May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Although there are many kinds of arthritis (over 100 according to the Arthritis Foundation), one that we see more frequently at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM is osteoarthritis. Known as “wear and tear” arthritis or degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis occurs as a result of the gradual cartilage break down that occurs as we age. Osteoarthritis can make walking, standing and bending very painful.
Signs of osteoarthritis in your foot or ankle include pain in the joint, stiffness and swelling. Bone spurs may also develop as a result of this condition. Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco will examine your foot and may order x-rays to rule out other possible foot and ankle disorders.
Get Moving to Get Relief
If you have a confirmed diagnosis of osteoarthritis, although it may sound counterintuitive, exercise and movement of the affected areas can be a pathway to pain relief and increased range of motion. Actually, exercise is considered the best non-medication treatment for osteoarthritis. There are several different types of exercise which are all beneficial to patients with osteoarthritis. These include:
- Aerobic/Endurance—this is the type of exercise that really gets your heart rate up. It works your heart and lungs, burns calories and increases stamina. Aerobic exercise can also help keep your weight under control which means less pressure on painful feet and ankle joints. Good examples of aerobic exercise are swimming, bicycling, walking or an elliptical.
- Flexibility—easy stretching and motion that move a joint through its entire span are excellent for increasing range of motion and maintaining your joints ability to move easily and flexibly.
- Strengthening—it’s important to engage in exercise that builds and maintains muscle strength because muscles support and protect arthritic joints.
If you have questions about the best type or amount of exercise you should be doing, contact our Somers Point office for a consultation by calling: (609) 927-4894.