Isolation, inactivity during COVID-19 leaving half of Americans battling more aches and pains

NEW YORK — You’d think all this time stuck inside might give the backs and feet of many workers a rest. A recent survey finds that’s actually not the case. In fact, many Americans say their aches and pains are adding up during isolation. Half of respondents say all the inactivity and sitting around is contributing to their growing discomfort.

When it comes to what’s troubling most Americans, the poll of 2,000 people reveals 48 percent say their back bothers them the most during quarantine. A third of respondents point to their neck as their biggest achy spot.

There’s trouble afoot during isolation

Although people have few places to walk, the OnePoll survey finds many Americans are experiencing more foot pain during the pandemic. The study, commissioned by Dr. Scholl’s, says three in 10 have pain in their arches. A quarter of respondents are dealing with pain in the balls of their feet and 19 percent have heel pain.

So what’s causing all these aches? Researchers find footwear choices are really changing while people live in isolation. More than half of respondents are wearing sneakers more often and 45 percent are walking around in slippers. Over a third of Americans spend the day in just their socks.

Charlie Lundy, vice president of R&D at Dr. Scholl’s, believes Americans just aren’t used to spending all this time without wearing supportive shoes.

“For the majority of our lives, we’ve worn shoes on our feet. Now think about the last 3-4 months. We’re walking barefoot a ton,” Lundy says in a statement. “While it’s comfortable and may feel intuitive for us, we’re just not used to it. The muscles in our feet and lower legs aren’t able to keep up with such a drastic change, which leads to some of the aches and pains we’ve been feeling recently.”

Forty-two percent of respondents blame their foot pain on walking around barefoot. Another 43 percent add they’re slowly starting to wear shoes again just to get comfortable wearing them again.

Will normalcy worsen the pain?

Nearly six in 10 worry these new aches and pains will actually get worse when they resume their normal activities.

“It’s important as we begin to resume normal activities – and normal footwear – that we’re paying attention to our feet by cushioning and supporting your arches with insoles so you’re in a more relaxed state during the day,” Lundy adds.

When the pandemic does end, a majority of Americans say they’ll be reevaluating their wardrobe choices too. Over 40 percent of respondents say they’re wearing more “athleisure” clothing in isolation and 55 percent plan to buy more after COVID-19.

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