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Accommodations at Work

Posted by Mary M on 10/15/03 at 21:34 (134086)

I had Dornier ESWT done in June after struggling with PF in my left foot for two years and getting no relief from the usual conservative treatments. While I'm happy to report much improvement, I still have stiffness and soreness along the sole, as if my plantar fascia lacks flexibility. My podiatrist thinks the next step is custom orthotics (cheap over-the-counter models didn't cut it). I'm still waiting for the OK from my insurance company, because I can't afford to spring for these out of my own pocket. I'm getting a bit nervous because my employer is starting to make some noise about accommodating my condition. I work full-time as a cashier, and we're expected to stand at our registers. I should add that I had two good feet when I went from a desk job to my current one three years ago-- the first symptoms of PF, which I mistook for a stone bruise, appeared within a month of being on my feet 40 hours a week. Since my ESWT treatment, I've been sitting at my register, which has worked out great, at least from my point of view. I haven't found that it compromises my productivity (in fact I consistently lead my store in add-on sales of our company discount program, a fact well known to management). But the brass seem to want to get me back on my feet, and I honestly don't know if I can do it without triggering a recurrence of PF. Maybe I could stand for a few hours, but I doubt I could manage a full eight-hour shift. My podiatrist seems to think custom orthotics would solve the problem, but with all due respect he's never suffered from PF himself. I can't risk getting terminated over this because my husband is on Social Security disability and my job provides the health insurance for us both. Has anyone dealt with a similar dilemma? Would this be protected under the Disabilities Act? I am willing to compromise with my employer, but I don't want to cripple my feet either.

Re: Accommodations at Work

Ed Davis, DPM on 10/15/03 at 22:51 (134090)

Mary:
Orthotics are probably the most fundamental conservative treatment and are usually done long before ESWT is considered. Your insurance approved ESWT but not orthotics? You need to discuss this with your employer and would have the employer or HR department write a letter or call the insurer as they certainly have a policy with a problematic structure and need to realize that. Perhaps your podiatrist can support you in that effort.
Ed

Re: Accommodations at Work

dave r on 10/16/03 at 07:45 (134108)

Mary, do you have some sort of short term or long term disability on your insurance plan? If you have a LTD plan then i am pretty sure that your employer must provide you with accomidations or find you another position of equal pay. THEY can not cut your pay if you have long term disability. They must also provide you with training for a different position. Doctor Ed is correct you need to contact you employee resources or your insurance to find out if you are eligable. You also need to be very careful about controlling your pain and document everything. Keep a journal of your daily pain levels and your work duties. Also if you are seeing a doctor and or physical therapist they may be able to right you a letter so that you can be on light duty. I also assume that your employer has certain guidelines that you must follow in this type of situation. If you dont follow them then they can take a course of action. The bottom line is that you shouldnt let them push you around...