At Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers, we see firsthand in our Macomb County patients the effect joint diseases have on the feet—after all, each of them has 33 joints that enable you to stand, walk, run, jump and accomplish many daily tasks. Contrary to popular belief, arthritis isn’t a single disease. That term actually refers to over 100 conditions. Regardless of the type or cause, however, most arthritic conditions share some common factors:
• Joint pain
• Redness around the joint
• Limited range of motion
The tips below can help slow the progression of arthritis and may even lower your risk of developing it in the first place.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
The joints in your feet and ankles sustain more strain and work harder to carry excess weight. When trying to lose weight, you are happy with each pound you lose, but your lower extremities are 3 to 5 times happier. That’s because each pound you take off (or put on) decreases (or increases) the stress on your knees, ankles, and feet by 3 to 5 pounds. You may notice a big difference if you’re overweight, even with a small loss.
Engage in a Regular and Varied Exercise Plan
If you already have arthritis, exercise is one of the best ways to manage your symptoms. As a preventive action, it helps keep joints flexible, increases range of motion, and aids in weight management. The trick is picking activities that you will likely stick with. Aim for a mix of aerobic, weight-bearing, and muscle-strengthening exercises. Compensate for painful joints by choosing water sports, cycling, or other easy fitness activities for your joints—buddy up with a partner for added incentive and accountability. Don’t you think you’re ready for a regular exercise program? Try to build more movement into your day with extra steps around the store, pacing while talking on the phone, or leg lifts at the sink.
Patients with arthritis or any chronic disease are likely to be stressed. Unfortunately, however, stress can make arthritis symptoms worse. Be sure to have and use a good support system of friends, family, and others who share your illness. Aim for eight hours of sleep every night and develop outlets such as hobbies, fitness activities, and helping others to increase emotional well-being.
If you have concerns about arthritis and your feet, contact our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140, and Warren (586) 756-3338 offices and talk to our podiatrists, Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw, and Dr. McKenna Green.