Doctors announce secondary set of medical complications from COVID-19


Published: 2021-02-22 14:45

Last Updated: 2021-05-16 08:55

Credit: Andolu Agency
Credit: Andolu Agency

Health specialists in the UAE have announced that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a surge in secondary medical complications, including anxiety, depression, foot pain, back pain and tension headaches, weight gain, and skin conditions.

- Mental health -

Mental health issues have been well documented throughout the coronavirus crisis, the most prevalent of which are anxiety and depression.

According to a consultant psychiatrist at an Emirati hospital, Muhammad Thir, a lack of stability, financial loses, seclusion from family and friends, and changes in lifestyle have all affected mental health across the region.

- Foot pain - 

A consultant orthopedic surgeon Ahmed Labib stated that foot pain is another very common condition being seen in the UAE.

Labib indicated that there has been a surge in plantar fasciosis, a connective tissue disorder in the arch of the foot. This disorder comes as a result of changing the type of shoes and walking habits (sedentary lifestyle of chronic use of high heels.)

He said, “with an increased number of people working from home, and with lockdowns happening all across the world, we have seen the number of people suffering of foot ache increase."

“This is due to the fact that people have changed their shoe wearing habits, and either moved to staying barefoot or using house shoes which is very different in structure than an outside shoe,” Labib added.

With many people going back to work, he stated that other foot complications have occurred.

“After spending months at home, wearing their normal shoes on a daily basis, their muscles were no longer used to the everyday use of high heels, for example, which, in many cases, lead to foot pain.”

Labib stated that the cases he has seen during the pandemic with the aforementioned conditions have been mild and were easily rectified with certain exercises and massages.

He urged everyone to wear comfortable shoes and regularly exercise to maintain overall health.

- Back pain and tension headaches -

Labib added that prolonged hours sitting on desks for people working from home can cause a series of aches and pains.

“People started working from their couch or bedroom, which caused them severe backache or tension headaches due to their wrong posture.”

Labib said that this is usually treated through physiotherapy to ease up muscle tightness or spasms.

- Weight gain -

A bariatric weight loss surgeon Girish Juneja, told Al Arabiya that piling on the pounds has also become a highly common health complaint as lockdowns took its toll on the vast majority of the population.

Physical activity significantly decreased due to pandemic restrictions, namely lockdowns, gym and park closures, and working from home.

Juneja said that mental health can also be linked with weight gain seeing as many individuals turn to food as a form of comfort. 

“Many people experienced high levels of anxiety and depression which then lead many to overeating as a comfort mechanism heading to excessive eating and weight gain,” he said.

- Skin Conditions -

A consultant dermatologist Suresh Babu, stated that people with sensitive skin who are forced to wear masks for long periods of time have been developing mild skin rashes, acne and dry lips, noting that he has seen more and more cases come into his office.

However, the doctor said such skin conditions are not severe and are easily treated with topical creams.

Increasing moisture to the skin is essential, Babu said.

“Perioral dermatitis is a skin condition that we have seen rise with the increase wearing of face masks,” he said.  Acne and breakouts from masks has been notoriously dubbed "maskne" across the world.

The people most susceptible to getting these kind of rashes are those predisposed to rosacea, acne, and atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema,” amongst other skin complaints.