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Foot and Ankle Injuries While on the Job - Workers' Compensation

A worker clutches his ankle after falling down stairs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 53,000 work-related foot injuries each year. Not only do foot and ankle injuries prevent people from working during the recovery process, they can also cause disabilities that impact a person’s long-term career and personal life.

Foot and ankle injuries can happen in any profession, not just in dangerous jobs like construction or logging. And because the foot is composed of many intricate bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, the healing process can be slow and painful.

If you suffered an injury to the foot while working, don’t delay in seeking treatment. Then, contact our professional workers’ compensation attorneys to protect your rights and get you the full compensation you deserve.

Top 6 Causes of Workplace Foot Injuries

Safety shoes and signs aren’t always enough to prevent foot injuries. OSHA identified six common reasons they happen in the workplace:

  1. Burns - Molten metal, chemical sprays, uncontrolled fire, and explosive materials can cause painful, debilitating burns on the foot.
  2. Caught Between - Falling objects, moving vehicles, conveyor belts, and places where the foot can become trapped can cause crushed or broken feet.
  3. Electric Shocks - Contact with electrical currents through the floor or other sources can leave electrical burns on the foot.
  4. Powered Machinery - Chain saws, rotary mowers, and unguarded machinery can cut or sever the foot or toes.
  5. Sharp Objects - Loose nails, jagged metal, and glass can puncture or slice the sole of the foot.
  6. Slips and Falls - Wet/greasy floors, loose debris, lack of traction, and poor lighting can cause sprained, twisted, or broken ankles.

Most Common Work-Related Foot Injuries

The feet are the most vulnerable part of the body when it comes to ground-based electrical injuries, crush injuries from heavy equipment, or intensive wear and tear from standing and walking for long periods of time.

Diagram of the human foot, bones, and muscles.

The following are some of the common foot injuries we see when handling workers’ compensation cases:

Broken Foot

When a heavy object falls on or slams into the foot, the long narrow bones can easily crack and fracture. In severe cases, the bones and tissues are completely crushed, requiring painful reconstructive surgery or amputation.

In some cases, when the foot is crushed or twisted, it can cause what’s known as a Lisfranc fracture. The Lisfranc ligaments connect the metatarsals to the tarsals bones in the middle of the foot. If this ligament is damaged, it may cause both a fracture and dislocation.

Without treatment, the injury may develop into arthritis later.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fascia injury is one of the most common causes of foot pain. If you’re on your feet all day, you’ve probably felt this ligament when it becomes strained and sore.

The plantar fascia is located on the bottom of the foot. Overuse can cause the ligament to become inflamed and irritated, especially along the bottom of the heel.

To prevent plantar fasciitis, wear comfortable footwear designed with shock-absorbent insoles, removable inserts for extra padding, and thick heels.


Also known as “hallux valgus”, bunions develop along the inner base of the big toe when it becomes misaligned. They can be identified by a painful swelling or bony protrusion.

While bunions are hereditary, they can also happen due to standing for long periods of time in bad footwear. Left untreated, bunion pain can worsen over time and create difficulty walking.

Dislocated or Broken Ankle

Ankles can become dislocated without being broken and broken without being dislocated, but the two injuries often go hand in hand. A broken or dislocated ankle can take weeks or months to heal and will require a splint, cast, or boot to stabilize the joint.

Which Industries Experience Higher Rates of Foot Injuries

The industries with the most days missed from work for ankle and foot injuries were mining, transportation/warehousing, and utilities. Transportation/warehousing had the highest rate of foot and ankle injuries.

The good news is incidents of ankle sprains, ankle fractures, foot sprains, and foot fractures have decreased over the past two decades, likely due to increased safety measures.

The Cost of Foot and Ankle Injuries

Injuries to the foot often result in significant time and money lost from missing work.

The average workers’ compensation claim for ankle injuries in 2018 was more than $30,000 total for medical care and indemnity payments. Foot injuries were similarly expensive, with medical costs and indemnity averaging $27,000.

Payouts for workers’ comp claims are often not enough for an injured worker to cover living expenses, not to mention medical care. Many injured workers also miss out on extra benefits because the insurance company isn’t forthcoming about their rights.

Costs can add up quickly after a work injury. Consult with a workplace injury attorney to ensure you understand all the benefits you are entitled to in Georgia.

What to Do Immediately After a Foot Injury at Work

Inform your supervisor or manager of the injury, then contact 911 or have someone take you to the emergency room.

If the foot injury developed over a long period of time, let your supervisor know as soon as you become aware of the issue and then seek medical treatment. In Georgia, cumulative trauma and pre-existing conditions do not prevent injured workers from receiving workers’ compensation.

Once you begin receiving the care you need and are interested in learning more about workers’ compensation, contact a lawyer ASAP.

At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we specialize in workers’ compensation and getting clients the treatment they need for a total recovery. We can help you navigate the Georgia workers’ compensation process and return to work safely and with peace of mind.

Even if your claim was denied, our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers can help. More than half of workers’ comp claims that are denied are eventually reinstated, usually because an attorney is involved.

Contact us today to request an appointment.

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