The role of footwear in preventing slips, trips and falls

slips
A fall in a public place or at work can be a very distressing and humiliating event. It can become a serious issue in the workplace when injuries occur as a result of slips, trips and falls. 23% of all accidents in the Australian workforce are classified in the slips, trips and fall category, with over half of these being caused by environmental agencies! *
Environmental factors can include slippery surfaces following rain or spills, poorly designed or maintained walkways and poor lighting. Feeling sure footed in the workplace is essential. Wearing appropriate footwear is the most effective method of ensuring a safe workplace to prevent slips, trips and falls.
So what are the critical features of a shoe to prevent workplace injuries?

environment

1. It must be Fit for Purpose

When selecting and purchasing footwear for work, you should make sure it is fit for purpose. Ask yourself the following questions when trying on shoes:
What type of environment will I be working in?
Are you working inside a factory, or out in the field? How often are you on your feet? Do you need protection from the elements, or is ventilation important to prevent over heating?
What floor conditions will I be working on?
Is it smooth and firm, or loose terrain? Is the ground dry or can it sometimes be wet?
What materials or liquids might I come in contact with?
Do you come in contact with oils and soap? This can provide more of a slippery surface than water. Do you work with chemicals that degrade certain materials quickly?

surface

2. It must have the appropriate level of slip resistance

The majority of slip accidents occur on wet or contaminated surfaces. Footwear alone will not eliminate slip on contaminated surfaces, making it impossible to make footwear ‘non-slip’ or resistant to slip under all conditions. Selecting footwear with an appropriate tread pattern or surpassing a slip rating, however, will help minimise the risk of slipping.
In Australia there are three slip resistant ratings:
SRA- Slip resistance on ceramic tile floor with SLS ‘Water on Tiles’
SRB- Slip resistance on steel floor with glycerol ‘Oil on Metal’
SRC- Slip resistance on ceramic tile floor with SLS AND on steel floor with glycerol

shoe

3. It must be comfortable

Our feet are the only point of contact that we have with the ground, and the forces from the ground can be felt all the way up our legs to our back. Comfortable, supportive footwear can reduce the stress in our muscles and ligaments. Not only that, but footwear with anti-fatigue properties allows you to work on your feet for much longer periods. Look for the following attributes to reduce fatigue and minimise the risk of falls.
Good Cushioning
It is ideal to have multiple layers of cushioning under the heel and forefoot. Avoid shoes that are too soft and provide little support.
Stable Platform
A firm heel counter and stable midfoot allows the shoe to work with the foot during the gait cycle. Good torsional stability protects the foot from excessive pronation.
Flexibility
The shoe needs to flex in the correct place at take-off. All too often footwear does not meet this need and can be the cause of Plantar Fasciitis.

fit

4. It must be the correct fit

Having shoes that meet all of the above requirements will not make a difference if the shoe does not fit correctly. A shoe that fits too large can be a cause of tripping, and too small will cause damage to your feet. Take the following things into consideration when trying on shoes:
Foot Length (heel to toe measurement)
Arch Length (heel to ball measurement)
Width
Foot Shape
It is always best to have your foot measured by a professional using an appropriate measuring device.

Ascent WORK shoes have an impressive array of stability and cushioning features. Our SRC rated Diamond Grip range is set to the highest standard of slip resistance, giving you total confidence on slippery surfaces at work.
To learn more about the avoiding the slip with Ascent, visit http://www.ascentfootwear.com.au/diamondgrip/

*Safe Work Australia Statistics 2015-16

Finding the perfect fit

Finding the ‘perfect’ fit in a pair of shoes can be an elusive struggle for a variety of reasons. One major factor is that no pair of feet are exactly alike.

A study of over 2,000 pairs of feet was conducted to find out “Are all two feet the same?”. Upon analysing this data, it was confirmed that the majority of the population did not have the same sized feet. This internal study matched similar findings done internationally, not all two feet are the same length and width*.

IIfit2

With over 60% of the world’s population having different sizes between their left and right feet, the traditional method of selling shoes in pairs makes it virtually impossible to achieve that perfect fit.

So, what can a footwear manufacturer do to close the gap on this quest for a better fit?

Enter the Ascent IIFit service. The IIFit range of shoes can be sold as a traditional pair, a mismatched pair, or even as an individual shoe (either left or right). Unlike a traditional shoe box housing the pair of shoes, the IIFit shoe box splits in half making the customised fit readily available in store.

For example,
•A customer who has the same size left and right can purchase as a traditional pair.
•A customer who has different size feet can purchase a mismatched pair at no extra charge and with no waiting for a special order!
•A customer who only needs either the left or right shoe can purchase an individual shoe at half the cost of a traditional pair.

