The pandemic has changed the way many people work. The days of lockdowns may be over but not everyone has rushed back to the workplace. Covid is still here and people are still vulnerable, so working from home has become commonplace for many.
Unfortunately, long hours at the laptop create a new set of problems.
The Wrong Shoes or No Shoes
At home we like to be comfortable which can mean tatty old slippers, socks or bare feet. When you go out you wear shoes, and for good reason.
Outdoor shoes provide support, cushioning and stability. Without this, the tendons, muscles and ligaments in your feet and ankles are under constant pressure – a situation that weakens the connective tissues and leads to pain and injury.
Problems with Home Workouts
Some folks still prefer to work out at home rather than go back to the gym. Indeed, as prices rise this will probably become even more common. However, without supervision, bad habits tend to sneak up.
It’s tempting to slip on a comfy old pair of trainers or even work out barefoot – something you would never do at the gym. This increases the likelihood of sprains, strains and overuse injuries even further.
Similarly, you wouldn’t work out at the gym without warming up and cooling down properly, but at home, it’s too easy to be distracted and overlook this; the phone rings, kids demand attention, and the moment is lost. The result is sprains and torn muscles and ligaments – all from the comfort of your own home!
This affects the long bones (metatarsals) in your feet, particularly at the joints with the ball of the feet. Aches, stabbing pains or a burning sensation around the ball or in the middle of the foot may be an indication of metatarsalgia.
Pain at the bottom of the heal point to issues with the plantar fascia. This ligament runs along the bottom of the foot to attach the heel bone to the forefoot. Meanwhile, the calf muscle at the back of the heal is attached via the Achilles tendon.
If you’re sitting all day with bent knees, your calf muscle is shortened and becomes tighter. This pulls on the heel, which places strain on the plantar fascia and leads to inflammation (plantar fasciitis).
Achilles Tendon Issues
The Achilles tendon can also be affected. Lack of movement causes stress and tension in the tendon and surrounding tissues, which is then exacerbated by sudden or occasional exercise. This results in soft tissue tears or even degeneration (Achilles tendonitis) and anyone who sits all day and exercises periodically can be affected.
Regular movement is essential. It stimulates circulation and keeps muscles, lungs and heart in good condition. A sedentary lifestyle restricts blood flow and the proper functioning of the lymph system. This can lead to enlarged veins, extra weight, and numerous other serious issues.
What’s the Solution?
Thankfully, a bit of common sense does the trick.
- Wear shoes that support your feet, even indoors.
- Take a break and move about regularly.
- Exercise – even if it’s just a walk to the end of the road two or three times a day.
- Wear the right exercise shoes.
- Always warm up with gentle stretches or a slow walk to get you started.
- Wear compression socks.
And don’t forget – going to the kitchen for a cuppa doesn’t count!
Not Sure Where to Start?
Visit Feet By Pody for expert advice on footwear, exercise and any worries about legs, ankles and feet.