Targeted Strengthening And Stretching Is Key
When you have arthritis, your surrounding soft tissues tendons, ligaments, and muscles can become tense, which exacerbates the problem, which is why we recommend stretching exercises.
You should combine stretching with strengthening exercises to take some of the pressure off your joints by beefing up the muscles to better support your feet and ankles.
To accomplish both, we recommend:
- Calf stretches
- Toe extensions simply pull your toes backward and forward
- Alphabet exercise write out each letter of the alphabet with each foot
- Toe curls use your toes to scrunch a towel
These are only a few examples, and we can supply you with a full list at your consultation at our offices. We also recommend that you engage in a practice like yoga, which does wonders for both strengthening and flexibility in your joints, including those in your feet and ankles.
If youd like more ideas about how to exercise safely with arthritis, please schedule an appointment with our podiatric experts at one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Murfreesboro or Lebanon, Tennessee. Simply click here to get started.
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Should I Avoid Certain Types Of Exercise If I Have Arthritis
For arthritis that affects the joints, running, jogging, jumping rope, high impact aerobics or any other exercise where both feet are off the ground at the same time are to be avoided.
Hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, is a new exercise trend. People with arthritis should check with their personal physician before embarking on this type of yoga. Because heat can cause swelling, people with arthritis might want to avoid hot yoga.
What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to have knee replacement surgery
Reasons not to have knee replacement surgery
I want to be able to do low-impact activities, such as swimming and golf, as well as chores and housework.
My knee doesn’t really get in the way of the physical activities I like or need to do.
I have more bad days than good.
I have more good days than bad.
I’m not worried about the chance of needing another replacement surgery later in life.
I’m worried about needing another surgery later in life.
I’m ready and willing to do several weeks of physiotherapy after the surgery.
I don’t want, or I won’t be able, to have several weeks of physiotherapy.
I know that problems sometimes occur with surgery, but getting pain relief and getting back some use of my knee is worth the risk.
I’m very worried about problems from surgery.
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Exercises For Arthritis Patients
Low-impact exercises that improve balance, boost strength, and increase flexibility are excellent for people with arthritis. Types of exercises that can benefit people with arthritis include the following:
- Strength training
If you dont know where to start, or if youre not used to exercising, a good exercise to start with is walking. Walking is a low-impact activity, and nearly anyone can do it regardless of their fitness level. Furthermore, its not only good for your joints, but its also good for your heart.
Aim to start walking at least 150 minutes a week. Thats 30 minutes a day for five days. Of course, you can walk more on some days and less on others, but the most important factor is that you get moving.
We want you to live life to the fullest! But, before you start any new exercise regimen, be sure to talk with your doctor first, especially if youre injured or have limited mobility.
Together, we can help you manage your arthritis and thrive. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.
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Forget The No Pain No Gain Concept
This old-school coach advice may work for hardcore athletes, but its not appropriate for someone with arthritis, Calabrese says. If you try an exercise and it causes your condition to flare up, stop doing it. Then be open and honest with your doctor and physical therapist about what causes your pain. Sometimes a simple correction in form or an alternative exercise will do the trick.
In other words, respect your pain but also respect your arthritis, he adds. If you exercise properly, you can improve both. But remember, not exercising at all can have even more detrimental effects on your arthritis and your health. Any way you can get moving youll want make sure you do your best to make that happen. But a scheduled, routine workout that follows all of these guidelines is always recommended.
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Treatments For Arthritis In The Ankle
Ankle arthritis doesnt have a cure. But many treatments are available that may help relieve pain and improve function.
The goal with these treatments is to help patients function and do their daily activities with less pain, says Narandra Bethina, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center and assistant professor at the Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington. This can also result in better quality of life.
Role Of Exercise In Arthritis Management
by Susan Bartlett, Ph.D.
The physiological benefits of exercise are well documented and include reduced risks of:
- coronary artery disease
- colon cancer
Physical activity is essential to optimizing both physical and mental health and can play a vital role in the management of arthritis. Regular physical activity can keep the muscles around affected joints strong, decrease bone loss and may help control joint swelling and pain. Regular activity replenishes lubrication to the cartilage of the joint and reduces stiffness and pain. Exercise also helps to enhance energy and stamina by decreasing fatigue and improving sleep. Exercise can enhance weight loss and promote long-term weight management in those with arthritis who are overweight.
