16:21 PM

My Journey to Healing My Heel

Thrive Global features a post by HSS patient Cinzia Brandi discussing her experience with foot and heel pain after extensive walking following the post-pandemic lockdown. Brandi explained she was eager to make up for lost time, however her extremities were not prepared. 

Her physician, Rock G. Positano, DPM, MSc, MPH, DSc, Director of Non- Surgical Foot and Ankle Services at HSS,  helped Brandi get back on her feet. Throughout her rehabilitation process, she came to learn she was not alone, as this condition increased 20-30% post-lockdown. Dr. Positano dubbed this epidemic as the “Pandemic Foot” and is currently completing studies  to quantify the matter. 

“It’s important to not underestimate the severity of symptoms”, explained  Dr. Positano. “Because problems with our feet, though not life-threatening, can be deleterious to one’s quality of life. The inability to move directly influences one’s ability to exercise, socialize, and consequently can be very taxing emotionally as well. During lockdown, routines and habits were forced to change; people who normally would take public transport shifted to walking, for fear of contagion, moving from 2 to 7 km per day. While this degree of exercise is in fact recommended for regulating blood pressure, circulation, bone health, and glucose levels, those not previously accustomed to this degree of activity quickly suffered adverse effects.” 

After the lockdown, there began to be a notable rise in heel pain, which serves as the primary point of shock absorption during the repetitive impact whilst walking. A lack of adequate support compromises its ability to properly function, causing a, rather painful, chain reaction. The issue starts with the heel itself suffering from inflammation, then migrating to the plantar fascia, as well as the fatty tissue that surrounds it. Not long thereafter, a series of repercussions will begin to manifest along the entire body, because when one’s feet begin to fail, the body begins to compensate – and the knees, back, and hips are the first to feel it. 

“This trend is most certainly on the rise,” Dr. Positano elaborated. “We have patients in their 30s with the same probability of developing these issues as those in their 80s. Even athletes, who have had to stop their rigorous training as a result of the  pandemic, have displayed signs of this same issue when they picked it back up.”

Read the full article at community.thriveglobal.com