By: Dr. Mark Whitesides

This past year has been challenging for oh-so-many reasons. As foot and ankle specialists, we have seen an increased number of lower extremity issues that are related to behavior changes during the pandemic. These include more time being barefoot at home, changing exercise patterns to cope with the pandemic, and common household conditions that can cause trauma to your feet. There are plenty of challenges in the world right now, and we are here to help make sure that foot pain and injuries are not one of your challenges!

The most common complaint that has increased during the pandemic is heel pain. There are several factors that can lead to heel pain. One reason many people have increased pain in their feet at this time is due to an increase of everyday activities indoors. A lot of us are now going barefoot on hard surfaces, such as concrete, wood, or tile floors. Surfaces in our homes can be less forgiving than we experience in a work environment and many people sit more at work than at home.

At Southwest Austin Foot & Ankle Clinic, we recommend wearing supportive shoes indoors as well as outside to help reduce the impact that hard surfaces can have on your feet, particularly your heels.

Additionally, we have seen a large number of blisters, ingrown nails, and skin abrasions during the pandemic. This is related to the increased exercise that many of us have done to offset the decrease in activities available while we are staying home more. We understand the need to be as active as possible at this time. However, grabbing the old sneakers that you purchased years ago for your new walking habit may lead to unexpected foot pain. We suggest replacing old or poorly fitting shoes before starting any new fitness regimen.

We recommend making sure that all of your shoes fit properly so you can enjoy those long walks with your friends, family, or pets to bring the happiness that getting outside can provide us!

Finally, podiatrists have been seeing an increase in trauma to the toes during the pandemic. This can happen as a result of walking barefoot more inside your home, which puts you at risk for stubbing your toe on furniture. This happens so frequently at night while folks are making their way to the bathroom in the dark that podiatrists even have a nickname for it: “Pee Fractures!” Trauma can also happen to bare feet when people drop things on their feet, such as heavy shampoo bottles or kitchen utensils.

We know we sound like a broken record, but wear supportive shoes indoors if you can! The same supportive house shoes that can help prevent heel pain may also help prevent trauma to your feet. If you are having any problems with your feet or ankles, we are here to help! We are taking strict COVID precautions to ensure everyone’s safety at this time. At SWAFAC, we look forward to offering treatment options for pandemic related foot and ankle problems. Our team is ready and able to work with you to find solutions to your issues. Contact our Austin and Dripping Springs offices at 512-447-4122.