ANKLE & FOOT
When the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the majority of people to shelter, work, and school from home over the past year, a noticeable uptick in some common foot conditions had occurred.
People have put aside constricting work shoes, significantly changed their activity habits (for better or worse), and are spending more time barefoot or in slippers for extended periods of time compared to pre- COVID days.
Gyms closed and some people found themselves exercising barefoot at home. Others increased their activity level finding time for daily walks and other socially distanced activities.
Foregoing shoes may seem more comfortable but over time can put increased stress on ligaments, tendons and bones in the foot creating problems in this new setting.
Plantar fasciitis: inflammation of the arch with pain typically at the heel; frequently worse with first steps in the morning or after periods of rest.
Tendonitis: Inflammation of the tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendons are frequently aggravated with overuse or injury.
Neuroma: Inflammation of a nerve in the forefoot which is typically due to increased motion / extension of the toes or squeezing of the forefoot with tight shoes.
Metatarsalgia: Inflammation of the ball of the foot from lack of support or natural loss of fat padding.
All of the above conditions can be treated conservatively with avoidance or decrease of the repetitive injury, anti-inflammatory medication, ice, rest, and you guessed it….Shoes.
Embrace the house shoe!
Though many of us were taught that shoes bring dirt into the home, wearing supportive footwear indoors may help to avoid “quarantine feet”. I often recommend Oofos or Birkenstocks to wear in the home to help alleviate the stresses that excessive barefoot can bring if regular shoes are not being used.
Additionally, there has been a rise in toe fractures from lack of shoe wearing in the home. Rooms have been rearranged for zoom meeting, computer cords are snaked around the floor, and juggling work and home in the same location can lead to a less attentive state precipitating trauma. The old saying that there is nothing to do for a broken toe is absolutely false. Fractures that involve a joint or are misaligned require immediate medical attention. Untreated toe fractures may require surgery to restore position and function.
If any of these common conditions persist after conservative care and lifestyle modifications; or if you suffer a traumatic injury seek care from a medical professional.