Foot health issues rise from neglect during pandemic
One of the most important things we can do is focus on the health of our feet. While we often think about heart health and teeth care, a Banner Health doctor says people have been neglecting their foot health during this pandemic. Dr. Travis Jensen, a podiatrist, has seen an increase in patients who have foot-related medical issues.
“There’s no doubt there’s been a lot of people who have prolonged foot care, whether it be diabetic wounds or ingrown toenails,” says Dr. Jensen.
Dr. Jensen says he’s been noticing an uptick in all age groups coming to see him for some type of treatment directly related to having delayed care.
For older patients, reasons include medical conditions such as diabetes and the development of ulcers or wounds. For younger patients, he’s seeing a steady stream of trauma-related injuries. Many middle-aged patients are coming in for help because of stress fractures.
With stress fractures Dr. Jensen explains, “People will develop a hairline fracture or crack. It will show up as a little pain, (but) people will continue to do their normal activities until the foot swells.” Some people don’t accept the serious nature of a stress fracture and try to manage the pain and swelling at home. When their symptoms become unmanageable, they realize it’s time to see a podiatrist.
So why could there be so many serious foot injuries now? Dr. Jensen speculates that during the height of the pandemic, many people were inside not being active. As COVID slowed, more people began venturing outdoors and “shocking” their feet with heavy activities, such as running and hiking.
Dr. Jensen recommends some simple things people can do to maintain good foot health year-round. Those include:
• Wearing well-fitting shoes
• Proper hygiene of the feet
• Proper nail care (an area Dr. Jensen often sees being neglected)
• Seeing a podiatrist or primary doctor if your feet are hurting and you can’t manage the pain
Dr. Jensen says, “If your feet are hurting, then something is bothering them. Don’t neglect it. Make an appointment to have a doctor look at them.”
Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner also has an academic division, Banner – University Medicine, and a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health-insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits, and Banner operates a free 24/7 nurse line for health questions or concerns. Patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit bannerhealth.com.