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5 Practical Ways to Prevent Arthritis Flare-ups

5 Practical Ways to Prevent Arthritis Flare-ups

We often think of osteoarthritis — which more than 32.5 million adults have — as affecting your hands, knees, and hips. Unfortunately, it can really do a job on your feet and ankles as well. 

It’s imperative to seek treatment for life-limiting arthritis symptoms, since your ankles and feet keep you moving through life.

The compassionate team at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers provides expert treatment if you’re suffering from arthritis-related foot and ankle discomfort, and education on prevention if you haven’t yet been badly affected. 

Our patient-centered approach means your podiatrist creates a treatment plan that’s built around your medical history, mobility goals, current symptoms, and more. 

Why does arthritis develop?

Simply, when your cartilage — the connective tissue that allows your joints to move smoothly and comfortably — wears down over time, the ends of your bones grate against each other uncomfortably, rather than glide harmoniously. 

You’re at higher risk of developing arthritis as you age, but working in fields that demand  repetitive movements and living with obesity also contribute to it. Additionally, you can have a genetic predisposition to developing arthritis, and there’s a great chance you’ll be impacted if you’re female.

The diverse symptoms of arthritis

Joint pain is the hallmark of arthritis, but it can have quite a few other unpleasant symptoms, including:

You may notice that your symptoms get worse when you’re active, and that resting your feet and ankles helps temporarily. 

Proven prevention strategies to combat arthritis flare-ups

The South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers team offers this helpful list of preventive strategies that can really make a difference in avoiding dreaded arthritis flare-ups.

1. Be aware of the pounds creeping up

Since being overweight or obese is a risk factor for arthritis, it makes sense that extra pounds exacerbate symptoms. If you need to lose weight, concentrate on eating a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits and veggies, lean proteins, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocados. 

Fitting in exercise is doable too, especially if you stick to things you like to do. Cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing all count!

2. Track your mood

Interestingly, an increase in stress or feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed may contribute to an unwelcome worsening of arthritis symptoms. 

Try to maintain a good work/life balance and devote some time to self-care that calms you. It may be a yoga class, taking up meditation, or simply spending time engaged in a hobby you love or with a friend. 

3. Watch what you’re doing

Too much repetitive motion causes flares — using a shovel to dig, walking or running long distances, or even standing for extended periods, for example. Try to balance your activities so you’re not putting undue pressure on your joints.

Take breaks, but be careful there also — too much rest can worsen symptoms, too. We know it’s hard to find a “Goldilocks” balance of activity and rest, but if you can practice “moderation in all things,” you’ll have less arthritis discomfort.

Adapt your activities to your symptoms. If it hurts too much to take that walk, take the pressure off your feet and indulge in a swim. 

4. Use your joints with care

An injury — even an old one — can stimulate an arthritis flare-up. Address any previous or current injuries with your South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers podiatrist. 

5. Be weather-aware

Did you know that exposure to too much cold can cause arthritis pain? If you’re spending time outside and it’s cold, wear warm socks and boots so your feet and ankles stay toasty, and don’t stay out too long.

In addition to following these tips, rest assured that your South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers podiatrist has an array of treatments for arthritis discomfort. 

They range from conservative treatments, such as oral pain medication, foot-friendly shoes, custom orthotics, and physical and occupational therapy, to minimally invasive treatments like corticosteroid injections and lubricating hyaluronic acid injections.

We also offer innovative regenerative treatments like stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) that harness your body’s own healing capabilities to fight arthritis symptoms. Multiwave Locked System® (MLS) laser therapy uses light therapy to encourage cell healing. 

We’re ready to relieve your foot and ankle arthritis symptoms — and get you moving well again. 

Call the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers office that’s nearest you to schedule a visit, or request an appointment online.  We’re conveniently located in Royal Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens and Belle Glade, Florida. 

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