VANCOUVER -- Here is something to think about as you work from home: Are you taking care of your feet?

We are spending a lot of time indoors and walking around in socks or bare feet on hard floors. And that can cause aches and pains. 

“It is uncomfortable. I feel it in the joints and I don’t feel as balanced as I typically (do) when I’m wearing a pair of shoes,” said Joel Zimelstern of West Vancouver. 

He’s not the only one. The foot is a complicated assortment of 26 bones with 33 joints, and certified pedorthist Christian Johannsen has seen an uptick in people coming into his Foot Solutions store in Kitsilano seeking help. 

“We have hardwood, we’ve got tile at home, we’ve got all these engineered floors which have no padding whatsoever,” he said. 

Pandemic pains from time on hardwood floors is especially bad for people who suffer from arthritis, those who lack padding around their metatarsals and others who deal with plantar fasciitis. 

“There’s a lot of people coming in for slippers,” Johannsen said. 

He sells specially padded slippers. Some are spongy and great for those with heel pain, and some are a European style that are a bit firmer, with arch and metatarsal support. 

Custom orthotics or special shoes can help alleviate the pain. 

While walking barefoot can help strengthen muscles in the foot, most of us are not used to it so that can lead to some strain. Those who have arthritis in their feet should avoid hard surfaces if they don’t have the proper support and protection. 

A certified pedorthist cannot diagnose medical conditions but they can help with many other treatments and care of the feet to alleviate pain. And they can offer solutions to help you improve your foot posture and strengthen muscles. 

“He found the right shoe for me that made it comfortable,” Zimelstern said of Johannsen’s service. 

Taking care of your feet can also alleviate other lower limb problems involving the knees and hips. Proper support, alignment and gait can reduce stress on the hips and knees. 

These are all things a certified pedorthist can help you address.