Ex-England cricketer's injuries inspire worker MSD prevention

23 Aug 2018

Former England cricket player and talkSPORT presenter Ronnie Irani has teamed up with leading sports scientists to help millions of workers worldwide avoid foot conditions and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

After bowling more than 30,000 deliveries during his 17-year career, Irani needed specialist insoles to prevent MSDs – and he has discovered builders, engineers and workers across other industries require the same assistance.

At IOSH 2018, Irani will examine how sports science can influence the personal protective equipment (PPE) used by employees around the world in the future. 

During his career, he used specialised insoles in his footwear which were produced by podiatrists in Germany.

After retiring, he began working with those specialists as well as biomechanics experts in Oregon, USA, to create an affordable range of insoles which can be used every day by working people. His product, OrthoSole insoles, is now supplied to workers across industries.

Irani said: “Bowling in cricket puts a huge amount of strain on your feet and, as a result, the rest of your body. All pain starts from the ground up, so pain in your feet can lead to knee pain, back pain and even migraines.

“But this isn’t specific to professional sportsmen and women. Across industries like construction, people are suffering from conditions which originate in their feet.

“Clearly this causes a lot of pain, discomfort and fatigue. Over time, these can also contribute to mental health problems.

“Everyone is different in terms of the shape of their feet and their personal preferences, and the environment where people work is also different. But safety boots don’t tend to be manufactured with this in mind, so added support is needed.”

In 2016-17, 8.9 million working days were lost to work-related MSDs in the UK alone, demonstrating the huge loss it causes the economy as well as the impact it has on the lives of sufferers and their families.

Irani added: “For a small investment, companies can help prevent their staff from suffering from foot-related issues. And they really do see a return on this – with fewer sick days, increased productivity and a happier workforce.

“At IOSH 2018, I will describe how sports innovation and technology has been translated to influence improvements in everyday workwear. We will also look to the future to see what other areas of work might benefit from sports technology.”

IOSH 2018 is being held at the ICC Birmingham from 17-18 September. For more details visit www.ioshconference.com


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