When I had my car accident a few years ago, I broke my ankle in 5 places. For the next eighteen months, I was off my foot a good majority of the time. This gave my ankle time to heal and get intensive therapy from the injury, but over that time my foot and toes began to get stiff. Another doctor would later determine that it was osteoarthritis–an illness that affects your joints more painfully than anywhere else.
First, this illness arises when the cartilage that holds your bones together deteriorates. It may be due to a long laundry list of risk factors. Among them is joint damage. Activities such as bending on your knees, squatting, running, typing and knitting all put stress on your joints. Over time, the cartilage starts to wear away. Think of it like a car speeding each time they drive. Eventually the tires on the car would become thin pieces of rubber.
A family history of arthritis can also indicate whether or not you will encounter it. For example, if your mother or grandfather had tingling in her hands, pains within each digit or it hurt just to squeeze his or her digits into a fist, these are all signs of arthritis. In the case of my foot, I could not stand for my foot to be on the floor. Each step I took was agony.
Another risk factor is lack of exercise. Health experts constantly tell us to eat right and exercise. It turns out they know what they’re talking about here. Actively exercising helps to loosen up your joints, it could lengthen your life and it could help you beat that looming family history. But that’s not the only reason. Exercising is going to help you keep doing those hobbies you love that osteoarthritis made you give up. You should be able to still knit, for example, or go for your morning walk.
In addition, osteoarthritis is more common in those individuals that are overweight. It’s one thing to be overweight to a poor diet or lack of exercise. Yet, some medications or illnesses can make that weight gain sneak up out of nowhere. If you believe this to be the case, go to see your doctor. They can partner you with a certified nutritionist who will help you get your weight down to a healthy level. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about; if you feel uncomfortable in your body, do the hard work and feel on top of the world.
Finally, as I was going through therapy, my therapist gave me a bottle of Biofreeze to take home and try. If you have any type of arthritis, you’re going to want this in your medicine cabinet. It comes in a cool, green gel that you put on the part of your body that hurts the most. Biofreeze then starts working to freeze, or cool, that area. It takes away the painful shooting pains that come with osteoarthritis. There have been many times that I have been out somewhere and needed relief. So, I would apply this to my foot and I could regain my focus without the pain. It’s truly a lifesaver and you can get it at just about any pharmacy.
Osteoarthritis is painful and it can slow you down. But, you don’t have to give in. Don’t stop doing what you love just because you have sore joints; it’s your life–live it.
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