Exercise for Arthritis


Arthritis can feel like a debilitating disease. Your toes won’t bend the way you need them to without hurting, your ankle feels off sometimes, or your hip hurts with each leg rotation. And now your doctor wants you to exercise?!
Believe it or not, exercise is one of the best possible ideas for people with arthritis. Scientists and doctors have proven that arthritic patients see a significant dip in pain when they add an exercise routine to their agenda.  

Here’s how exercise can help:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Increases stamina and energy levels
  • Helps lose any extra weight
  • Produces endorphins, which make you feel happy and helps fight depression

A sedentary lifestyle, in contrast, can make your joints even stiffer and more painful. Sitting for long periods also makes your muscles tighten up. Stiff joints and muscles make any activity difficult and greatly increase the risk for more injury.

What types of arthritis affect feet?

Arthritis is one of the most common issues we see in our office. Osteoarthritis happens when your joints lose their natural cushioning from everyday wear and tear. It can strike at the base of your big toe or along any of the joints in your ankle. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation that can affect your smaller joints in your foot and ankle, which can lead to toe deformities like hammertoe or claw toe.  

Workout ideas for arthritic patients:

Here are four fabulous workouts that we recommend to many of our patients with arthritis. It’s important to check in with your podiatrist or your primary care physician before starting a new workout routine.

  1. Walking. This is a great social activity if you have a walking buddy. Pick a different trail or route every week. Keep a journal of where you’ve walked and how you feel afterwards. If you’re looking for a more strenuous walk, try a hilly path. If you want a light and easy stroll, you can find a flat route or try a local track.
  2. Water sports. Swimming or water aerobics get you moving with little impact on your body. If you have got a gym nearby with a heated pool, the Arthritis Foundation recommends warm water workouts to help sooth painful joints.
  3. Strength training. Resistance bands or free weights can help increase the strength in the muscles surrounding your joints.
  4. Tai-chi or yoga. These low-impact exercises help improve your balance and flexibility without damaging your joints.

Reach out for help!
If you have arthritis and are nervous about starting an exercise routine, our foot doctors are here to help! At Step Lively Foot and Ankle Centers, we are committed to enhancing each of our patient’s foot health. Our podiatrists achieve this through their years of experience, advanced technologies and therapies. Whether you need a diagnosis for your foot pain, or help creating custom orthotics to enhance your foot comfort and function, we are here for you! Schedule an appointment at any of our conveniently located locations in the greater Columbus area by requesting an appointment online or contacting our offices directly.

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