell you what type of arch support you need.
A higher heel height, coupled with the right level of arch support, is a great way to treat work boot foot pain as this offers your heel ample shock absorption and brace.
A logger or lineman boot heel raised beyond the heel of a standard work boot would appear to be the best selection. It might not be the best selection if it isn’t a pair with exact inside arch support. Higher heels work nicely in boots with exact inner arch support.
For boots with a greater heel and insufficient arch support, your hips shift forward alongside your center of gravity as your heel is raised. Your calf muscles contract and alter to the new foot position. This tightens the Achilles tendon and shifts your weight from being well dispensed to being mostly on the ball of the foot.
What can this do?
It results in extra pressure on the foot, the knee, the hips, and the small of the back. Couple this with too-tight a toe box, and you can pinch the nerves in your feet, causing pain and numbness in the toes – a phenomenon known as Morton’s neuroma.
Too high a heel can impact balance, leading to a greater risk of ankle harm and falls. In the wrong situation, that can be deadly on a job site.
It’s vital to get a boot with just the right heel height for your work tasks and environment.
Custom Work Boots
Custom work boots with the right toe box shape are another way to treat work boot foot pain as they determine the level of comfort and safety of your feet and toes in the boot.
A toe box that’s too narrow lengthwise will cause the toes to crimp, usually referred to as hammertoes. The wrong-shaped toe box can permanently injure the toe muscle tissues and cause painful corns. Chafing and other foot aches can also develop.
Steel toe work boots are often blamed for these issues, but poor-fitting boots are the cause. Steel toe boots with the correct fit cause no problems.
Another way to correct this is to wear your work socks when trying on your work boots. Wearing the right work socks will tell you precisely how the boots fit. If you sense any constriction in the toes, whether or not you don’t have any room width or height-wise, you want a different pair. You can try on a range of different pairs or get outfitted for custom work boots.
Custom work boots may cost a bit more, but ultimately, they’re an investment in yourself and your well-being. Custom work boots protect you from foot, ankle, and knee troubles, making them worth the extra expense.
Adopting lifestyle changes to reduce your body weight will relieve any excess pressure on your foot and reduce the strain on the heel bone.
Combining eating healthy to maintain your body weight with physiotherapy can give you even better results.
Physiotherapy exercises are another way to treat work boot foot pain because exercising the muscle groups in the calf and feet helps develop strength.
Developing these targeted muscles can limit the pressure on the bone and combat the development of any adverse foot conditions.
Regular exercise every day, over a few months, can rapidly improve any foot injury diagnosis.
To avoid the slow degeneration of the calcaneus (heel bone), use optimally shaped orthopedic insoles to wear inside your boots.
Insoles are very effective at helping defend the foot from extra stress and encourage the foot’s natural movement.
The insoles can also serve as a comfortable cushion for people with inherent malformations in the foot’s structure.
Surgical intervention is used to treat work boot foot pain, but this is necessary in severe cases. Only n rare instances of heel spurs or advanced Haglund’s syndrome does surgery become recommended. Most cases of treating work boot foot pain are managed using more moderate interventions.
Some sufferers may require surgical intervention to repair foot mobility. However, surgery is a high-risk procedure and is typically not the go-to method of alleviating the discomfort of someone suffering from foot pain.
Are Heavy Work Boots Bad for You?
Heavy boots can be bad for you because they stretch and pull your ligaments over time, resulting in tendonitis, a painful tendon inflammation, or the tendon sheath.
If you feel any of these mentioned symptoms after wearing boots, they could be too heavy for you.
Why Do My Feet Hurt After Wearing Work Boots?
Your feet hurt after wearing work boots because they may not offer you enough arch support. Unless you have a pair of custom-made work boots, the likelihood is that your work boots don’t have enough built-in arch support to sufficiently support your feet.
Can Work Boots Cause Foot Pain?
Work boots can cause foot pain if worn for extended periods, if they are the wrong fit, lack arch support, and are too heavy for your feet.
Why Do My Steel Toe Work Boots Hurt My Toes?
Steel toe work boots hurt your toes when the toe box is either too loose or too narrow. Make sure that your boots have a toe box that is the right fit.
Everything has pros and cons. Work boots play an essential role in saving your feet from hazards at the workplace.
Work boots are not necessarily harmful to your feet unless you choose a pair that is not well-suited for your particular work. The best move would be to pick a pair of work boots with features unique to your needs that comfortably keep you on the move.