Try Exercising to Manage Arthritis Pain

Watch professional golfers at Rancho Mirage!If you’re a sports fan, it’s good to be here in Coachella Valley! Now that we’ve said goodbye to the world’s best male and female tennis players, we’re ready to welcome the world’s best women golfers at the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration major tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage. If you plan to walk the course with the golfers, though, you’ll need strong feet free from tough arthritis pain.

Exercise is a great choice for sufferers of arthritis—strengthening the supporting muscles and ligaments and flexing those joints to improve range of motion can really help reduce pain and keep you active and healthy for longer. Fortunately, making smart choices about the types of shoes you wear, and the types of activities you pursue, can make a big difference.

So what exercises should you try? For foot and ankle arthritis, we recommend some simple stretches that help strengthen the muscles and ligaments supporting and protecting your joints, as well as range-of-motion exercises to improve joint flexibility. Stretches that involve your Achilles tendon, the balls of your feet, and your toes can be especially helpful. Achilles stretches are simple enough, but to target those hard-to-reach spots toward the front of your foot, try grasping a towel with your toes, or rolling a ball or cylinder (like a soup can) under your arch while you sit. Even just wiggling your toes during a commercial break can make a difference.

Next, shoes. Arthritis in your feet can make hard impacts very painful, so you need your footwear to help soften the blow. Choose pairs that offer plenty of cushioning, a firm sole, and plenty of extra support for aching arches. Avoid high heels or shoes that narrow at the forefoot; instead, give your toes plenty of space with box-toed fronts. The right shoes can help you walk or jog pain-free for longer, though you should also consider mixing in some low-impact exercises (strength training, cycling, swimming, etc.) to give your feet a break. If you need help finding a pair, give us a call or visit your nearest specialty shoe store.

Lastly, remember to check in with Harvey Danciger, DPM before starting a new exercise program, or if foot pain starts to affect your quality of life. We want to be sure you’re exercising smartly and safely, and you may stand to benefit from expert assistance, including orthotics or laser therapy. Give us a call today at (760) 568 – 0108 to set up your appointment.

Photo Credit: stefanschenkon via 

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle
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