Doctors seeing spike in foot, ankle injuries; offer tips to avoid pain

COVID-19 has forced many to exercise outside, often leading to foot pain, injury.

BySarah Bloomquist and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Monday, November 30, 2020
Tips for reducing foot, ankle injuries while working out outdoors
The pandemic has forced many to exercise outside, often leading to foot pain and injury.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With gyms closed once again, many are turning to the great outdoors for their regular exercise. But doctors warn of pushing too hard and risking injury.

Like many of us, the pandemic shutdowns forced Marla Silver to exercise outside.

"Once the pandemic hit, the gyms were closed obviously. So I started running every day, seven days a week. I was doing probably 100 miles a month," she said.

Sounds like a lot, and it turns out it was for Silver.

"I was running and I fell, twisted my ankle and I tore two ligaments," she said.

An injury that Dr. Eric Gokcen, an orthopedic surgeon at Temple Health, is seeing a lot during COVID as more people turn to running as their workout.

"If your feet and your ankles are hurting when you're doing something then you're doing too much," he said.

Luckily for Silver, no surgery was needed.

"They put me in a boot. And I had to wear a boot for three weeks," she said.

Physical therapy followed. Dr. Gokcen said it's critical to listen to your body.

"Some people think oh no pain, no gain I really got to push through the pain and if I won't get better or stronger if I don't keep pushing. And that's not how it is with your feet," he said.

A lesson Silver has learned.

"Definitely tale some rest days. They're very important," she said.

Dr. Gokcen said proper footwear will help you avoid injuries.

Choose a shoe with a rigid bottom and soft inside liner. If you're not in the market for a new set of sneakers, he recommends getting a carbon fiber liner. But be sure you get one that's full length.

"If you get one three quarter lengths that only goes from here to here, they're not going to be as comfortable either. The full length really helps the most," he said.

The inserts run about $50-dollars online, but he said to make sure they say carbon fiber because there are similar-looking ones that aren't as effective.