WE TALK TO IT WITH MICHELE MONTAGNA, EXPERT IN KINESIOLOGY AND PROFESSOR OF ERGONOMICS, PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS AT WORK
Every time you get ready to buy a new pair of safety shoes, you know that you have to consider a series of fundamental parameters to choose the model that best suits your work needs:
● Safety standards for duties carried out by you; ● Seasonality of footwear; ● Lightness, comfort and design.
But, maybe, you do not know that on the base of the work you do (the positions you assume, the dynamism or static nature of the tasks you are required to perform) your body reacts differently and, due to the safety shoes you wear, responds more or less favourably.
Wrong footwear is one of the causes for which, over time, Musculoskeletal disorders can occur, which can cause fatigue, a sense of heaviness and tiredness, leading to real muscle and joint pains.
If, for example, you work at a construction site, you undoubtedly find yourself doing an active job, and you are subject to moving weights (bricks, bags of cement and sand, etc.), to go up and down the stairs, to bend repeatedly. Besides, you are subject to climatic conditions - sometimes you work in the heat, in the sun, others in rain and wind, in wet and cold conditions.
How many times did you happen to return home, after a day of work, and feel pain in your legs, joints or feel a general discomfort that leaves you exhausted?
How can you protect yourself? Not only from the risks of accidents but also from a health point of view? We asked a real expert on the subject: Dr Michele Montagna!
Michele, good morning! Before starting our interview, I think it is appropriate to introduce you as merits... - Doctor of Sports Sciences; - Kinesiologist recognized by the National Union of Kinesiologists; - Consultant and Professor of Occupational Ergonomics, Prevention and Treatment of Musculoskeletal Disorders at Work; - Trainer Certificate of Health and Safety at Work.
In short, U-POWER could not have used a better expert!
Referring to the case under consideration - all labourers working on the construction site - what are the reasons that cause discomfort and pain?
Thank you for your presentation and the question.
The dysfunctions of the musculoskeletal system that affect workers - in this case, on the construction site - manifest themselves, in times and ways that are difficult to predict, through muscle retraction and stiffness that compromise freedom of movement, but this, I repeat, happens with time without the worker noticing.
We are talking about professionals who carry out a large part of their work in dynamic mode and who are subject to biomechanical load due to the shifting of weights, continuous movements, repeated bending of the spine, bending of the legs and relative squatting, climbing on stairs and trellises.
In predominantly outdoor conditions and subject to the elements - hot, dry, humid, rain, wind - which makes them particularly sensitive to problems of a rheumatological nature.
These professionals spend most of their working day in dynamic mode and risk excessive muscle-joint stress due to excessive loads. Perhaps, at the moment, these loads do not seem to have a particularly onerous measure. Still, over time, they show themselves with sudden injuries and, at times, without apparent causes because at a certain distance of time from the causative and trigger.
Moreover, the outdoor working condition makes the professional subject to the aggravation of inflammations of the joints, tendons and ligaments and, if the worker is already affected, it can lead to a chronic condition.
You have said that not all disorders occur immediately but that, in some cases, they can occur even after a long time. Therefore, it is not always easy to understand if you are more or less at risk, based on your conditions concerning the types of work performed. What can our worker do on the construction site to protect himself and prevent this kind of trouble?
The use of the correct accident prevention devices, the so-called Personal Protection Devices, is fundamental.
The qualities of a safety shoe are fundamental not only because they offer immediate protection, but because they guarantee a job that preserves the general psycho-physical health of workers in the short, medium and long term.
Medium/long term consequences are the most difficult to guess. But, if you are aware of the risk, then you can direct the choice of the work shoe towards the most effective solutions, designed - as well as to protect from accidents - also and above all to regulate the delicate balance of the locomotor apparatus.
We can use our body efficiently only when it is coordinated and in harmony as a whole. Much of our working life conditions, besides if in a subjective way, is influencing free mobility, in the broadest sense.
This conditioning means that, very often, muscular hypertonia, to understand the lack of muscular elasticity and joint mobility, cause of the sense of general rigidity, is determined by a multiplicity of concomitant factors.
Any additional risk factors, such as the use of work shoes not suited to their physical characteristics and the type of work that takes place can amplify these disorders.
Keep in mind that in recent years we are witnessing the progressive increase in the number of complaints of occupational diseases attributable to musculoskeletal disorders. The worker is becoming aware of the importance of risk factors related to occupational diseases resulting from the handling of loads and subject to biomechanical loading. It is clear that beyond the national statistical data, this problem also involves the European Union see also involved the World Health Organization (WHO), which is taking action in this regard.
So how do you figure out which work shoes are best suited to your needs? What is the difference between a safety shoe and the other?
