Servers, bartenders, nurses and anyone else who works long hours on their feet are more prone to bone spurs. They can occur in your shoulders, fingers, knees, spine and feet. It's crucial to take good care of your feet while treating bone spurs, which means keeping up with doctor's visits and investing in a good pair of work shoes to promote comfort and reduce the risk of additional injuries, like slips and falls.
What are spurs?
According to the Mayo Clinic, bone spurs, also called osteophytes, are growths that develop at the joints where the bones meet. In the feet, they can be present in the ankle, big toe and heel. You may have heard of plantar fasciitis, another common foot ailment. The two conditions are similar but not the same. Plantar fasciitis also occurs in the feet, but has to do with inflamed ligaments rather than growths.
A person might have bone spurs and not even know it because symptoms don't always accompany the condition. However, in some cases, spurs are hard not to notice because they can cause severe joint pain, which may compel someone to make an appointment with a doctor.
How do you get bone spurs?
The Hartford HealthCare Medical Group explained that excessive strain on the foot is the underlying cause of bone spurs. Someone who's overweight or whose gait puts stress on the feet and its muscles is more likely to develop them. Aside from body weight, a person is more prone to the protrusions if he or she works in a physically demanding work environment, like in a restaurant or hospital.
Jobs that require a lot of walking, running or standing on hard surfaces can lead to bone spurs. An individual is especially prone to the bone disease if he or she has flat feet or high arches. Wearing poor quality or rundown work shoes can increase the risk of bone spurs.
"Wearing poor quality or rundown work shoes can increase the risk of bone spurs."
Can you treat them?
If the bone spurs are fairly new, there are several non-invasive forms of treatment that a doctor will likely recommend. The Hartford HealthCare Medical Group summarized that icing the affected area, taking anti-inflammatory medications and stretching the muscles can ease the pain and reduce the growth.
Further, a person may need to take a few days off from work to allow the foot to get better, according to Hartford HealthCare. If someone continues to work despite the injury, comfortable shoes that offer additional cushioning are a must. Footwear that is slip-resistant can prevent a person from putting additional stress on his or her feet. Slip-resistant work shoes can also reduce the risk of sustaining additional injuries while on the clock, like slipping and falling down.
Normally, the growths should improve in about six weeks. However, if they don't then further treatment may be necessary. According to The Hartford HealthCare Medical Group, surgery may be the next step. There's an outpatient procedure where a person may have bone spurs removed. It typically takes about two hours, but an individual may need to be on crutches, which can mean six to eight weeks of no work.
It's certainly less time consuming and effective to prevent bone spurs from the get-go. Companies that require employees to spend extended periods of time standing should consider investing in a corporate shoe program. It can save a restaurant or hospital money in the long run that would otherwise be distributed to workman's compensation and other accommodations related to sick days.
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