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September 2015

Monthly Archives

Staying Active with Arthritis

If you’re living with the daily stiffness and pain of arthritis, exercising is probably the last thing you feel like doing. However, if you have arthritis, getting regular exercise is critical as it reduces joint pain, increases strength and flexibility, reduces fatigue and helps you maintain a healthy weight. If you join a group exercise class or take up a low impact sport with a friend, exercise will also improve your social life.

Depending on your personal situation and interests, there are dozens of different activities you can participate in to ease the effects of arthritis. Speak to friends and visit your local community centre to determine which activities are in your area. Chores like vacuuming, gardening and walking are great exercise too – you don’t need to enrol in an organized activity. Just remember, before starting a new activity or intensifying the frequency of an existing one, speak with your doctor to make sure the activity is right for you.

To provide maximum benefit and decrease your pain, you need to include an assortment of range of motion, strength and endurance activities in your weekly exercise program. Range of motion or stretching exercises ease stiffness, improve balance and strength and help keep your joints flexible. If arthritis is affecting your lower limbs and impacting your mobility, consult your healthcare provider or a fitness expert about stretches that will help such as hip, knee and ankle bends, leg lifts, and toe spreads.

Strengthening exercises help to make your muscles and surrounding tissue stronger which helps to decrease stress on your joints and support your bones. There are lots of strengthening exercises to choose from including gardening, hiking, cycling, yoga, tai chi and climbing stairs.

Endurances exercises strengthen your heart and lungs which will improve your cardiovascular health and increase your energy levels. Brisk walking, swimming, jogging, dancing and tennis are just some of the endurance activities you can choose from.

When you are living with arthritis exercise helps to increase your mobility. However, you need to build up your activity levels gradually and rest when you experience pain. If arthritis is affecting your feet or lower limbs, wearing supportive, orthopaedic footwear for all of your activities is critical to maintain your comfort, protect your feet and improve your balance. Speak to your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist about your personal exercise program and he/she will recommend and professionally fit the footwear that is best for you.

By Anthony Harper, C. Ped (C), Burlington, Ontario

Head back to school with proper shoes

As the summer holidays draw to an end and your child begins to prepare to head back to the classroom make sure you put shoe shopping on your back to school “to do” list. Properly fitted, supportive school shoes play a vital role in the healthy development of your child’s feet and lower limbs so it’s important to spend time selecting the best pair for your child’s needs and foot type.

Whether your child has strong fashion views and a clear sense of the shoes they want, or despises shopping and resists all trips to the mall, set some ground rules before you depart for the shoe store and don’t back down when you arrive.

As children’s feet are still developing and they wear their school shoes all day every day, purchasing shoes that fit properly are essential. Have your child’s feet measured to determine the correct size and then check there is half a thumb’s width of space when they put the shoes on. Different shoe brands and styles fit differently so feeling how your child’s foot fits in each shoe is essential. Although it is tempting to buy shoes that your child will grow into it is not advisable as shoes that are too big provide a sloppy fit and poor support which may aggravate, or even cause foot problems.

Laces or another type of adjustable closure help create a snug fit, ensuring the shoes provide your child’s feet and lower limbs with the support they need. When shoe shopping look for closures that are best for your child. If your child isn’t comfortable tying laces or is unlikely to take the time to make sure they are tied properly, select shoes with adjustable Velcro closures.

During recess and lunch, children like to run and play so a pair of sturdy running shoes are by far the best choice for school. There are numerous styles and colours of children’s running shoes available today to accommodate all young preferences. Although you will want to take into account your child’s colour and style taste, make sure you only buy shoes that feel comfortable the first time your child tries them on. Shoes do not stretch and mould to feet over time so if the running shoes are too tight or rub in any way, they are not the right pair for your child.

Well-fitting, supportive shoes will let your child’s feet develop naturally and help prevent long term foot problems that may slow them down in later years. If your child is reluctant to buy running shoes that are best for their development, strike a compromise. Buy a pair of sturdy, supportive shoes for school days and a fashionable, flimsy pair for special occasions.

By Shawn Duench, C. Ped (C), Waterloo, Ontario