Selling shoes as an individual size left and right rather than traditional pair helps achieve a perfect fit without the expense of having to pay for custom made shoes, nor wait for a special order. The IIFit range can also greatly assist those people with extra needs from their footwear, Polio sufferers, Diabetics and Partial or Full Foot Amputees.

Ascent work closely with special interest groups; Podiatry, Physiotherapy, Amputee and Diabetes associations to make sure our footwear yields therapeutic benefits or aids in the management or prevention of various foot ailments. The IIFit service is proudly endorsed by The Australasian Podiatry Council.

*(The high incidence of Mismatched Feet in the Population. William A Rossi. The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society 1983 & The Futile Search for the Perfect Shoe Fit. William A Rossi. Journal of Testing and Evaluation1988).

For further information about Ascent Footwear and the IIFit range, visit: http://www.ascentfootwear.com.au/ii-fit

What to look for in School Shoes

Getting into a great headspace actually starts down at the toes. You’ll find every kind of activity throughout the school day, from walking to jumping to just plain sitting. The perfect shoe not only meets your school’s dress code, but with energy and style, gives your mind the room to do what it was made for: learn.

There is nothing more important in a school shoe than comfort. Long hours sitting at desks can decrease circulation and stiffen joints. You really want at least some of the blood to get up to your brain.Don’t let achy or stiff feet get in the way. Throughout the entire Ascent school shoe range, you’ll find the kind of cushioning younger feet require and mature feet love. Polyurethane insoles and Insulon foam absorb shock and create a feeling of ease, even when sitting in a chair trying to figure out a mathequation. And being that it’s unlikely you’ll take your shoes off during the long school day, highly breathable materials are awesome at keeping odor and bacteria away.

Stability in the foot can give students more than a quick step getting from class to class. A stable stance is the foundation of excellent posture, which is of vital importance for a lifetime of overall health in all parts of the body. Look for terrific midsole support with nylon shanks like in the Apex and Cluster 2. A thermoplastic polyurethane heel counter will support the ankle and heel, as in the outstanding Scholar, which also has a strong midfoot stabiliser to help over-pronators.

No matter what age, students are famously tough ontheir shoes. Whether it’s the growth spurts, the unplanned excursions into muddy playgrounds, or just the normal scuffing from roaming the halls, school shoes seem to take a lot of abuse. That’s why you want maximum durability from the start.

Ascent’s full grain leather uppers will look and feel great, while perpetual rubber outsoles are so durable they come with a 6 month wear guarantee, which is practically forever in schoolkid time.

Let’s be honest. When it comes to real school life, the number one thing you’re looking for in a shoe is style. That’s way Ascent has a large range of Black Formal School shoes in many styles, widths and sizes. You can express yourself with a shoe that really fits your personality (and feet) whilst adhering to the uniform policy.

Ascent, Sports Shoes in Disguise…

Ingrown Toenail

Toes do so much more for you than just get stuck when you’re pulling on socks, or give you a place to put nail polish. The toes are critical for balance. They help distribute the force and pressure your feet sustain when you’re walking. And toes are fully functional tools that in many cases are every bit as useful as fingers, for tasks like manipulating objects and judging temperature. That’s why you should take great care of them, and do your best to avoid one of the most common maladies that affect these valuable digits.

Ouch. Even the words “ingrown toenail” are painful. When a couple of toes are jammed unnaturally together over days or weeks, sometimes a toenail can grow right into the skin around its edges. This very uncomfortable phenomenon usually happens on the big toe where it presses against your second toe. Inflammation can turn the whole area into a very sensitive, very painful hotspot.

Soaking and possibly even antibiotics will clear it up in time, but wouldn’t it be better to prevent this unwanted event before it happens? It turns out most cases of ingrown toenails come from wearing shoes that do not fit properly. Yes, good nail hygiene plays a role, but there’s no quicker way to get an ingrown toenail than mashing your toes together day after day in a shoe that is not designed to fit, support, and protect your foot.

It’s time to let your toes breathe. That doesn’t mean you have to wear open sandals. But you should absolutely make sure your shoes fit you perfectly and are designed with toe health in mind, especially if ingrown toenails keep cropping up in your life.A lot of foot health discussions focus on the arch and the heel, but at Ascent we also strive to support and protect the toes. Across Ascent’s entire range, you’ll find designs that allow ample wiggle room at the toe, while delivering shock-absorbing cushioning and high tech stabilisation.

