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Tips for dealing with sore feet with Brad Spokes of ZONE Sports Physiotherapy

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Saskatchewan, Brainsport owner Brian Michasiw has noticed an uptick in people contacting the store complaining of sore feet.

This week, the Brainsport Times speaks with Brad Spokes of ZONE Sports Physiotherapy about what causes sore feet and what you can do to prevent and alleviate the discomfort.

Brainsport Times: Why might Brainsport be seeing more people complaining about sore feet these days?

Brad Spokes: There’s probably two main reasons that people are starting to complain of sore feet.

First, due to the lockdown, people are trying to get outside and be a little bit more active. A lot of people have taken up activities like walking or have increased their running mileage due to closures of gyms and pool facilities.

The other reason is that people are moving about in their houses more frequently and they’re in bare feet on a more regular basis. Due to the fact that we’ve been constrained to shoes for the majority of our lives, our feet have weakened a little bit and when we’re on hardwood or flooring we don’t have the strength or mobility in the feet to be able to tolerate the increased loads.

BT: What advice do you have for people experiencing sore feet?

BS: First and foremost, if the pain’s gone on for a period of time greater than seven to 10 days, they should make an appointment with a medical professional of their choice. That may be family physician, a physiotherapist or a chiropractor. Getting it checked out to determine the root cause of what’s creating the discomfort is job one.

If they’re experiencing pain from walking around the house in bare feet, a simple intervention like getting into some supportive sandals or slippers can provide a little bit of relief. Doing a little bit of self massage work through some of the structures of the feet, through the plantar fascia and small muscles may help; that could involve rolling on a release ball like a lacrosse ball or tennis ball. And then also just stretching their calf out and making sure that they’ve got good mobility through that region will help to de-load some of the pressure off their feet.

BT: What advice do you have for people experiencing sore feet after doing more walking or running?

BS: The big thing is to progress slow and steady. Even if you are brand new to walking or running for fitness, we have the cardiovascular fitness and strength to go out for a half hour at a time, but unfortunately our soft tissue ( bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia) are going to need about eight weeks of conditioning to build up the resiliency to be able to handle that. Progressing nice and slow into a new activity over time will help ensure your body’s ability to adapt appropriately, as opposed to getting out of the gate and going too far too fast.

BT: What role does footwear play when people are getting into walking or running for the first time?

BS: Making sure that you’ve got the correct footwear is absolutely key. Knowing your type of foot and being fit appropriately by professionals like the people at Brainsport will go a long way in helping to reduce stress on your feet.

This interview has been edited and condensed.