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Pandemic foot pain, and how to deal with it | Health Smart

Our feet continue to take a beating as the pandemic changes our respective activity levels.

YORK, Pa. — If you've been experiencing unusual foot pain, you're definitely not alone. Podiatrists say they've seen an increase in what they're calling "pandemic foot pain." 

Dr. Lisa Price is a podiatrist with WellSpan Health. She says as people head back to the office and back to the gym, they are doing too much, too fast.

"We are seeing some tendinitis, especially some Achilles tendinitis," she said.

The type of foot problems have changed throughout the pandemic. In the beginning, as most people stayed home, she saw a big increase in plantar fasciitis.

"Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament on the bottom of the foot, and it's really important," Dr. Price said. "So they're in socks and slippers and although that feels good initially, a little bit of prolonged standing or walking over a few weeks, and it really puts a lot of strain on the foot." 

If you're not getting enough arch support or if your muscles are really tight, you could be at risk of developing plantar fasciitis, Dr. Price says, and here's how she says you'll know. 

"The pain that patients generally will experience is that first step out of bed in the morning: their heal will hurt after long periods of sitting," she said. "However, if you have any sort of arthritic condition of your foot and you're not wearing shoes, that's gonna make that worse over time." 

This is especially true for the elderly, Dr. Price says. 

"We have a fat pad on the bottom of our feet that protects and cushions our bones and as we get older, that fat pad will thin out or shift and we really rely on shoes to cushion that," she said. 

As the pandemic slows and more people get back to their normal routine, Dr. Price has some advice, because some overuse injuries can be avoided.

"It's also important to wear the correct shoe for your activity, because you're gonna wear a much different shoe to go hiking than if you're gonna play basketball," she said. "Sometimes people have just one pair of sneakers and they use it for everything and sometimes that's not the wisest choice because more injuries can develop." 

If you're suffering from any kind of unusual foot pain, you should discuss it with your doctor as soon as possible, Dr. Price advises. 

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