Some things in life fly in the face of expectations, especially when it comes to language. A boxing ring is square. We park on driveways and drive on parkways. Pineapples are neither pine nor apples. Even the word “arthritis” is a bit counterintuitive. Most people think it’s a single condition, but there are actually many different types of arthritis.
The common thread between arthritic conditions is joint pain and inflammation. There are various treatment options to address arthritis in feet and ankles—and, with 66 joints between the both of them, there's plenty of opportunity for arthritis to develop in the lower limbs—and exercise is one of them.
This leads us to something you might not expect to hear – exercising with arthritis can be quite beneficial in managing the condition. It may seem strange to consider that moving more when it hurts to move is at all helpful, but exercise is ranked only behind medication when it comes to nonsurgical treatment options for dealing with arthritic pain.
We understand that to exercise with arthritis could seem like a daunting task, but even a moderate level of activity is proven to ease your pain, increase joint mobility, and help you maintain a healthy weight. There are various workouts that can be beneficial, including range-of-motion, strengthening, and aerobic exercises. The key is simply to move—and not “start running marathons” or “lift weights like an Olympian”—because any movement can help your condition.
It is important to note that the first step you need to take when beginning an exercise program is to consult with Parker Foot & Ankle (along with your primary care physician) and determine what works best for you and your unique circumstances!
If arthritis has held you back from being active, you will want to start out your arthritis exercise program slowly and gradually build up the duration and intensity of your workout sessions. As you do this, it is essential that you stay aware and listen to your body. If you have a flare-up, rest 2 to 3 days before resuming activity. There is no need to unnecessarily push through pain, so take the time to recover.
It's also important to keep in mind that this is only one possible component of arthritis treatment. We may prescribe medication or other conservative treatment options in addition to exercise. If the condition is severe and causing you lots of pain and discomfort—or taking away your ability to move—we may recommend surgery. That is generally considered to be a last resort and we try to avoid it as much as possible.
If you have any questions, or need help developing your own arthritis exercise plan, Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX is here for you. Call us at (281) 497-2850 and make an appointment to begin opening new opportunities for you today!