Toes should never feel like they are crammed into the front of the shoe. You should be able to lift them freely without pain or pressure, even in the case of heavily reinforced workboots. Ascent’s collection of world class workboots provide industrial strength toe impact protection without cramping flexibility and space. And if you need even more breathing room, undo the damage of years of too-tight shoes with our extra-wide and super-deep Avara and Geelong Plus series. These are also perfect if a health condition like diabetes makes you pre-disposed to ingrowns.

Finally, don’t forget to update your shoes regularly – over time, normal wear and tear can distort a shoe’s shape and rob your toes of the protection they need. Our toes do so much for us. Let’s pay them back by giving them the freedom they require.

Heel Pain

When talking about healthy, happy feet, there’s no more sensitive topic than the heel. Yes, thicker skin means it’s not that ticklish (for some people!), but otherwise the heel often suffers the worst of the stresses we put on our feet.

Those pains we all feel in our heels from time to time, both dull and sharp, have many possible causes. Just slamming your heel against pavement while exercising can cause bruising and swelling. But even if you haven’t stepped on a basketball court in years, everyday tightness in the tendons and ligaments connecting to the heel can cause tears and inflammation. People whose jobs keep them on their feet all day might experience this kind of soreness, which is absolutely no fun when you’re working. The bones themselves can also create discomfort – heel spurs are tiny bone fragments that jut painfully into nearby tissue.

What’s the common thread in all of these sensitive heels? Every single injury is either caused or exacerbated by wearing badly fitting or poorly designed footwear. That’s actually good news, because it means you have the power to ease this pain and even prevent it before it happens. It’s as simple as picking out the right pair of shoes.

Protecting your heels is a priority at Ascent. That’s why you’ll find cutting edge heel support and cushioning in every single shoe we make. Cup insoles and crib stabilizers will align the foot properly, supporting the arch and preventing undue tension throughout the foot. Then, firm heel counters prevent sudden heel stress, control over- pronation, and help you achieve a natural, strong gait.

Our workboots are made to give you super-sized support no matter where your job takes you. The thermoplastic heel counters and Poron and Insulon heel cushioning in boots like the Alpha and Oxide will help prevent injuries.

We know a day at the office or school can feel just as intense as the toughest field work, so duty shoes like the Elite and school shoes like the Apex are built with the same hardcore protection and cushioning as our workboots.

If you’re a runner, giving your arches strong support and keeping heels stable will lessen those repetitive strikes. When you run in the Kinetic of the Swift, incredible midfoot stabilisers and intense heel cushioning combine to evenly distribute weight.

Heel pain does not have to be a part of your everyday life. Even if you’ve been living with it for a while, simple changes like the shoes on your feet can have a dramatic effect. Whether you’re working or playing, walking is supposed to feel good. It’s what your feet were designed to do.

Athlete’s Foot

Whether or not you consider yourself an athlete, if you are like millions of people all over the world, you have at some time or another experienced the very common foot itch nicknamed “athlete’s foot.” Often between the toes or on the underside of your arch, athlete’s foot feels like a raw, persistent itch that doesn’t improve when you scratch it.

Believe it or not, the condition is actually caused by a fungus that has found a way to hitch a ride on your feet – you either walked through it barefoot somewhere, or perhaps used a towel where the fungus was already living.

When it’s more serious, athlete’s foot can lead to pain, inflammation, and cracked, sensitive skin. It can even spread to other parts of the body. Yikes. But there is no need for this common problem to get that far. Heat and dampness are the enemy. Without moisture and warmth, any unpleasant fungus that might have taken up residence on your feet will not be able to survive.

It’s important to practice great foot hygiene, like changing frequently into clean socks. But the most important thing you can do is protect your feet with shoes designed to create dry, cool conditions. The shoe is the battleground in the war against athlete’s foot, and good choices in footwear will make all the difference in creating an environment where athlete’s foot doesn’t stand a chance.

If you exercise regularly, it’s a great idea to have a separate pair of shoes that you only put on when you’re really active. Pick a well-ventilated athletic shoe made with mesh and moisture-wicking materials.

Ascent incorporates mesh into our running shoes and cross- trainers for this very reason. Aside from giving trainers a sleek, sporty look, it’s an amazing weapon against athlete’s foot. And our range of rugged and comfortable walking shoes like the Creed and the Avara are made with water-resistant uppers, keeping you nice and dry no matter where your daily strolls take you.

If the bulk of your exercise comes from just getting through your workday, you still need shoes that breathe and keep moisture out. Our incredible water resistant workboots are especially valuable if you work in wet or muddy areas, or in locations that are very hot, like a kitchen. Ultra-tough boots like the Alpha are hostile territory for athlete’s foot – their high tech breathable linings keep your toes cool and dry during even the toughest, longest jobs.

