With winter settled in and cold temperatures the norm throughout the Cincinnati region, it can be tough to find the energy or motivation to get exercising. That can be doubly true if you suffer from arthritis in your feet or ankles, since the stiffness and swelling can make it difficult and even painful to do too much activity.
However, it’s important to persevere! Exercising with arthritis might not sound like much fun, but it’s essential for managing your condition. In fact, not exercising can actually make the problem worse. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much. We don’t need you to run a marathon! Just a little bit of flexibility and strength training can keep your joints and ligaments limber and strengthen muscles and bones, relieving pain and protecting the joint from future damage. Plus, it’ll help you manage your weight (which minimizes stress on the feet), build your energy and endurance, and make you feel better physically and mentally.
Range-of-motion exercises, such as gently rolling your ankle or moving your big toe up and down through its full range, can minimize stiffness and rebuild your ability to move your joints. These simple exercises can be performed every day, even while you watch TV. Strength-training exercise, such as weight training or using resistance bands, can be performed 2-3 times per week and emboldens muscles and bones, making them more resistance to wear and tear and a better defense against injury.
We know it can be difficult to do cardio with stiff or painful feet, but good aerobic exercise is still necessary to improve endurance, stamina, and heart health, as well as manage your weight. To avoid joint pain, try low-impact exercises that don’t pound your feet so much. Try walking instead of running, or go for a swim or a bike ride. Just half an hour, three times per week will provide a huge boost.
Exercising with arthritis does not have to be painful, but if you do start to feel discomfort, listen to your body and take a break. If you are struggling, Family Foot and Ankle Center can help. Whether you need a steroid injection, a custom orthotic, or just some good advice about shoes to wear or activities to try, drop us a line and set up an appointment. You can reach us through this website, or by dialing (513) 728-4800 in Ohio, or (859) 282-1572 in Kentucky.