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Making summer foot problems a thing of the past

13 April 2017

Jon Marchant, global category manager at Dr. Martens, explains the best ways to keep feet healthy during the summer months and how the world of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is developing to make clumpy work boots a thing of the past.

With the average industrial worker walking more than 12,000 steps per day, foot health within industry sectors is vital, especially in the summer months. Warm weather may have plenty of benefits from sunshine to longer days however, it can come with much discomfort for workers in factories, engineering or construction as heavy work boots can lead to a number of foot complaints.

Summer foot hygiene

It’s always important to demonstrate thorough podiatry hygiene, especially if wearing PPE for up to 10 hours per day. In the summer months, hygiene routines need to be turned up a notch in order to keep feet clean and healthy. Following simple NHS tips will help ensure bacteria and fungi don’t grow or harbour into a continual issue:

  • Wash your feet everyday, twice if needs be
  • Dry your feet properly, especially between the toes as this is where fungal infections can develop
  • Change your socks daily – don’t be tempted to put on a dirty pair of socks
  • Try to get air to your feet at much as possible, especially on warmer days

Common foot complaints

As the temperature rises it’s not uncommon to see an increase of bodily sweat, especially on feet as they tend to bare the brunt of the daily working life. As most industrial workers, including builders, electricians, plumbers and carpenters, are on their feet for hours at a time, clammy feet is a major issue that often leads to both foot odour and in most cases, blisters. If odour or blisters materialise, it’s vital to keep feet clean, change socks regularly and cover the sore with either a padded plaster or a bandage (depending on size). Do not ignore blisters and continue to wear the rubbing work boots, as this can result in an infection and it will become a much bigger problem.

Another common problem amongst UK workers is fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, which can lead to intense itching and cracked or peeling areas of the skin. Fungal infections are incredibly contagious and those suffering should ensure socks and towels are cleaned thoroughly after use to help prevent spreading.  Corns and calluses are also a major complaint from workers as they mainly occur as a result of too much pressure on the foot. If a corn or calluses occurs, seek medical advice immediately. 

21st Century technology

Over the years traditional work boots have been the cause of a number of foot issues, with those who require extra protection ranging from construction site workers to chefs. Steel toe cap boots have always been encapsulated as one of the most important pieces of PPE as they offer the ultimate protection from potential hazards; however, they also place a huge amount of stress on workers feet.

For a number of years PPE specialists have offered industrial ranges of footwear which have been developed and engineered with premium materials. Such footwear offers workers lightweight safety boots that do not compromise on protection. Some of the new technology has been able to replace the traditional steel toe cap with a composite toe-cap, a lighter material that still offers the vital protection without the strain.

This ever evolving technology is enabling employees to be more comfortable at work, particularity in the summer months as the lighter materials are placing less pressure on their feet.