Exercise may offer additional benefits to improving or modifying arthritis. As Dr. Steven Blair, Exercise Epidemiologist and Director of Epidemiology at the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas TX notes Skeletal muscle is the largest organ in the body and is intricately tied with protein turnover and synthesis and many other metabolic and biochemical functions. Activating skeletal muscle has many important health benefits we are only beginning to understand.
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Avoiding Or Delaying Hip Replacement With Exercise
Exercise is also a good way for people with mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis to avoid hip, research shows.
A study, published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases in 2013, found that people who participated in an exercise program for one hour at least twice a week for 12 weeks were 44 percent less likely to need hip replacement surgery six years later.
Also, those who exercised had better flexibility and were better able to perform physical activities compared with those who did not exercise. The exercise group also had less progression of joint disease compared to those who did not exercise, whether or not they had surgery.
Bottom line: Those who exercise have less pain than those who do not. . They also retain their ability to function when they exercise regularly.
Best Exercises For Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
For people with rheumatoid arthritis , exercise can be hugely beneficial for relieving pain and joint stiffness.
People with RA who exercise may find that they have less pain than those who do not. Exercise can reduce painful symptoms, improve joint function and flexibility, increase range of motion, and boost mood.
It is best to seek medical advice before starting any exercise program and work with a doctor and a physical therapist to develop a tailored exercise plan.
The following types of exercise may help relieve the pain, joint stiffness, and other symptoms that RA can cause:
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Flowing Movements Such As Tai Chi And Yoga
A of participants with RA who had done group tai chi suggested that tai chi could reduce anxiety and depression while increasing self-motivation and self-esteem.
The participants did tai chi twice a week for 12 weeks.
A 2013 study of women with RA who did Iyengar yoga suggests that this exercise had mood, fatigue, and pain disability benefits. The participants did yoga twice a week for six weeks.
It is possible to find free online videos or apps like Gaia for tai chi or yoga workouts, including some yoga workouts specifically for people with RA. A person should always talk to their doctor before starting a yoga or tai chi practice.
Exercise Is Good Not Bad For Arthritis
- By Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
When pain strikes, its human nature to avoid doing things that aggravate it. Thats certainly the case for people with arthritis, many of whom tend to avoid exercise when a hip, knee, ankle or other joint hurts. Although that strategy seems to make sense, it may harm more than help.
Taking a walk on most days of the week can actually ease arthritis pain and improve other symptoms. Its also good for the heart, brain, and every other part of the body.
A national survey conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that more than half of people with arthritis didnt walk at all for exercise, and 66% stepped out for less than 90 minutes a week. Only 23% meet the current recommendation for activitywalking for at least 150 minutes a week. Delaware had the highest percentage of regular walkers while Louisiana had the lowest . When the CDC tallied walking for less than 90 minutes a week, Tennessee led the list, with 76% not walking that much per week, compared to 59% in the District of Columbia.
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Think You Shouldnt Exercise Because It Could Make Your Arthritis Symptoms Worse Most Of The Time Thats Just Not The Case
Exercise is a mainstay part of managing arthritis. This is true whether you have osteoarthritis, a kind of wear-and-tear on your joints, or inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid or psoriatic, which occurs because your immune system is attacking your joints and causing systemic inflammation.
But a majority of arthritis patients said they have not increased the amount they exercise since being diagnosed, according to the results of our latest ArthritisPower Community Poll. We asked people if theyve started exercising more after being diagnosed with arthritis out of 640 respondents, 59 percent said no. Only 41 percent said yes.
Now, there are many reasons people with different kinds of arthritis may avoid exercising or increasing their physical activity levels, but its important to debunk and clarify a myth behind one of the big ones: the belief that exercise can exacerbate or worsen your disease.
One of the biggest misconceptions about arthritis and exercise is people think, Well, its not good for me, says exercise physiologist Lynn Millar, PT, PhD, FACSM, department chair of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University. I like to harp on the fact that exercise is one of the key treatments for arthritis. It will not make it worse. It will make it better.
But the most important thing is understanding that exercise, even if its very gentle and low-key, should be part of your arthritis treatment along with the medications you take to manage your disease.
