Foot Injuries Spike As People Spend More Time At Home

Doctors are seeing more back and shoulder problems as millions of Americans have suddenly made the switch to working from home. But now experts say there is another surprising side effect: foot pain.

“People are used to walking to BART and wearing shoes at work, and then all of a sudden they’re home and they’re barefoot eight hours a day,” says Dr. Jessica Greaux, a chiropractor based in the East Bay. “They’re just more at risk, it’s just that sudden change.” 

Dr. Greaux has been treating patients by telemedicine and says she has seen patients with a whole host of foot ailments such as tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

“I was shocked to see so many ankle and foot problems. I would say that was half of it,” says Dr. Greaux. “People are more barefoot. When they wake up in the morning and they’re still in pajamas at 3 p.m. I’m sure they don’t think about putting their shoes on. So when you’re barefoot your heel drops, and that can put a load on or stress on tendons that are not used to that all day.”

And it is not just the hours spent padding around in bare feet that can cause harm. 

“Normally we go to the gym and we’re wearing shoes. Now they’re home doing a HIIT class and jumping and squatting and doing biometrics barefoot. And so they develop tendonitis that way,” she says.

People with previous foot injuries are most at risk of injuring themselves by being barefoot.

Dr. Greaux says there are some exercises people can do at home to strengthen their feet, “heel raises, they can strengthen the foot muscles, they can work on the arch of the foot.”

Or, wearing a pair of supportive shoes indoors and putting tennis shoes on before working out.