August 2020

Blog 12 – Looking after your feet in Stage 4 restrictions

Unless you are one of the relatively few permitted workers that can still go into work, the rest of Melbourne is essentially house bound until the Stage 4 COVD-19 restrictions are lifted. Literally millions of Melburnians are now spending the clear majority of their time indoors and around the house.

What does this mean for Melbourne’s feet?
Whether you are working from home, or just stuck at home, it is quite likely the average Melburnian is not wearing supportive footwear like they used to when they left the house pre-COVID (which feels like a life time ago now).

It’s safe to assume the number of people wearing slippers and Ugg boots, and the duration they are wearing them, would have sky rocketed over the past six months since COVID-19 reached our shores. If you own shares in a company that makes slippers, the lockdown is not all bad news, however the lockdown is not good news for your feet. Slippers are not designed to worn all day every day, and that kind of usage brings with it potential foot health problems you’ll need to watch out for.

It’s not a good idea to wear my trusty, super comfy slippers all day??
Firstly, consider the purpose of your common slipper or Ugg boot. They are designed to keep your feet nice and warm first thing in the morning, or late at night as you are winding down for bed. Slippers and Ugg boots have the following characteristics:

  • Zero support for your feet and arches
  • Are loose fitting and packed with faux-fur
  • Offer virtually no grip on their soles
  • Have even less cushioning for absorbing impact

They are built for comfort and warmth, and not much else. Consider what this means for someone’s feet when they are now wearing slippers up to 16 hours a day…

Wearing slippers and Ugg boots all day could cause foot health issues
With slippers and Ugg boots becoming the first choice in foot wear during the lockdown, people may start to experience the following issues:

  • Foot pain – constantly wearing slippers that offer no support can place increased pressure on the arches of your foot (this pain can also refer to your ankles, knees, hips and even lower back)
  • Tinea / fungal nail – Fungal infections thrives in the warm and sweaty conditions of constantly worn slippers, the perfect place for an infection to start and spread like wild fire
  • Bacterial infections – Bacteria, like fungi, love moist and warm environments.  Skin conditions like pitted keratolysis can cause pits to form in the skin and lead to smelly feet. So if your feet are a bit on the nose, check underneath your foot.
  • Slips and falls – slippers and Ugg boots are loose fitting and offer very little grip, especially if you are walking around on tiles, so slips, trips and falls are more likely (more so people over the age of 70)

Ok, I get it, don’t go overboard on wearing my slippers… so what do I wear on my feet instead?
It looks like Jerry Seinfeld may have been onto something with wearing a quality pair of sneakers around the house as they offer great support for your arches and fit snugly around the rest of the foot.

Also, we recommend you check out your current pair of slippers to see if the sole is worn down and / or the faux-fur cushioning on the inside is starting to smell. Slippers and Ugg boots weren’t designed to be worn up to 16 hours a day and it might be time to throw them out and get another pair that you wear sparingly around the house. Be sure to review your feet about once a week to check their appearance for any infections or changes in your skin.

If you have any questions about slippers and foot health, please feel free to give us a call on (03) 9457 2336 and ask to speak to one of our experienced Podiatrists.