Most of us are well aware of all the common signs and symptoms of covid-19 and the importance of staying at home. However, many of us are unaware of just how much stress and pressure it is placing on all other aspects of our health, and as a consequence the impact on our foot health.
Our physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing all correlate and if one aspect is struggling the rest of our health will too. Here in the clinic we have noticed a few different foot health trends that have developed since the pandemic began, in particular a link between our mental health and foot health.
Lockdown and Isolation: New Stress Habits
As humans we all develop habits that we naturally do when feeling worried, agitated, stressed or anxious (ie. comfort eating, retail therapy, increase in alcohol consumption).
Lately, we have noticed an increase in nail complaints from people picking their nails, particularly their toenails when feeling stressed or anxious.
By picking at your toenails it can cause the nails to become ingrown and start to dig in down the sides. This can also result in not only pain but infection.
Lockdown and Isolation: Change in footwear trends
Many Victorians are working from home and kids are being homeschooled – all trying to do the right thing to limit movement. This means we’re spending a huge amount of our time at home.
We often find that going barefoot, or wearing ugg boots and slippers are hugely popular options for everyone. People often only remember to put on their good shoes when they venture out for their daily walk.
Although very comfortable, cosy and warm, winter slippers are not extremely supportive and can cause the foot to do more work than it really has to. Without a strap or laces, the arch and toe muscles work overtime to make sure your shoes stay on. This often results in a lot of heel, arch and toe pain.
Going barefoot (especially on hard surfaces) can cause increased shock and injuries to the arch of your foot which may not be used to going without support for an extended period of time.
If you’ve had a history of foot pain, our advice for you is to try and wear your good shoes indoors, to prevent old injuries recurring.
Lockdown and Isolation: Reduction in daily exercise or activity
With all our usual routines and activities out the window, this can result in us doing less incidental activity and being less active. A lot of us may walk to work or walk from the train station or go out for a walk at lunch time.
These little steps all add up throughout the day, and over the week, and help keep our muscles active and strong.
Our advice is that you remain active, even when you’re at home. It helps maintain your strength and agility and will reduce the risk of injury when you return to your normal activities after restrictions are eased. A quick 20 minute walk in the fresh air can also help clear the mind, lift your mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
Lockdown restrictions and isolation are things we have never had to experience before and we are all going through an unusual and strange time together. Our levels of stress and anxiety are being impacted. Try to focus on the little things that you can control. Aim to do one thing that you enjoy each day that will help to enhance your mental health.
Whether or not you’ve experienced any of the above foot issues or just need someone to chat to, feel free to contact us here at the clinic. Our team will do our best to help you get through this incredibly tough time.