If you have a persistent problem with athlete’s foot, it might be time to retire that favorite pair of shoes you wear day in, day out. The fungus may have taken up residence in there, and your feet will appreciate some new real estate.

Blisters

What will your body think of next? It’s always coming up with ingenious ways of handling the wear and tear you put it through on a daily basis. For example, when your body senses skin damage from friction, it might flood the area with fluid to protect the more tender tissues underneath. That’s actually pretty clever of your body. Unfortunately, the fluid-filled bubble that results can be mighty uncomfortable, even painful. We call this a blister, and everyone’s gotten one from time to time. The feet are especially sensitive to this condition. Blisters can turn up at the back of the heel, under the arch, or on the toes.

You might do a lot of walking, running, and even dancing in any given week. Sometimes you get blisters and sometimes you don’t. What’s the mystery? Well it turns out blister science is simple. You may have spent a lifetime thinking that foot blisters randomly appeared and were completely out of your control. But it takes 3 elements to make a blister – friction, wetness, and heat. That’s the not-so-magic recipe that is sure to create a blister. And now that you know why, it’s going to be a lot easier to stop them from happening in the first place.

Most importantly, you need to wear shoes that fit comfortably without any rubbing or chafing when you walk. Normal wear of a pair of shoes should never cause blistering. If it does, you need to find a shoe that is designed to support and cushion your foot without any uncomfortable friction. Luckily, you’ve landed at one of the world’s top destinations for shoes that beautifully conform to the shape of your feet: Ascent.

We’ve designed amazing footwear for work and play that emphasizes smart construction and the perfect fit. So say goodbye to friction and the blisters it can cause. Ultra-modern stabilisers will keep your gait strong and steady, while generous cushioning and first rate materials provide a smooth and comfortable, blister-free environment.

Next, you’ve got to keep your feet dry and cool. Aside from changing your socks frequently, the best way to do this is to wear shoes lined with breathable, moisture wicking materials. We use a variety of sophisticated bacteria-resistant linings to keep the interior of your shoes nice and dry, and mesh to circulate air around the foot and keep “hot spots” at bay. Look for it in our running shoes, cross trainers, workboots, walking shoes, and even the school range.

If diabetes or another medical condition make you more prone to skin irritation, the utterly seamless, breathable lining of the Geelong Plus and Avara Plus will keep your feet dry in the most friction-free shoe on the market.

Your blister will eventually go away. But by choosing the right shoe and taking good care of your feet, they’ll be far less likely to come in the first place.

Corns

A corn is like a callous that forms on the toes. Unlike a blister filled with fluid, a corn is a patch of thick skin that develops on the tops or sides of your toes, or even in-between. This is your body’s normal reaction when it experiences too much friction. To protect itself, your body literally develops a “thick skin.” The area will generally feel numb, but in some cases inflammation might develop, leaving your toes sensitive and tender.

Soaking your feet in warm water or Epsom salts will speed the healing along, and it will also probably feel pretty good. But the main thing you need to do to get your toes back into shape is to eliminate the friction that caused corns in the first place. By switching to a shoe that supports your toes but gives them plenty of breathing room, your corns will vanish quickly.

Whether you’re working, playing, or exercising, your shoes should never cause friction and discomfort with normal wear. If you are repeatedly developing corns, this is a good sign that your shoes are not fitting you properly. In a sense, it’s your body’s way of telling you that it’s unhappy with the footwear you’ve been wearing, and the time has come to switch to a shoe designed to make you feel great.

The most important element to great footwear is fit. You should always feel supported but not pinched. There should be enough room for your toes to wiggle around without strain or discomfort, yet the shoe should not be so loose that friction is created when you walk. In addition to checking in with your measurements from time to time to make sure you’re the size you think you are, let your comfort be the ultimate guide when determining if a shoe and size are right for you.

Across Ascent’s entire range of shoes, from duty to school to workboots to trainers, you’ll find state of the art footwear tech that properly molds to the shape of your foot, supporting you from heel to toe, and comforting you with shock-absorbing cushioning. That perfect balance of structure and softness is what makes for a great fit. Your corns will be history.

But what happens when one foot is slightly larger than the other? Many people develop corns because they are only wearing the correct size for one of their feet! Ascent has recently come up with an ingenious common sense solution to this issue. With our new IIFit program, you can always get the exact perfect size for each foot, even if they are different sizes. Mix and match sizes of any IIFit pair for the same price as a normal pair. We have a feeling there are probably going to be a lot fewer corns in the world.

