Foot and Ankle Specialist Advice on How Coronavirus Can Affect Your Feet

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

I recently posted about how coronavirus can live on shoes.  One of our readers, Dr. Benji, a Foot and Ankle Specialist kindly offered to answer a few questions for us. You’ll find these very interesting.

1. Recent reports indicate that coronavirus symptoms can appear on the feet. How does coronavirus affect the feet?

There are speculations that COVID-19 can cause symptoms in the toes. Currently, we do not know enough to rule this in or out. Interestingly though, I have had one case of “COVID toe” on a student traveling home from Washington DC whose roommates were COVID +. The patient has not been tested for antibodies yet, but about a week before the pandemic began she was very sick with flu-like symptoms. So far what we know is that it causes pain in the toes along with a purple discoloration sometimes seen in a vascular disorder called Raynaud’s phenomenon. Currently, these symptoms are subsiding on their own without use of any medication. I’ve been encouraging all patients to speak to their local Podiatrists about any of the above symptoms.

2. What can you do to relieve these symptoms?

Epsom salt soaks with lavender for 15-20 minutes in lukewarm water has been shown to help relieve symptoms. Avoid wearing tight fitting socks as this can constrict the blood vessels.

3. Since coronavirus can be tracked by shoes, what do you recommend people do to prevent the spread into our homes?

I highly recommend using  disposable shoe covers outside of the house and to choose one pair of shoes that do not leave the house. I use one pair of LL Bean mountain slippers. Anytime I leave the house and come home, I leave those shoes outside of my porch. I also recommend using disinfecting spray on the floors inside your homes once per week, especially if you have kids or babies who are going to be playing and can spread germs.
Currently, we understand that the viral cells of COVID-19 are capable of being transmitted from our shoes so take every precaution to encourage your family to be vigilant about keeping the floors clean and your designated shoes inside the house.

4. What is a doctor’s take on the 5-second rule?  If you drop food is it automatically contaminated?

Yes. I’ve spent years rotating at hospitals in Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine, and infectious diseases of the lower extremity. You don’t realize the millions of bacterial, viral, and fungal cells that line our floors, bathrooms, sinks, gyms, and pools. It’s just not worth it. I realize our immune systems are amazing and counteracting many foreign bodies, but don’t give it more work than it already has to do with its own environment. Grab another M&M and move on!

5. Is there an added risk to wearing sandals or walking barefoot?

I prefer to wear a supportive sandal or slipper versus walking barefooted. The barefoot community believes in strengthening the feet and its organic use that dates back to the times of the cavemen, but that’s just not realistic anymore. Our bodies have adapted to the new world environment of this concrete jungle and our feet could use the support more than ever. There is absolutely nothing wrong with walking barefooted around the house, but in moderation. For instance, if I am washing dishes or doing my laundry,  I know I’ll be spending lots of time standing in one place and putting pounds of weight on my body. In those instances, I prefer to wear sandals such as Powersteps or Vionic, which have built-in orthotics that support your arches. Flip flops such as Havianas have very little support and are the cause of a lot of heel pain problems I see in every day practice. If you’re going to wear sandals, look into Birkenstock which are very comfortable and provide plenty of arch support to get you through the day, whether it is around town or at the beach!
I’d also encourage everyone to visit and subscribe to my Doctor Benji YouTube channel for tips on foot health.



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About the author:
Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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