Plantar Fasciitis in Assembly Workers

Heel pain imageA recent study in PM & R, the Journal of Injury, Function and Rehabilitation, found that individuals who work in a manufacturing setting have a greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain. The researchers evaluated full time employees who had been working at an automobile assembly plant for at least six months. Individual walking patterns and foot motion were measured and correlated with time spent standing, the standing and walking surface, the number of times an individual got into and out of a forklift or truck, the number of time shoes were rotated during the week and the amount of support received by the supervisor.

Individuals with over pronation and greater forefoot pressure, as seen on physical examination and gait evaluation, had a greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Those who spend more time on their feet, either standing or walking, had a greater risk and the harder the surface the greater risk for developing fasciitis. Truck and forklift drivers who repeatedly got in and out of the vehicle, had a greater risk of developing fasciitis. Trends which seemed to decrease the risk included rotation of shoes during the work week and support by their supervisor.

The authors offer these tips to help decrease the risk of plantar fasciitis in an assembly plant work environment:

  1. Rotate shoes throughout the work week.
  2. Use a longitudinal arch orthoses.
  3. Use a medial longitudinal arch with the orthoses and a metatarsal pad.
  4. Allow workers to alternate between sitting and standing position.
  5. Allow the use of cushioning mats for concrete surfaces.

Diagnosis and treatment information, including images, diagrams and illustrations on plantar fasciitis.

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