Teachers play a big role in shaping who we are today. They selflessly pass on their knowledge, instil a love for learning and motivate us to be the best that we can be.
We appreciate our educators for their passion and love of teaching but many are unaware of the foot problems they face, as they are standing at least 4 to 6 hours on a daily basis.
Here are 3 common foot conditions that teachers have, and ways to treat them.
- Heel pain
One of the most common complaints that podiatrists hear from teachers is heel pain. Heel pain can be caused by many factors, but the most frequent diagnosis would be plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is an injury to the plantar fascia, which is a broad band of connective tissue connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes. The plantar fascia functions to support and prevent the arch of the foot from flattening during standing and walking. If one has flat feet or high-arched feet, prolonged standing at work naturally increases the strain on the plantar fascia. This persistent strain may eventually lead to injury and inflammation around the heel.
A podiatrist can treat this painful condition by prescribing orthotics (insoles) to reduce the tension on the plantar fascia.
Female teachers need not worry! With enhanced technology, insoles can now be customised with slimmer materials that can fit into ladies shoes, without compromising the support provided. Podiatrists can perform trigger points release of the muscles and joint mobilisations, as well as instruct stretching exercises to relieve the heel pain.
There are two small sesamoid bones located under our big toe joint which stabilises the big toe as we toe-off to propel forward each step (refer to picture below). When excessive pressure is placed under the ball of the foot, such as during running, jumping and dancing, the sesamoid bones can become susceptible to injury. Sesamoiditis occurs when there is trauma and inflammation to these sesamoid bones.
Certain foot types are prone to developing sesamoiditis, such as feet with bunions, high arched or flat feet.
Unfortunately for teachers, sesamoiditis can worsen with prolonged standing or walking, and can also be aggravated by ill-fitting shoes and high heels.
A Podiatrist will have to assess the foot structure, walking and running gait to determine the cause of the injury before managing sesamoiditis with insoles and padding to take the pressure off the painful area and facilitate healing.
- Posterior Tibialis Tendon Dysfunction
The posterior tibialis tendon originates from the inner shin bone and inserts into the navicular bone, and its main job is to hold up the arch of the foot. Posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction occurs when the tendon gets overused with long hours of standing and walking. The tendon weakens, gets inflamed and in turn, cause pain. Symptoms include pain and swelling at the back of the inner ankle bone, progressive flattening of the arch and turning out of toes. You will also find it difficult to tip toe on the affected foot.
As the condition can worsen over time, it is necessary to see a podiatrist for immediate heel pain treatment. Treatment includes using insoles to accommodate the tendon, taping, stretching and strengthening exercises.
The Podiatrists at Physio & Sole Clinic are able to help our teachers, or just about anyone who suffer from the foot problems that we have shared above. Reach out to us to find out more about how we can ease your weariness from prolong standing.