Arthritis is the name of a category of over 100 diseases that can affect your joints. Pain and inflammation in the joints of your toes, feet and ankles can be particularly debilitating since your feet carry the weight of your entire body. In honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month, we at Texas Foot Specialists would like to offer the following tips to help keep your foot joints healthy:
- Give up high heels: Did you know that a 3-inch heel puts 7 times more stress on your foot than a 1-inch heel? Not only will wearing low heels protect your joints, it will help you avoid many other harmful foot conditions.
- Belly up to the bar—the salad bar, that is: Many calcium-rich leafy greens and vegetables can help improve bone strength and fight inflammation. Fill your plate with kale, spinach, bibb lettuce, parsley, colorful peppers and other veggies. Eating more vegetables is also part of a balanced diet that can help you maintain a healthy weight, another way to reduce the stress on the joints of your feet.
- Keep it moving: Being in one position for a long time is not good for your joints. If your job involves long periods of standing, take breaks and put your feet up every few hours. If you are mostly sitting all day, get up every half hour or so and stretch or take a quick walk around your office. Try pacing while you make a phone call.
- Go jump in a lake (or pool): Swimming and other aquatic exercises give you all the benefits of aerobic and strength training exercise without any stress on your joints. Fitness activities that improve flexibility and range of motion benefit your joints.
As with most foot disorders, early detection of arthritis is when the optimal treatment plan can be devised to increase comfort and slow the progression of joint disease. If you have noticed pain or swelling in any of the joints of your feet or ankles, contact our Pasadena, Sugar Land or Houston office and allow one of our podiatrists, Dr. Bruce Miller or Dr. Gregory Mangum, to evaluate your condition.