The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Machine Shop Workers Need a New Foot Factory

Posted by on Monday, December 17th, 2012


Factories make the world go round. Just think of all the manufactured objects you use every day: plates, tape, your car, shoes, furniture, computers, shower curtains, cell phones, toothbrushes, etc., etc. In our modern world, the list of products we get from factories is outrageously long, and it’s increasing every day. If you don’t work in a factory, you may not give them much thought. You buy objects in the store, order them from Amazon (beware their third-party vendors, by the way), get them as gifts, and go about your life. But people are making those objects in jobs that demand a great deal of physical exertion. Working large, dangerous machines requires laser precision and focus. Workers stand at attention for eight hours every single day, making sure there’s no break in production and that no one gets hurt. Tired feet is just a fact of life for these workers.



The research is in. A 2010 study of foot and ankle disorders among assembly plant workers found that 52% of workers in the sample set were suffering with foot or ankle pain or injury. The researchers conducted gait assessment on the workers and found that high metatarsal pressure was associated with pain, as was the amount of time walking (no surprise there), job dissatisfaction, a history of rheumatoid arthritis, and being female. I wonder if job dissatisfaction leads workers to complain more about foot pain, or if it’s the foot pain that makes them dissatisfied. I would guess it’s probably both. Here are some solutions:

  • Orthotics. I know I’m always advocating orthotics, but that’s because they work. Adjusting a pronation, adding padding to the longitudinal arch and metatarsals can dramatically reduce aching and chronic pain.



  • Advocate for sit stations and vary your activities as much as possible. Sitting periodically throughout the day gives feet and ankles an opportunity to rest. And the more you move and stretch your feet and ankles, the more you increase blood flow and strengthen support muscles.



Being a woman isn’t always peaches and cream. Unfortunately women experience foot problems four times more than men do. In one study, eighty-two percent of women report having foot pain, seventy-two percent have a foot deformity, and women undergo a full ninety percent of the foot surgeries performed in the United States. Why? Well, that’s a topic for another day. What can you do about it?

  • Avoid high heels as much as possible.
  • Women’s feet tend to be flatter than men’s. So (yes I’m saying it again) use orthotics.
  • Visit The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) for a consult.
  • Tune in tomorrow for more details on female feet!



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.