Don't Let Pain Keep You from Walking
Stay at home recommendations and other restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted many people to seek safer exercise options, like walking. But for those dealing with joint pain, this simple activity can be very difficult.
“Unfortunately, pain in one of the many joints, muscles and tendons involved in walking can sidetrack even the most determined walker's routine,” said Dr. Andrew Friedmann an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle surgeries at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital. “A sore back, aching knees, stiff hip, tender ankle or throbbing toe can make taking a stroll difficult.” Fortunately, most common injuries are treatable. Friedmann offers information on injuries and conditions that may have an impact on your ability to walk comfortably:
Shin splints. Common in new walkers, shin splints include pain in the lower leg. It may be caused by over striding or wearing heels that are too high.
Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can cause severe pain and occurs when the tissue connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes becomes inflamed. “Walkers who exhibit over-pronation (rolling the foot inward excessively with each step) may be prone to plantar fasciitis,” Friedmann added.
Achilles tendon injuries. The Achilles tendon—the thick tendon that connects the heel and foot to the back of the calf muscles—can become inflamed or even rupture due to repetitive stress, an accident or injury, or improper footwear.
Knee and hip pain. Pain in the knees and/or hips may be the result of arthritis, an accident or injury, inflammation or misalignment of the joints.
Foot pain. Bunions, toe fracture or ill-fitting shoes can contribute to aching feet.
“If you suffer from foot or ankle pain, walking can range from mildly or moderately uncomfortable to extremely agonizing. One of the simplest ways to prevent walking injuries is to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes that have a low heel and flexible sole. Avoid high heels and shoes that are too tight, too loose or are old and have lost their inner support,” Friedmann said.
Friedmann offers other preventive tips:
•Stretch your calves and shins before you start your walk.
•Start off slowly and increase walking speed gradually.
•Watch out for cracks, uneven areas or other obstacles on the sidewalk or walking path.
•Be aware of your surroundings and don't wear headphones (they can block out the sound of approaching traffic or bicyclists).
•Dress appropriately for the weather.
•Walk in a safe place, preferably with a walking partner (or take the dog along for company).
Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital is open and caring for all of our community and has implemented the following enhanced safety measures in all of its doctors’ offices and clinics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the health and well-being of our patients:
•Screening all patients when scheduling appointments for symptoms and exposure risk
•Minimizing the number of patients we are seeing per day in our clinics by expanding virtual services and staggering in-person appointments
•Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended testing for our employees
•Screening all patients upon arrival with temperature checks and an exposure questionnaire
•Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) while providing patient care
•Reorganizing waiting rooms and check-in lines to ensure social distancing
•Implementing additional sanitation processes to disinfect all equipment and surfaces
The offices of Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports at Baytown are located in the state-of-the-art outpatient center (1677 W. Baker Rd, suite 1701). In addition to foot and ankle conditions, our orthopedic surgeons specialize in total hip and knee joint replacements, hand and upper extremity conditions, rotator cuff problems and more. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit houstonmethodist.org/baytown or call 281.427.7400.
About Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital
Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital has provided Baytown and East Houston with quality medical care since opening its doors in 1948. The hospital has grown throughout the years with the community, providing comprehensive care at all stages of life. As a health care leader, the hospital is proud to have a fully integrated residency program focused on educating and inspiring future practitioners. Today, Houston Methodist Baytown provides some of the most advanced and innovative procedures while never losing focus on compassionate and patient-centered care. Houstonmethodist.org/baytown.