How Does Exercise Improve Knee Pain Due To Arthritis
The answer to this is much more complicated than you may think. We feel pain in our joints for many reasons. Osteoarthritis of the knee is an inflammatory process. We have proteins and chemicals in our knee joint that our body produces. There are many of these such chemicals. In sedentary individuals who have the fluid in their knee tested and compared to those of us who are active, we start to see significant differences in the make-up of the chemical milieu that is in our knee joint. For example IL-10 is an anti-inflammatory that our own body manufactures inside our knee joint. After exercise, either resistance exercise or aerobic exercise, the concentration of IL-10 increases.
The concentration of IL-6, a pro-inflammatory mediator, increases with sedentary behavior. For those of you who have arthritis, you knew this already. You know how the first few steps you take in the mornings are tough, youre stiff, and your knee joint hurts. Well, you have been sedentary, so pro-inflammatory mediators have built up. Now you start walking, and your joints begin to loosen up and feel better. Thats because your anti-inflammatory mediators are beginning to be manufactured.
Starting A Water Exercise Program
Venues that may run warm water exercise classes include:
- recreation centres
- retirement villages.
Things you can do before you choose a class include:
- Talk with your doctor, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist about the class and whether its right for you.
- Contact the various fitness and recreation centres in your local area to find out what sort of warm water classes are on offer. Ask them about the qualifications of the person running the classes.
- Check out the venue to see if its suitable for you. For example, is the pool easy to access? Are the change rooms accessible and comfortable? Is the venue close enough for you to go to regularly?
- Before choosing a class, make sure its appropriate to your level of fitness and ability.
- If you like, watch a class or two from the sidelines before joining.
Another option is to use the pool facilities and a water exercise program that has been designed for you by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist and exercise on your own. You could do this instead of, or as well as, joining a class.
There are many different options available so that you can exercise in water and get the associated health benefits.
Stabilizes The Immune System
Exercise strengthens and stabilizes the immune system, a major benefit for people with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints. Exercise can help people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis manage their condition. In fact, studies show that people with rheumatoid arthritis who are active can have a milder course of the disease.
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Assessing Readiness To Exercise
Psychological readiness to begin exercising is also an important consideration. Theories of behavior change suggest that people vary widely in their readiness to adopt new behaviors. Up to 40% of individuals may be in the precontemplative stage where they remain essentially unaware of the problem and have not yet thought about change. For these individuals, realistic goals for exercise counseling are to increase awareness of the importance of physical activity and to personalize information about the benefits that can be anticipated.
For those who express a willingness to be more active, a medical history and physical exam is advised. Specifically, the evaluation should assess the severity and extent of joint involvement, overall level of cardiovascular conditioning and presence of other comorbid conditions.
In the book titled ACSMs Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities, The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following exercise testing program for individuals with arthritis:
- Muscle strength and endurance
- Joint flexibility and range of motion
- Neuromuscular fitness, including gait analysis and need for orthotics
- Functional capacity to accomplish activities of daily living
What Types Of Exercise Should You Do For Knee Arthritis
If you have knee arthritis, the best exercises you can do are aerobic, balance and resistance exercise. Aerobic exercise for knee arthritis can be as simple as walking. You do not need to walk 10,000 steps a day. Walking is often tolerated well by people with mild or moderate knee arthritis. If walking is too bothersome, then try an elliptical machine or an exercise bicycle.
Balance training is critical. People with knee arthritis often feel as if they are going to fall. That feeling can be due to pain, or it can be due to a loss of balance. We need to train balance just like we need to train muscles. Simply standing in the kitchen, lightly hold the counter, and lift one leg in the air. Do you feel stable? If not, continue to support yourself by holding onto the counter. Once you feel secure, you can let go of the counter. You should be able to stand with one leg in the air for 15-30 seconds without having to put your other foot back down. Now repeat this with the other leg.
Working with a professional such as a Physical Therapist or Athletic Trainer is also important. They can assess you and provide you with a set of knee arthritis exercises that you can then do on your own once you learn the proper form.
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Finding The Right Exercise For Yourself
Beyond finding the time and committing to exercise, its also important to find activities you enjoy, so youll be motivated to do them regularly. While your mobility may be more limited than before you had RA, you can still find fun ways to stay active. Consider walking in nature, trying a swim class, or taking a sturdy bike for a spin on a nice day.
If youre looking to start exercising, be sure to talk to your doctor first. With the right guidance, exercise can be an invaluable part of an effective RA treatment plan.
Additional reporting by Erica Patino