If you are like the one in four American adults who suffer from arthritis symptoms, you are looking for options for managing the day to day aches and pains and often debilitating loss of mobility. Fortunately, there are many things you can do that, when combined with physical therapy, can improve your strength, increase your flexibility and help you manage your arthritis symptoms. While these tips are helpful, they work best when paired with professional treatment, call us today to learn how we can help you live pain-free!
Since many arthritis symptoms are exacerbated by obesity, weight loss is one of the most effective ways to manage those symptoms without medication. Increased body weight not only adds excessive load to joints, especially those in the lower body, but more recent research has indicated that obesity and being overweight can increase systemic inflammation with can contribute to chronic pain such as that from arthritis.
Regardless of what advertisements claim or what your friends may say, you probably do not need expensive shoes or inserts, especially not custom-made orthotics that can cost hundreds of dollars. For arthritis of the knee, a simple over-the-counter heel wedge can help change the load distribution in part of the joint and may reduce pain. Sometimes, more cushioned footwear can be more comfortable for people with foot or knee pain, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need “arch support.”
Unless you have a true structural issue where your natural arch has “collapsed” (more common in very overweight individuals with other health issues such as diabetes), the arch of the foot IS the support. A flat shoe will enable your feet to work as they are intended and they will get stronger and more supportive as a result. This process may take time, and your physical therapist can help with this transition if it is something new to you.
Movement and Exercise
As tempting as it is to “rest” when you are uncomfortable, there is nothing better for managing arthritis than moving frequently on a regular basis. However, many people are reluctant to begin an exercise program with arthritis for fear of injuring themselves. Physical therapy can not only help you discover the exercise program that is right for your condition, it can provide you with a long-term solution to your arthritis symptoms. Your physical therapist will work with you to implement a movement and exercise program that works for you and fits your lifestyle.
Arthritis should not stop you from living the life you deserve. The combination of physical therapy, regular exercise, and a weight loss program, if necessary, can help you manage your day-to-day discomfort for the rest of your life. Contact Virginia Center for Spine and Sport today to get started on your personalized physical therapy program and start enjoying a symptom-free life!