I hope everyone is staying safe and at home as much as possible. An important part of beating the COVID-19 coronavirus is social distancing, which is why we offer telemedicine for patients who cannot, or do not wish to, visit the office. I recently received a call from a patient who is an at-risk category and was not comfortable leaving the house. She called the office wondering what she should do and I offered her a virtual telemedicine visit.
Because of the concern of her decreased immune system, she has been strict with the "stay at home" order in Harris County. She only leaves the house to take walks around the neighborhood. Other than wearing her athletic shoes to go out for her walks, she was generally barefoot while around the house. Being barefoot on hard floors, such as wood or tile, and going up and down stairs can create a problem.
She called me because she was having pain on the back of her heel. The pain started a few days before, and she recognized that it was possibly due to not wearing shoes all day. The pain became progressively worse to the point where she was unable to take her walks outside. Getting outside in the beautiful spring weather was one of the few joys that she had in this time of home isolation, and she was not ready to give them up.
Through the telemedicine video link, I was able to see exactly where on her foot that she was feeling the pain. I was able to see if there was any redness or swelling associated with it. The video link is crucial to be able to provide some examination, albeit from afar. Through her feedback to my questions, I was able to determine that she was suffering from an early stage of Achilles tendinitis, an inflammation of the Achilles tendon where it attaches to the back of her heel. This is a common concern, but even more so because she was not wearing her shoes and orthotics to help keep the foot stable.
We agreed on treatment of the condition with some prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, applications of ice, and stretching. I also recommended that she wear her athletic shoes around the house, to help the inflammation to go down and keep it away as the medication works. These steps were successful in helping to decrease the inflammation, eliminate her pain, and get her back outside for her beloved walks.
During this time where there is so much uncertainty, what is certain is that you don't have to suffer in pain, even if you are stuck at home. If you feel like you do not wish to venture outside to come to the office, please give us a call, so we can address your concerns with a video link of telemedicine.