Were you aware that you have 33 joints in each of your feet? Joint disease can have a serious impact on the health of your feet. If your joints are inflamed and in pain, doing basic activities that you depend on your feet for like standing and walking can become very difficult. Before National Arthritis Awareness Month comes to an end, we at Paul Klein, DPM FACFAS, want to share some important information about this disease and how you can prevent it.
Facts About Arthritis
Arthritis is a term that actually refers to over 100 disorders that affect your joints. Consider the following:
- Nearly 53 million adults and 300,000 children and babies have arthritis
- Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the U.S.
- Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis –two major kinds of arthritis – are responsible for a combined 172 million missed workdays every year.
- There are nearly 1 million hospitalizations each year from arthritis
Exercise Can Help
You can help keep your joints healthy and improve range of motion and flexibility even if you already have arthritis through exercise. One of the best and easiest forms of weight-bearing exercise is walking. Here are some tips to get you started on a safe and healthy exercise program:
- Consult your foot doctor—before starting a new exercise program it’s always a good idea to check with your physicians. Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein can examine your feet and make sure that there are no pre-existing podiatric conditions that would impede your ability to do a walking program. The foot doctor can also make specific shoe recommendations based on your unique foot and gait.
- Get a good pair of walking shoes/sneakers—go to a store that specializes in sports shoes and have your foot professionally measured. Try on both shoes and walk around the store to make sure they are a good fit. There should be no rough spots inside the shoe that rub on your skin or tight areas that put uncomfortable pressure on your feet. Try shoes on with the socks you will wear when you walk.
- Start slowly—many injuries such as shin splints and Achilles tendonitis are caused by doing too much too soon when it comes to exercise.
- Find a friend—it’s easier to stay committed and motivated if you have a partner. Ask a friend or family member if they would like to walk 3 times a week for half an hour and then put it on the calendar.