Working on a farm is a physical and demanding job and one in which taking a day off is seldom an option. For this reason, farmers and agricultural labourers need to stay in good physical shape and avoid illness as much as possible.
Of course, illness can strike even the healthiest of people but taking sensible precautions can often prevent many minor ailments. Working outdoors, it is important to dress appropriately for the prevailing weather conditions and take extra care when working around animals or with machinery.
However, despite the best of intentions, many farmworkers ignore one very basic and important health consideration: Taking proper care of their feet!
Agricultural workers are particularly prone to all sorts of aches, pains, sprains, cuts and bruises because of the physical nature of their work. Aching joints are common but so is damage to the feet which tends to be overlooked and regarded as being “just one of those things”. However, ignoring minor ailments of the feet and ankles is a recipe for disaster as the damage can become increasingly painful, limit mobility and even result in unwanted periods of bed rest or a medical procedure.
Any existing foot problems should be examined by a pediatric foot doctor to determine what is causing the issue and how best to treat it. No matter how minor it may appear, any issue with the feet should be investigated as it is far better to have a problem treated early rather than later. A podiatrist like Instep Podiatry is trained to deal with all sorts of foot disorders and can quickly determine the cause of any problems and the most effective course of treatment. Podiatry has progressed dramatically in recent years and the improvements in modern treatment for foot disorders have greatly reduced the need for corrective surgical measures.
Prevention is always better than cure and this really applies to take proper care of the feet. The importance of regular check-ups with a pediatric foot doctor cannot be minimised but these examinations should be viewed as a backup to daily preventive measures. Some of the best ways to keep the feet in top condition are also the simplest to carry out and include:
Correct footwear. Proper, well-supported, sturdy and waterproof boots are ideal.
Proper posture. Avoid stretching on tiptoe and crouching.
- Wash Properly: be sure to wash and clean between the toes and under toenails.
- Dry feet thoroughly: wet feet are a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.
- Moisturise: use a good moisturiser regularly to keep the skin supple and avoid cracking.
- Wearing the right shoes: wearing the right shoes or boots for outdoor work is crucial. Not only do proper work boots protect the feet from injury but they also support the ankles and cushion the soles of the feet.
- Toenails maintenance: the importance of maintaining the toenails is often overlooked. Long toenails are prone to cracking and bruising and particularly when work boots are too tight. Always keep the nails trimmed and it also helps to moisturise them with cuticle cream or vitamin E oil.
Listen to your Feet!
Any pain, aching or discomfort in the heels, ankles or feet should not be ignored. While this may be a temporary condition the likelihood is that there is an underlying problem that needs proper care and attention. What is mere discomfort today could develop into a more serious problem that will cost days or weeks of treatment and recuperation. A quick visit to a friendly foot doctor could end up saving not just pain and discomfort but also valuable time!