Physical Fitness and Your Joints
Though you might assume that exercise will aggravate your joint pain, the opposite is true. Lack of exercise can make your joints even stiffer and more painful. Not exercising weakens the supporting muscles around your bones, creating more stress on your joints. Being physically fit benefits your whole body, but we’ll concentrate on how it affects your feet and ankles. Here’s how physical exercise can benefit some common foot conditions.
Exercise is vital for people with arthritic joints. It helps to reduce joint pain and increases strength and flexibility. Arthritis sufferers need to exercise in a way that puts low impact on their joints – e.g., bicycling, swimming, walking. The most important word to concentrate on is “move.” Any movement, however small, is beneficial. Think of walking the dog, mowing the lawn, or raking leaves.
The Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation provides exercise programs for those afflicted with arthritis. Programs include exercise classes – on land and in water – and walking groups. Contact your local branch for more information.
Osteoporosis involves the loss of calcium and other minerals from the bones. This makes the bones in the feet and ankles susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis is mainly a disease of aging and involves more women than men because the hormonal changes of menopause accelerate bone loss. A sedentary lifestyle also encourages the loss of bone density. On the plus side, regular exercise can reduce the rate of bone loss and help conserve remaining bone tissue.
If you are a gout sufferer, it’s essential to exercise. Inactivity will make you less flexible, weaken your joints and muscles, and encourage bone loss. In contrast, exercise will help to prevent gout from occurring and lessen the frequency of gout attacks if you are already a sufferer. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who ran five miles per day had a 50% less chance of developing gout than inactive men.
Don’t do strenuous exercise during a gout flare-up; wait until the attack is over and then get back to exercising gradually. Work through your joint flares by doing only range-of-motion exercises or exercising in water to cushion your joints.
Don’t Overdo the Exercise at First
If you’ve been sitting on your couch for a long time, ease yourself into exercise gradually. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can overwork your muscles and make your joint pain worse. And, because any type of exercise involves your feet and ankles, you might want to have them assessed by a podiatrist before commencing an exercise regimen.
Are You Suffering With Arthritis in the Caldwell or Meridian, Idaho Area?
If you're suffering with arthritis you owe it to yourself to speak with our experienced podiatrists as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 208.855.5955 to schedule your appointment. We service all areas surrounding Meridian, Idaho as well as all areas in the Caldwell, Idaho area. We look forward to helping you!