A narrative review of musculoskeletal problems of the lower extremity and back associated with the interface between occupational tasks, feet, footwear and flooring

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At least 50% of workers are exposed to the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) due to spending prolonged hours standing at work. There is a lack of information regarding issues with the feet, solutions to the problem, and links between MSD, feet, footwear and flooring. The present article provides a narrative review of the research in this area, based on 31 papers. Workers who stand for large proportions of the working day had a level of MSD considerably greater than a normal population. Muscle co-activation, blood pooling, muscle fatigue and individual characteristics are all associated with MSD. Altering flooring provided mixed results, while footwear appeared to have the potential to affect MSD, although the dearth of literature limited the conclusions that could be drawn. Despite their inextricable link, literature regarding the relationship between occupational tasks, MSD, footwear and flooring remains limited and future studies will benefit from rigorously designed protocols.

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