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Thread: Heel Spur: Work Comp keeping me on my feet. California

  1. #1

    Default Heel Spur: Work Comp keeping me on my feet. California

    Hi All; Iím a 61 year old Surgical Technologist & have developed heel pain that is greatly aggravated by working extended shifts on my feet all day, standing for long periods in the operating rooms. My symptoms largely resolve on weekends and days off, though I now can not walk long distances anymore.

    Iíve been working part time, averaging 30 hours/wk, though my actual/official part time status is 20 hours/wk. My employer is always pushing for more hours and longer shifts, and typically would give me a day off to keep me under full time hours.

    I told my manager days off were not nearly as helpful as shorter shifts, as it was the 8, 10 & 12 hour shifts that were leaving me nearly crippled by the end of the day. Medicine is going to nearly all 12 hour shifts, so this apparently was not a workable situation.

    I filed a work comp injury and the PA I saw diagnosed heel spur/bursitis and put me on a work restriction of no more than 20 hours per week and 6 hours per day. I am surviving much better on this schedule, but my symptoms still flare badly after 6 hours of continuous standing. There really isnít much a Surgical Technologist can do sitting down, so I fear this may be the end of my career.

    All the literature Iíve found on heel spur / bursitis states the best hope at resolving this condition lies in near-total rest of the affected foot, typically for several months. I know work comp docís are reticent to utilize this option now days, and modified duty (or bust) is the general rule of thumb. I actually want to try and keep working under my restriction and hope this will resolve with time, but this approach would appear to be destined for failure according to what podiatristís have been observing and documenting in their literature over the last half century.

    Iím at a loss as to how to proceed with this matterÖ Iím financially able to retire if I must, but it appears to me the work comp system is working against any possible resolution of my medical condition. A minimal reduction in my workload, keeping me on my feet at half-time employment runs against all known medical knowledge regarding this condition.

    Any insight as to how this situation is likely to end would be greatly appreciated. A permanent partial disability with settlement and early retirement? Iíd prefer to keep working for a few more years, but feel like Iím on a run-away train headed for a washed out bridge. Are there any other options?

  2. #2
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    Assuming your claim is accepted as work related under WC, much will depend on what the doctor says. You are correct that modified duty is the goal over total disability, but you need to talk to your doctor. Right now the doctor is indicating that you can stand for 6 hours. If you truly can not, you need to go back to the doctor to see if there is anything he/she can recommend treatment wise, or if the restrictions need to be modified. There are a number of things that can be done aside from just staying off your feet, such as orthotics, supportive shoes, cortisone shots, etc.

    You can apply for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (assuming you qualify), though pay under WC would not be guaranteed if the doctor asserts you could have done modified duty instead.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the reply Dr Elle. The PA said this is a classic overuse/repetitive strain injury, so hopefully there will be no question about it being work related. I'm a bit sedentary outside of my job. What surprises me is the prescribed remedy, to continue doing what caused the injury in the first place without any rest at all. I've already tried anti-inflammatories, shoe inserts and supports. Orthotics and steroids may be next. PA said I may be referred to podiatry if no improvement soon.

    I did a bit of walking downtown on my day off this weekend and was good for about 15 minutes before I was limping. Surprisingly, a one hour rest during lunch and again at a coffee shop a few blocks away seemed to calm things down. I made it back to my car in pretty good shape. Back at work today, I was limping badly within 2 hours, with 4 more hours left in my shift. I felt like stealing a wheelchair to get out to the parking lot by the end of the day.

    Been dealing with this for 6 weeks now, with repeating improvement over the weekends, but serious pain by the end of my work shifts during the week. I've got a week's vacation coming up 3/13. We'll see if a brief absence makes any lasting difference.

    Thank you again for your time.
    Last edited by synesthesia56; 02-28-2017 at 07:07 PM.

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