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Workers’ Compensation for Foot and Ankle Injuries at Work

Our attorneys can fight to maximize your benefits

In many occupations, we rely on our feet and ankles to perform our jobs, especially if mobility is a requirement. However, foot and ankle injuries can lead to significant pain, loss of mobility, and even prolonged absences from work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 89,000 work-related injuries to the feet and ankles combined each year in the United States. The impact can be physically painful, emotionally stressful, and financially devastating.

Addressing foot and ankle injuries promptly and effectively is important for ensuring a swift recovery and minimizing the impact on your life. This is where the help of a New York workers' compensation law firm becomes invaluable. Read on to learn more about work-related foot and ankle injuries, the risk factors involved, and how to pursue a claim.

What are the most common foot and ankle injuries at work?

Work-related injuries to the feet and ankles can happen in many different ways and range in severity. The most common ones include:

Sprains and strains

A sprain occurs when the ligaments that connect bones are overstretched or torn, while a strain involves the overstretching or tearing of muscles or tendons. Symptoms typically include pain, swelling, bruising, and limited ability to move the affected joint.


Fractures, or broken bones, in the foot or ankle can occur due to various workplace hazards, such as heavy objects falling on the foot or a misstep causing a severe impact. These injuries are serious and often require immediate medical attention.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. Prolonged standing, especially on hard surfaces, and wearing improper footwear are primary causes. Symptoms include sharp heel pain, especially in the morning or after prolonged periods of inactivity.

Achilles tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is common among workers who perform repetitive tasks or those who suddenly increase their physical activity levels. Symptoms include pain and stiffness along the Achilles tendon, particularly in the morning or after exercise.


Burns to the feet and ankles often occur when workers come in contact with hot surfaces, chemicals, fire, molten metal, or electricity. Burns can range from minor to severe and may require surgery.

Punctures and lacerations

These injuries are common when workers have accidents involving loose nails, nail guns, saws, jagged metal, glass, and other sharp objects. They can range from minor cuts that require minimal treatment to severe lacerations that can damage the tissue in the foot or ankle.

What risk factors often contribute to foot and ankle injuries on the job?

Certain occupations are more prone to foot and ankle injuries due to the nature of the work involved. These include construction, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail. Workplace conditions can contribute to the likelihood of foot and ankle injuries, including:

  • Uneven surfaces: Floors with cracks, holes, or abrupt changes in elevation can cause trips and falls.
  • Poor lighting: Insufficient lighting can make it difficult to see hazards on the floor, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Cluttered areas: Workspaces filled with obstacles or debris can create tripping hazards.
  • Wet or slippery floors: Spills, leaks, or weather-related conditions can make floors slippery and hazardous.

How are work-related injuries to feet and ankles diagnosed and treated?

If you sustained a foot or ankle injury on the job, a doctor will need to diagnose the injury before they can begin a treatment plan. This will likely start with a doctor taking a detailed medical history and asking about any prior injuries or health conditions.

You may also be asked to describe your injury, how it occurred, and the symptoms you’re experiencing. A thorough physical examination of the foot and ankle will likely be conducted to assess your range of motion, tenderness, swelling, and any deformities. A doctor may also look for signs of nerve or blood vessel damage.

Imaging tests (e.g. X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans) may reveal the type and location of your foot or ankle injury. Plus, bone scans may determine if you have any bone abnormalities linked to your injury.

Treatment for foot and ankle injuries typically includes:

  • The RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
  • Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, and muscle relaxers.
  • The use of braces, casts, or splints to immobilize the injured area.
  • Physical and/or occupational therapy.
  • Surgery such as fracture repair, arthroscopy, and ligament and tendon repair.

Can I get workers’ compensation benefits for a foot or ankle injury in New York?

If you can’t work because of a foot or ankle injury, there’s good news; New York State provides protections for workers who sustain injuries on the job. The workers' compensation system is designed to ensure that you receive necessary medical care and financial support without the need for lengthy litigation.

Under New York law, virtually all employers must carry workers' compensation insurance, which covers a wide range of injuries, including those affecting the foot and ankle.

The types of benefits available include:

  • Coverage for all necessary medical treatment related to the work injury, such as doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, and medications.
  • Wage replacement benefits, which are typically calculated as two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by the state.
  • Permanent disability benefits such as permanent partial disabilities (e.g., loss of function in the foot or ankle) or permanent total disabilities that prevent you from returning to any form of employment.

How do I file a workers’ compensation claim in New York?

Filing a workers' compensation claim in New York involves several important steps. You must first notify your employer about your foot or ankle injury as soon as possible. This notification should be done in writing and include details about how and when the injury occurred.

Then, you must get prompt medical treatment to document the injury, get an official diagnosis, and begin treatment. Be sure to inform your doctor that your foot or ankle injury is work-related so that it can be accurately recorded.

Next, you must file a Form C-3 (Employee Claim) with the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. This form provides detailed information about your injury and the circumstances surrounding it.

When completing these steps, it’s best to seek help from an experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyer who fully understands the law and how to build a strong case. An attorney at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano can help you understand your rights and walk you through the process of initiating an error-free claim.

For over 90 years, our attorneys have been fiercely defending the rights of injured workers in NYC and throughout New York State. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and find out how to secure the benefits you deserve.

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