Foot Care – Use it or lose it

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By Anthony Allen, Certified Pedorthist

People ask if there are any secrets to enjoying your “golden years.” The secrets are mostly a great attitude, sensible decisions, understanding what changes your body goes through as you age and what limitations you may have occurred because of your younger lifestyle.

Our bodies were made to move. Have you heard that saying “use it or lose it?” It’s all too true. Without activity to keep your body physically strong and limber you can stiffen up. Joints can accumulate arthritic conditions and muscles can become tight. You also may build up fat and lose muscle if you let yourself go too long without some healthy movement. The beautiful thing about Green Valley is there are a ton of places to exercise and enjoy yourself without even knowing that you’re giving yourself a workout.

Do what you enjoy for starters. Three times a week take a 30 minute walk, hike, enjoy nature or play a few rounds of golf. Locally there are tennis and racquetball courts and swimming pools. Local physical fitness trainers can create a workout regimen that is just right for you.

Our bodies were not designed to lift loads over and over again to build muscle, or to run miles every day. You may look great but, over the years, you could wear out your body in a way that is beyond repair.

Originally being hunter/gatherers, we are designed to be walkers and sprint for short distances. Swimming and walking are some of the best forms of low stress muscle toning and fat burning activities. These exercises can also strengthen your heart and lungs and even lower cholesterol.

As we age, our joints sometimes do not work in tandem with all the connective tissues that hold them together. Ligaments and collagen fibers lose elasticity and strength. And, as we age, or alignment changes as well. They may have changed from a simple or serious injury when you were younger such as a car accident or falling off a swing or bike.

Every body changes with age. It can start at your foundation. Like being right or left-handed, sometimes you favor one side of your body more than the other. If one arch in the foot tends to be ahead in the race of breaking down, they can make one ankle fall a little more inward. This in turn can cause your leg to internally rotate, which can cause Shin, calf muscle problems and knee pain.

If one ankle is more fallen than the other, chances are that it will drop down one side of your hip and can affect your lower back. You may have developed a little lower back pain or discomfort if you walk or stand too long. In worse situations, you may have developed something more serious like bulging or herniated discs creating a lot of damage to the nerves.

The bottom line is that your feet have a lot to do with how you feel. There is a popular saying, “if your feet, you hurt all over.” We walk on flat, hard surfaces, and there is little support in your shoes – it’s mostly just cushion. Sometimes you may just need to fill the gap between your arches in your shoes. There are a range of over the counter supports at local stores were specials can evaluate and help identify the problems. He or she can then make custom orthotics or part arches in your shoes. These people take special training and are called certified Pedorthists.

Properly supporting your foundation can start a realignment process that can help take away pain from your feet, ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders and even your neck. As we age we lose balance and start to slouch forward. Custom orthotics improve balance and stability and help improve posture. With these, you can go out, exercise and be comfortable at the same time, all while preventing further injury.

There is a big range of doctors and medical professionals who will work together to help you get better and stay better.

After realigning your foundation, a good chiropractor can help to adjust your body so that, as it changes, it doesn’t create much discomfort through the realignment process. Simply put, you move one bone in your body and it will slightly or greatly change the position of another bone or two.

Your body may need some help to get started if you haven’t worked out for a long time or if you have become badly misaligned and are in constant pain.

Doctors can lessen your pain by prescribing medications or referring you to another medical professional. Green Valley is home to physical therapist, massage therapists, and nutritional specialist and many others. There are orthopedic specialists (knees, hips, acts and shoulders), podiatrists for feet and lower extremities and are all just for nerve problems.

If you need help, go see one of them. Then, go out and have fun.