Podiatrists and physiotherapists are reporting a surge of patients suffering overuse syndrome after taking up exercise during the pandemic, often as an antidote to lockdown lethargy, The Age reports.
Even a small burst of walking or running after a period of inactivity can cause pain and stress fractures to the feet and lower limbs. Other patients are presenting with painful feet caused by months of living a life of slippers, Ugg boots and barefoot, and going without arch support.
During lockdown, many people who had been working stopped exercising, causing their bodies to lose condition. Others who had never run or exercised before used their extra free time to start.
“People start too hard and too fast, so you get a whole raft of overuse syndrome,” said Mr Fitzgerald, a former physiotherapist to the Brisbane Broncos who is also on the International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy.
Melanie Fletcher bought the last running machine on the retailer’s floor at the beginning of the pandemic, but it sat unused in her East Killara garage until January this year.
After eating too much at Christmas, she found motivation. Working with a remote trainer in her ear and a built-in video screen that transported her runs to exotic locations in Morocco and Portugal, Ms Fletcher quickly got hooked. “I got the running bug,” she said.
But going from zero to five runs a week – including some “recovery sessions” – caused a stress injury in Ms Fletcher’s ankle, said Tom Sheehan, the principal physiotherapist at Northside Sports Physiotherapy in Lindfield.
Jeffery Jenkins, a podiatrist and director of OnePointHealth in Penrith, said there had been huge demand for services once people came out of the most severe lockdown.