Keep 2002 Resolutions - Safely
Will your plans to shape up for the summer include
some sort of aerobic activity? While this is a great way to lose
weight, aerobic exercise can also be detrimental to your feet if
not properly fitted with protective shoes.
Quick lateral movements combined with extended periods
of jumping can lead to injury and such exercise forces your feet
to support 3 times your body weight. Shoes with sufficient shock
absorbing cushioning are crucial for injury prevention. Aerobic
shoes must have arch designs that compensate for side-to-side motion
and supportive uppers to provide forefoot stability. Be sure the
toe box is high enough to prevent irritation of the toes and nails.
Buy shoes in the afternoon when the feet swell slightly, using the
same socks you will wear while working out. The type of shoes you
need will be determined by the type of aerobic activity you plan
on doing. Aerobic, running, walking, and spinning all require a
certain type of footwear. A good cross-trainer can often be used
for multiple aerobic activities.
Walking: Rx for Health
Melissa is a 44 year old, overweight teacher who wants
to start an exercise program and sensibly decides to have a checkup
before plunging into it.
"Doctor," she said, "I read about all
these people walking, and I don't understand. How can something
as casual as that get me in shape?"
The answer, as most serious walkers know, is that
health walking is about as closely related to walking as swimming
is to dog-paddling in a pool. There's more to it than walking to
About 97 million men and women are walking regularly,
and podiatrists are delighted.
Besides being healthy for feet and involving fewer
injuries than jogging, walking has many potential benefits - reduced
blood pressure, stress, and arthritis pain, to name a few.
Melissa is approaching her exercise goal the right
way, by realizing that a fitness program won't be any fun - much
less possible - unless her feet are in good shape. She'll get some
pointers about warm-up exercises, pacing her gradual buildup to
a regular walking routine, and another important aspect of walking
programs in which podiatric physicians specialize: proper footwear.
Walking: It's a good Rx for health.
For Therapy, turn to RICE
The most important elements of treatment for many
injuries begin with RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
If you injure your feet (or any other part of your body), RICE is
a good rule of thumb.
REST: Stop using the injured part as soon as you realize
that an injury has taken place. Use crutches to avoid bearing weight
on the injured limb and discontinue exercise or activity immediately.
ICE: Ice helps stop bleeding from injured blood vessels
and capillaries. The more blood that collects, the longer the healing
time will be. Ice can be applied by soaking in buckets of ice water
or ice packs. Ice the area for about 30 minutes. Remove for about
15 minutes and then reapply. Repeat this cycle for 3 hours.
COMPRESSION: Compression decreases swelling by slowing
bleeding and limiting the accumulation of blood in the injured area.
To apply compression safely, use and elasticized bandage (Ace bandage)
or a cloth bandage if this is not available. Wrap the injured area
firmly, over the ice. Begin wrapping below the injured site and
extend above the injured area. BE careful not to compress too tightly.
If pain, numbness, cramping, or blue nails become evident, the blood
flow is being constricted. Remove the bandage immediately and wait
for the symptoms to disappear. Then rewrap - less tightly.
ELEVATION: Elevating the injured area above the level
of the heart will decrease pain and swelling at the injury site.
Elevate the iced, compressed area in whatever way is most convenient.
Prop an injured leg on a solid object or pillows. Elevate injured
arms by lying down and placing pillows under the arm or on the chest
with the arm folded across.
If pain and swelling persist or worsens, consult your
IF THE SHOE FITS . . .Three out of four Americans complain
that their feet hurt, and little wonder. Every workday, most of
us spend a quarter of our time standing on our feet.