Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot condition, caused when the ligament connecting the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed. Certain risk factors make developing the condition more likely, and injured workers who can prove that their plantar fasciitis was work-related may qualify for New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are suffering from the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, it is imperative that you obtain a medical diagnosis and reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney for help preparing your claim. While New Jersey workers’ compensation law considers plantar fasciitis a work-related injury in some situations, your employer or their insurance company may take a different view.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the thick ligament that runs along the underside of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is very common. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, about one in ten people will develop the condition at some point in their life.
The plantar fascia is a bow-shaped ligament that connects the heel to the toes. As someone walks, the ligament acts as a shock absorber, flexing as pressure is applied. Plantar fasciitis is caused when repetitive stress is placed on the plantar fascia. Over time, small tears develop in the ligament, causing it to become inflamed.
Those suffering from plantar fasciitis experience sharp, stabbing pain on the bottom of their feet, near the heel. Typically, the pain is at its worst in the morning and subsides throughout the day. However, running or long periods of standing can cause worsening symptoms.
Certain people have a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis. For example, the following risk factors increase the likelihood of a plantar fasciitis diagnosis.
With age, the soft tissues in the feet become stiffer, resulting in a decreased range of motion and decreased strength. Thus, most plantar fasciitis cases occur in those between the ages of 40 and 60.
Activity that places frequent or excess stress on the heel increases the likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis. Two of the most common examples are running and dancing.
Those with flat feet or a high arch walk in a way that puts additional pressure on the plantar fascia. These individuals are at an increased risk of plantar fasciitis.
The more a person weighs, the more stress is placed on their feet. Thus, those with a higher body mass index (BMI) are more likely to be diagnosed with plantar fasciitis.
Employees who work in certain professions that require them to walk or stand for long periods of time are at a greater risk of developing a case of plantar fasciitis. A few of these occupations include:
- Nurses and other healthcare professionals;
- Security guards;
- Factory workers; and
- Warehouse workers.
Of course, even for workers in these professions, proving that a case of plantar fasciitis was work-related is not always easy. In part, this is because a person’s weight and other non-work-related risk-factors may have caused the condition. That said, if your work requires you to stand or walk, especially on hard surfaces, you may be able to establish a connection between your plantar fasciitis and your workplace duties.
Generally, you do not need to show that your work was the sole cause of your work-related injury or condition, only that it contributed to your diagnosis.
While New Jersey workers’ comp insurance companies should cover plantar fasciitis, sometimes they are reluctant to do so. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis and believe it developed because of your employment, reach out to a dedicated New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer for help preparing your claim.
Contact a South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you recently developed a case of plantar fasciitis, and believe that your work caused or contributed to this WEAR and TEAR injury, reach out to the experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Petro Cohen, P.C. At our firm, we have provided diligent, aggressive representation to accident victims and injured workers for more than 20 years and are recognized as one of the leading workers’ compensation law firms in New Jersey.
Our knowledgeable workers’ comp attorneys have successfully handled many different types of WEAR and TEAR injury claims. In addition to the feet, parts of the body that are typically most at risk for potential WEAR and TEAR claims include the following.
- Neck – especially disc abnormalities, operated or unoperated
- Low back – especially disc abnormalities, operated or unoperated
- Shoulders – including rotator cuffs, impingement, and labral problems
- Hips – osteoarthritic and degenerative conditions
- Knees – including internal derangement, meniscal lesions, and osteoarthritis
- Hands – including osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and de Quervain’s and trigger fingers
Injuries such as plantar fasciitis are also called repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) and are becoming increasingly common in certain industries. Approximately 60 percent of work-related injuries involve RSI, also known as occupational overuse syndrome or WEAR and TEAR. The following list represents some examples of industries and jobs with potential WEAR and TEAR claims due to repetitive, job related physical stress.
- Almost all construction trade employees/construction labor
- Many casino positions, including food and beverage servers, housekeepers, dealers, EVS/maintenance, HVAC mechanics, etc.
- Medical professionals, including nurses, nurse’s aides, and physical therapists
- Emergency response/law enforcement personnel, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs
- Trucking and delivery employees
- Secretarial/computer/data entry employees
- Warehouse and retail operations positions, including stockers/material handlers
- Landscaping/excavation and heavy equipment operators
- Utility workers, including cable, telephone, electric, etc.
- Highway maintenance and service industry employees
To learn more about whether your plantar fasciitis or other repetitive stress injury may qualify for workers’ compensation, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney, reach out to one of our dedicated personal injury attorneys at Petro Cohen, P.C. today at 888-675-7607. We have four convenient locations in southern New Jersey, including Hamilton, Northfield, Cape May Court House, and Cherry Hill. Alternatively, you can reach us through our online form or via e-mail at info@PetroCohen.com and one of our dedicated workers’ comp attorneys will contact you shortly.