Bunions

The big toe is essential for providing balance when you walk or stand, and is actually the very beginning of your arch. It needs space to do its job, and when it is too cramped over a long period of time, the joint connecting it to the rest of your foot gets pushed out of alignment, forming a hard, sore bump called a bunion. Sometimes the same thing happens on a smaller scale on your little toe – those bunions are called “bunionettes.” Isn’t that cute? Not really. No matter where they occur, bunions can make walking very painful.

There are several possible causes for bunions. Often they are passed down within a family from generation to generation, in the form of feet that are more pre-disposed to the condition. But the most common sufferers are women who have, for years, mashed their toes into pointy shoes that are unforgivingly tight. Over time, the bones themselves start to align to the shape of those shoes, damaging the big toe joint and resulting in bunions.

This is not a fun outcome for anyone, but it’s interesting to see how the shoes we choose to wear directly affect the health and function of our bodies. Great shoes are amazing tools that support and protect your feet, and help you feel confident no matter where life takes you. If you’ve developed a bunion or bunionette, the right footwear can absolutely bring you relief and put your body back on the road to healing and well-being. And if you’ve never experienced a bunion before, let’s make sure that it never happens.

The easiest way to ensure this is to choose well-constructed footwear that supports your entire foot, without constricting you. Yes, the toes are the battleground for bunions, but guess what they’re connected to. The entire foot must be in alignment. From this, the bones in your toes will be able to do their job naturally and effectively.

One of Ascent’s hallmarks is innovative midfoot stabilisation and support. Every shoe we offer is balanced with fantastic structural support through the center of your foot and arch, which is directly related to the alignment of your toes. In the proper size, you’ll feel balanced and pressure-free when you walk or run.

If bunions have already formed, it’s imperative to switch to a shoe that gives your toes relief from the pressure. Ascent makes several shoes designed for this very purpose. The Apex Wide is roomy while still offering incredible support – this school shoe may be the answer you’ve been looking for. And check out the Geelong and Avara Plus, which are extra wide and deep, with ample room for your toes to stretch out.

More serious cases of bunions may need medical attention. If a bunion causes extreme and consistent pain, seek the advice of a physician. But the best measure you can take against bunions is to prevent them, and ease the pressure on them before they get serious. Respect the needs of that wonderful big toe with comfortable, great- fitting shoes.

Footwear Tips: best time to purchase

Nothing lasts forever. But this isn’t always a bad thing. When it comes to shoes, letting go of an old pair means you get to upgrade. When is it time to say goodbye to your current kicks and slip into a new pair?

In general it is always a great idea to refresh your footwear at the beginning of a new school year, the start of a weather season, or when entering into a new work environment. But often the shoes themselves will let you know that the time has come to refresh what’s on your feet and invest in a new set of kicks.

Excellent foot health, great posture, speed and agility on track and trail, and productivity at work and school all have one thing in common – they start with a great fitting pair of shoes. Is it time to update your size? Over time, you might experience shifts in your shoe size of a half size or more. Whether you’re a kid adjusting to the latest growth spurt, or an adult with a new lifestyle or routine, your shoe size might have changed. Check in to make sure you’re still the size you think you are. A great pair of shoes should always feel comfortable and gently supportive, with room to flex your toes.

Next, there are some easy ways to check if normal wear and tear has taken a bite out of your shoes. Do your shoes lean? Set them on a table and look at them from behind to see if they are standing up straight. If not, this may be a sign that the midsole has worn down. Is there any creasing along the sides or at the toe? Will the shoe twist too easily in your hand? If so, stability is no longer optimum.

Now let’s talk about tread. Have a look at the underside of each shoe. If the sole looks like a bald tire in places, you may not be getting the grip you need. Whether you’re out for a run or working in a slippery environment, traction is very important. Immediately replace any shoes that have worn out their ability to keep you from slipping and sliding.

Have your shoes gotten a smack-down from a heavy object? Your toe cap protected your toes like a bullet-proof vest. Awesome. But whenever your shoes receive a significant impact, inspect them to assess if they are still good-to-go for the next one. See if you notice any cracks, tears, or separations – if so, it may be time to get a new pair.

Finally, listen to your body. Do you notice any new aches or pains in your feet, shins, or lower back? These symptoms could indicate that your shoes’ cushioning is no longer operating at full strength.

Of course, changing fashion plays a role in your shoe buying schedule. Whether you’re starting a new chapter in your life or just switching up your threads, a new pair of shoes can really help you express who you are. To slow down wear and tear and give yourself options, many people buy a couple pairs and then rotate them. That way, you’ll know your foot needs will always be covered.