Why Your Feet Have Been Hurting More in Quarantine and What to Do About It
With so much attention focused on protecting yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19, you may be overlooking one part of your body as you shelter at home - your feet.
Staying at home for prolonged periods of time can pose challenges to maintaining physical health. Sedentary behavior and physical inactivity may affect the arteries; it reduces the blood flow and also increases the risk of blood clots.
Poor blood circulation can also lead to cramps in the legs while walking.
Our podiatric specialists have heard from several patients since the stay-at-home directive was put into effect - all of them voicing foot concerns ranging from heel and arch pain to injuries from walking barefoot around the house.
Take Care of Your Feet at Home During Quarantine with the Advice of Our Podiatry Specialists
Not wearing shoes for an extended period of time during quarantine, may feel like you’re giving your feet a rest from constricting work shoes, but according to Dr. B. David Massaband one of our podiatry specialists, going barefoot around the house can put you at increased risk for foot problems, including plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and metatarsalgia - a painful inflammation in the ball of your foot, the area between your arch and the toes.
The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, many fitness centers and other locations where individuals are normally active are temporarily closed. There is one thing that almost everyone can still do: outdoor exercises.
Top Tips for Keeping Your Feet Healthy During the Quarantine
- Stay physically active. Staying active is important to not only keep your muscles strong and your blood flowing, but it can also release endorphins and lead to higher brain dopamine levels, which can lift your mood and provide added energy.
- Walk. Walking is simple, free, and one of the easiest ways to get more active, so even in small spaces, walking around or walking on the spot, can help you improve or maintain your overall health. If you have a call, walk around your home while you speak, instead of sitting down.
- Don’t walk/exercise barefoot at home. Walking on hardwood floors without proper support can lead to pain in the arches or heels of the foot, poor circulation and swelling of the feet and legs, and even fractures. A good pair of slippers that have prefabricated arch support can help. Without the support and cushioning that comes from shoes, exercising barefoot puts increased stress on the ligaments, tendons, and around the ball of the foot.
- Exercise and stretch your feet. Keeping the feet strong can alleviate soreness and improve flexibility. Stair climbing has aerobic benefits and tone muscles in the legs, so if you have the possibility to climb stairs, do it. Tiptoe walking also strengthens the posterior leg muscles and stimulates circulation.
- Follow an online exercise class - There are many free classes that are streaming online through Instagram, Zoom, and Facebook, so you can find a dance, aerobics, or yoga class, or other fitness class that you like.
Which Injuries Require Immediate Attention From Your Podiatrist?
It’s important to pay close attention not only to how your feet feel but also to how they look. If you’re questioning the color of your toenails or the scaliness of your feet, you should contact your podiatrist for an appointment as they could indicate underlying health issues.
Common minor injuries include:
An ankle sprain is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries in people of all ages and occurs when the strong ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. When the muscle or tendon is stretched or torn, it is an ankle sprain. When the big toe is sprained, it is known as the turf toe. Achilles tendonitis is another type of injury in which the tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the heel becomes painful or inflamed. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the fascia and one of the most common causes of heel pain. Stress fractures are also caused by overuse and are small cracks in the bone.
Our Skilled Podiatrists Are Committed to Your Foot and Ankle Health During Uncertain Times
If you happen to notice any changes, experience discomfort or pain, or have concerns about your foot health, do not hesitate to reach out to our team of experienced podiatrists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital. We are committed to providing the highest level of care, in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Los Angeles.