Are You Working from Home Due to COVID-19?

If you, like many Americans, find yourself working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may notice that your work attire has drastically changed. Thanks to the CDC’s efforts to protect public health by controlling person to person contact, no one really sees us anymore as we work. Gone are dress and business casual workwear; they’ve been replaced with lounge pants and bare feet. But is going shoeless a good idea? Twin Cities Foot and Ankle Clinic is here to answer the question: Do I need shoes with good support while working from home because of COVID-19?

Standing Barefoot All Day May Cause Foot Pain

Casual work attire has the benefit of being comfortable, but spending the day with bare feet or schlepping around in socks all week may not be such a great idea. Extended periods of standing barefoot on hard surfaces can lead to heel pain, arch pain, strains, sprains, and stress fractures, or conditions like plantar fasciitis or tendonitis.

Our Feet Change as We Age

While running around barefoot seems to come naturally to toddlers and children, the older we get, the harder it is on our bodies. As we age, the fat pads located on the balls of our feet begin to shrink. If we spend a lot of time standing, this loss of cushion can take a toll on our knees, hips and lower back.
Choosing a shoe that offers some cushion for shock absorption and support in the heel area, as well as reinforcement for the arch, will protect your feet and joints from damage.

Hard Surfaces Can Damage Bare Feet

Walking barefoot on soft surfaces, such as carpet, may be better for foot health than treading on hardwood or tiled floors. Feet are designed to sink into dirt or sand with each step. These softer surfaces accommodate the shape of the foot and support the arch as we walk. Hard floors don’t have enough give to do this. Instead, the foot receives the pressure and, eventually, the arch may collapse.

Walking without shoes also changes how weight is distributed across the foot. These changes in pressure affect the foot’s pronation (when the foot rolls inward for support), which can cause balance issues. Over time, excessive pronation may lead to the development of hammertoes, bunions or other painful conditions like shin splints, arch and heel pain, posterior tibial tendonitis or Achilles tendonitis. This is where shoes with arch support insoles or a custom orthotic can help.

Good Arch Support Enhances Circulation

If you have varicose veins or poor circulation, you may find that your legs or feet swell less when wearing shoes. The compression that a good fitting shoe with arch support provides will help prevent blood from pooling in the lower limbs and feet, reducing puffiness and aching.

Older People Should Wear Shoes in the Home

Quality shoes with arch support are a good idea for people of all ages, but especially for the elderly. A Science Daily study shows that “that older people going barefoot, wearing only socks, or wearing slippers may be at considerably increased risk of falls in their homes.”

Designate Shoes for Home Use to Avoid COVID-19

The team at Twin Cities Foot and Ankle Clinic advises patients to purchase a good pair of shoes with excellent arch support to wear exclusively at home, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. For disease control and prevention, shoes worn while shopping or running errands should be removed at the door as they may have become contaminated during your time away. Switch to your “home shoes” and be sure to wash your hands well once you have put them on.

Now is The Perfect Time to Book an Appointment

While a clear end to the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t in sight, the hope is we will all eventually return to school and work. And that, of course, will signal the end of our shoeless workdays. Now is the ideal time to visit Twin Cities Foot and Ankle Clinic to address any issues you may have developed during quarantine. Don’t wait until the return-to-reality rush begins!

If you have any questions about going barefoot while working from home due to COVID-19, we’d be happy to answer them for you! Please call our office or reach out to us via email or through our convenient online form. Twin Cities Foot and Ankle Clinic is still serving patients in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area with in-office visits or via our telemedicine option. Pain relief is just a phone call away!