August is Tradies National Health Month! The aim is to raise awareness of the risks posed to those who work in trade occupations.
Tradies make up 31% of the Australian workforce but constitute 58% of workplace accidents and injuries. Lower limb injuries make up 19% of all of these injuries and can occur from working on uneven surfaces, falling from heights, slips, trips, ladders and spending too much time on their feet.
Most tradies spend many hours on their feet so wearing suitable work boots is crucial!
What are some of the most common ‘tradie’ foot problems that we see at our clinic?
- Nail issues including ingrown nails, blackened nails and fungal nails
- Skin conditions including corns, callouses, blisters, tinea
- Musculoskeletal injuries including plantar fasciosis, heel pain, Achilles tendinopathy, shin splints and forefoot pain.
- ‘Traumatic’ injuries including sprained ankles and fractures
What do you need to look for when choosing a work boot?
Options include lace up, lace up + zip, elastic sided and spin fastening dials. Lace up options offer the best support, many lace ups now have a zip which makes it easier and quicker to remove them which is an important feature for tradies that need to take their boots on and off during the day. Whilst elastic sided boots are popular they tend to lose support as the elastic stretches and your foot can move around too much.
Do you need a high heat resistance? Some boots offer 130 degrees others 300 degrees.
Do you need extra protection to prevent sharp objects penetrating the sole of your boot?
Do you need protection from chemicals, bodily fluids etc.
Do you need a slip resistant outsole?
- Do you need a steel capped or composite toe box?
What kind of protection do you need? Is a steel capped boot suitable or do you need a composite material. Composite materials are lighter weight, don’t conduct electricity and don’t set off security. An important consideration for electricians and FIFO workers
Certain materials offer better protection from abrasion, chemicals, bodily fluids, water and heat.
As a rule, a work boot should only flex under the balls of your feet and be stable in the midfoot
Never buy a boot that feels too tight hoping they will stretch – they won’t.
Never buy a boot that is too big – your foot will work tirelessly to hold onto the boot and you will develop an injury!
I have recently reviewed the Steel Blue and Ascent range of work boots and summarized key features in a spreadsheet. I will be discussing this via a video blog over the next month. Both of these brands offer many wonderful boots in their range. They cater for both men and women and a large size range is available. (Steel Blue US 4-14 men US 4-11 women & Ascent US 6-15 men US5-10 women and offer 2E and 4E width)
These are a few of my favourite boots!
1. Steel blue Southern Cross Zip – this is a really comfortable and versatile boot. Great protection with the steel cap and the zip feature allows for quick removal of boots if you take your boots on and off during the day.
2. Ascent Alpha 2 – the composite safety toecap in this boot makes it lightweight without compromising safety and it has great cushioning. It has a 300degrees heat resistant outsole, is electrical shock resistant and has an oil, acid and slip resistant outsole. Has laces and a zip. Great for any tradie including electricians.
3. Steel Blue Torquay EH – this boot is wonderful for Electricians as it has many electrical hazard features
4. Ascent Sigma 2 – whilst we usually don’t recommend slip on boots, this boot has leather fingers incorporated into the elastic sides which reduces the chance of the elastic stretching out and the boot becoming loose. A good option for the tradie that will not wear a lace up!
If you are a tradie suffering with foot pain, or need help choosing your next work boot call one of our friendly podiatrists today on 55 616866!
© Warrnambool Podiatry Group 2019