Friday, August 20, 2004

Get Square with Your Feet

Get Square with Your FeetFeet are the whipping boys of the body. With every mile we walk, 200,000 to 300,000 pounds of stress bears down on our tootsies, and by the time we’re 50, most of us have walked 75,000 miles. That’s a lot of action for two narrow islands of 26 bones and more than 30 joints. And yet despite the central role feet play in our lives, most of us ignore them.

Experts say orthopaedic disorders, including foot problems, are a leading cause of inactivity and disability in the United States. “Feet degenerate like tires on cars,” says Washington, D.C.-based podiatrist Arnold Ravick, a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Association. “Just like the rest of our body, our feet spread out, muscles weaken and skin thins.”

We begin to lose flexibility and elasticity, and our shock absorbers simply don’t work as well as they used to. Add arthritis, and you have a double whammy. Joints inflamed and distorted by arthritis find no comfort from a day’s pounding in ill-fitting shoes or from feet whose padding has grown thin.

If we pay attention to our feet, we can head off potential problems. If we already have arthritis, more surveillance and care taking of our feet and joints not only makes sense, it’s crucial.

by Dorothy Foltz-Gray
Arthritis Today

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