Kinesiology - the study of human movement and biomechanics - analyzes the behaviour of physiological structures in static and dynamic stresses. I adopted kinesiology to conduct specific research comparing an ordinary work shoe and a U-POWER line RED LIONon static and dynamic tests.
The standard work shoe proved to be rigid, both walking and standing on the spot. The sole, poorly deformable, does not allow fluid plantar support, ending up generating ascending muscle-fascial tensions towards the trunk. Furthermore, the mechanical stress on the ankle joints can be perceived togetherwith a somewhat abnormal physical stress on the spine, which, over time, could show the first signs of dysfunction. The end of the test, I felt a specific sense of muscle fatigue in my legs - to tell the truth, already from the first minutes of use! - with perceptible suffering of peripheral circulation.
The RED LION, on the other hand, proved to be at the height of the test administered, allowing me to put them to the test during the race, the gaits, the changes of direction, the jumps, the squats, bending and extensions of the ankles.
My lower limbs had an excellent muscular response with a sensation of movements fluidity, such as normal biomechanical function, with no kind of restrictions. The energy return due to the Infinergy® system used and the adherence to the ground is palpable, making one experience a pleasant sensation of lightness that inevitably favours the whole muscle-joint health and more.
In essence, the U-POWER RED LIONS have proven to be superior and advanced, fully capable of responding to a concept of "freedom of movement" which is essential for a worker who must face his professional days without worries, in all serenity.
The sensation I felt wearing RED LION is not to have a work shoe on my feet.
Why this difference? What is it that makes U-POWER RED LIONS different from standard work shoes?
The differences are related to the technologies used and the quality of the materials. In particular, I refer to the insert in Infinergy®by BASF and the high-grip tread.
The tread - which is not the sole! - it is the part of the shoe that rests directly on the ground (Editor’s Note : the sole is the part on which the arch of the food rests and, more precisely, the front part distinct from the heel).
Imagine you find yourselves working on a highly slippery surface: how would you behave? Instinctively, you would be driven to slow down the pace and movements, but without the certainty of a tread guaranteeing a safe grip. Furthermore, our body would tend to stiffen to recruit as many muscles as possible in unison, to be ready and responsive in case of slipping and loss of balance.
The U-POWER RED LIONS use a high-grip tread of 0.68. And this reduces the risk factors of injury, allowing maximum safety of movements on the most insidious plans both during static activity and during the dynamic one. From a health prevention point of view, perceiving the adherence of one's work shoe with relative grip allows to reduce muscle-tension stress, that is the tension due to the fear of a ruinous fall.
Furthermore, a tread with high grip and sharp angles makes it possible to lighten the tread, reducing the use of energy needed for displacement and movement, to the advantage of stronger safety, less energy and less muscle-joint tension over time.
And what about BASF's Infinergy® system?
Infinergy® is a truly innovative system, very useful in preventing the dysfunctions of the musculoskeletal system that affect workers and which, as I said before, occur in times and ways that are difficult to predict.
It is a system capable of dissipating joint and muscle stress and which at the same time lightens the pace by reducing the metabolic muscle cost by increasing energy in the dynamic phase of the movement of the foot.
The under-heel insert allows store energy at every step that returns during detachment of foot from the ground. Infinergy® system is a real push in the antigravitational sense with a positive impact on muscles and circulation of the legs. Besides, benefits are perceivable on the well-being of the spine and the entire body with a greater sense of vitality and well-being.
The energy of Infinergy® gives a lightness to the U-POWERfootwear of the RED LION line that minimizes muscle-fascial and articular tensions, influencing the static and dynamic postural balance of the worker.
It represents a cutting-edge technology that is effective and efficient in preserving elasticity and integrity in muscular kinetic chains: the prospect of a metabolically healthy lifestyle!
Michele, how can we help our readers understand which U-POWER safety shoe is best suited to their needs?
It is necessary to analyze the personal case, to figure out which is the best one for you. Therefore, the only system is to provide specific consultancy and for this U-POWER, has prepared a small step questionnaire in which different job cases, conditions of use, etc. are offered. Responding to which, I'm going to be able to provide the most appropriate advice. Of course, it is an entirely free consultancy, offered by U-POWER to its readers and, of course, the data provided are entirely subject to privacy.
The reply is going to be provided directly by e-mail to the post office box indicated. In this way, we guarantee confidentiality and safeguard.
Michele, thanks for the valuable information you provided and ... see you soon !!
And you, dear reader, don't miss this fantastic opportunity! Fill out the form and find out which U-POWER work shoes are best suited to your needs!
U-POWER, Quality and Technology at the service of the worker.
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