Foot pain affects nearly one in five people throughout their lifetime. It can be associated with increased age, female gender, obesity, and pain in other body regions, and has a significant negative impact on health-related quality of life. Painful feet can lead to an overall decrease in general activity, which can create joint stiffness, muscle weakness, and increased risk of injuries.
Joint pain can seem like it comes on at random, with no specific injury, but Joint pain doesn’t begin for no reason. The body doesn’t initiate inflammation without a cause, whether it’s a systemic illness such as lupus, or joint changes like a meniscus tear or muscle sprain. Truthfully, we just don’t pay attention to our bodies well enough (in my opinion). We cast off a stiff neck to sleeping in a bad position, or low back pain to picking something up awkwardly. Understanding your joints, muscles and the pains we get when we are active (or not active)is instrumental in knowing what your body needs when we are in pain. Knowing if our joints need to move and stretch, or rest and recover is an integral part in our joint health now and in the future. Admitting to ourselves that we aren’t always the best to our bodies goes a long way in understanding our joints, our body’s response to activity, food, smoking and inactivity.
Running is great for our muscles, joints and cardiovascular health. Yet the repetitive nature of running can become irritating on our knees. In fact, knee injuries are incredibly common, accounting for up to 50% of all running injuries.
Knee pain with running can show up in many different locations. Pain around the knee cap (patella) is often referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome or Runner’s Knee. Pain on the outside of the knee that also has a snapping sensation could be Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB syndrome).
Spinal stenosis is a slow and progressive narrowing of the space where the spinal cord is located. Often this begins without any symptoms and therefore people often don’t even know that its occurring, unless symptoms begin or an x-ray is taken. This narrowing is most often found in adults that are greater than 50 years old. Spinal stenosis is generally caused by normal wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis. Symptoms are variable and can range from nothing at all, to having a significant impact of daily life.
Joint health as we age is often not considered until pain starts somewhere or stiffness at a joint. We are too busy with work, kids the schedule to realize our body is changing inside, muscles could be stiffening slowly losing flexibility. Our bones could be losing cells quicker than our body is replenishing them, silently leading to osteoporosis. These changes happen throughout our lifespan, a daily internal working we rarely consider until it limits something we want to do, like hike, play sports, or run.
Osteoarthritis is a very common joint disease affecting the joint cartilage that is between the bones. Pain and stiffness in and around the joint and also swelling are common symptoms with osteoarthritis. Commonly people will report more pain and stiffness as the storm is approaching, rather than when the storm is actually present. Researchers relate this phenomenon to the barometric pressure change that occurs when a storm is rolling into an area. So what in our joints are telling us a storm is coming and what can we do?
Ever put on a shirt and feel a crunch in your shoulder or even worse a really sharp pain? that crunch was most likely your humeral head (the round top part of your arm bone) and your acromion (the top of the shoulder you can feel) coming too close together and rubbing against each other. It use to be called impingement, but now it’s more often referred to as subacromial pain syndrome – big words to say the space between your humeral head and acromion are inflamed, causing you pain, and maybe shoulder stiffness.
Foot and ankle pain can be a minor short-term nuisance to a long-term chronic issue. The foot and ankle are a complex set of joints, that are made up of several bones, ligaments, and tendons that tolerate the full weight of the body while moving through motions and balance to control walking, running, stairs, hills, and any time we are standing on our feet.
Common symptoms of foot or ankle injuries include swelling, tenderness, stiffness, or bruising in the affected area, as well as difficulty standing or walking.
Understanding the different structures of the ankle, possible causes of injury, and ways to manage the pain is key to knowing what you can do, when you need medical help or different shoes or treatment.
Walking has many benefits to your joints, muscles, heart length, and overall maintenance of your function. Walking for exercises is one of the best activities we can do to help ourselves stay strong and mobile. Proper technique is important to maintain proper technique, posture, and joint health. When the joints feel good and your muscles feel strong you will continue to walk for exercise. According to the CDC, walking for 30 minutes a day or more on most days of the week is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. If you can’t manage 30 minutes a day, remember ‘even a little is good, but more is better’, so break it up into 3 10minute walks.