Our feet are our connection to the earth, our support, and really the foundation of our body! No wonder so many people have foot aches and pains!
Feet come in all sizes and shapes, but they all have 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments combined. Believe it or not, ¼ of the human body’s bones are in the feet!
We ask a lot of our feet. We stuff them into all kinds of shoes, pound on them when we walk and run, ask them to hold us up and balance our body, and bend and flex as we move.
According to the experts, dysfunction in the foot can create problems in other joints of the body, including the knee, hip, and shoulder. Ankle mobility is also a crucial factor that affects the functioning of these other joints.
Because our feet are so important, I want to touch on some of the most common issues that I have seen with clients over the years of training. I have also dealt with tendinitis in my feet in a couple of different places and know first-hand how frustrating it is to deal with a foot problem.
According to Web MD, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a band of tough connective tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. It frquently becomes irritated or inflamed. Heel pain, worst in the morning when getting out of bed, is the most common symptom. Arch pain may also be present with his condition.
Heel spurs are another cause of heel pain. These are abnormal growths of bone on the bottom of the heel bone. Causes can include an abnormal gait, posture or walking, inappropriate shoes, or certain activities. Foot pain while walking or standing is likely. Not everyone with heel spurs has foot pain. People with flat feet or high arches are more likely to have foot pain from heel spurs.
Ball of Foot Pain
Metatarsalgia causes pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot. The usual causes are strenuous activity or poorly fitting shoes.
Morton’s neuroma is thickening of the tissue around the nerve between the bases of the toes (usually between the third and fourth toes). Foot pain, odd sensations, or numbness over the ball of the foot are the usual symptoms. It is more common in women and can be a result of wearing high heels or tight shoes.
Arch pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, which can affect the heel, arch, or both.
Fallen arches — or flat feet — occurs when the arches of the feet flatten out (often when standing or walking), causing foot pain and other problems. Flat feet can be treated with shoe inserts (orthotics), shoe adjustments, rest/ice, using a walking case or brace, or physical therapy. There are some great exercises to strengthen the arches.
Arthritis, including gout, can cause pain in the toes. Gout is an inflammatory condition in which crystals periodically deposit in joints, causing severe pain and swelling. The big toe is often affected by gout.
Tendinitis is inflammation and irritation of tendons, the bands attaching muscles to bones. Tendons run along all the surfaces of the foot, and can cause foot pain in many different locations.
|Information for this article is from Web MD. Click here for more information, including recommended treatments.|
Getting Fit After Cancer: The Effects of Physical Activity
With the amount of information out there today, it’s possible that people are misinformed about what they can and can’t do with cancer. In many recent studies, physical activity has been shown to increase mood, energy and lessen the effects of cancer treatment for cancer patients, including symptoms of fatigue. It’s possible that with daily activity and exercise, a cancer patient going through even rougher treatments for mesothelioma may feel better and even resolve some of their issues with appetite and energy balance. In addition, physical activity has been shown to reduce heart disease and lessen the risk of other cancers. That’s why it’s so important to get moving even when going through cancer treatment. It can mean feeling better today, gaining more strength and eventually healing your body.
Why People Don’t Exercise with Cancer
In some cases, physical activity may be overlooked by cancer patients because they are overwhelmed with the disease and do not realize how it could actually help. It’s so important to speak with a doctor about the benefits and before beginning any exercise regimen. The National Cancer Institute-Funded studies are exploring more into the idea of physical activity as a way to survive and improve the quality of life with cancer patients. There are studies that have shown that regular physical activity can reduce the risk for breast cancer in women as well as prostate cancer in men.
What Types of Activities to Consider
There are all sorts of physical activities out there that you may enjoy. Many people just starting out with cancer treatment don’t want to get into strenuous activity, so they opt for things like yoga, light strength training, walking, and even tai chi, a form of martial arts. These are low impact exercises designed to keep the body moving and loose. There are also other activities which don’t put a lot of strain on the body such as stationary cycling, rowing machines, short jogs, swimming and light aerobic exercise.
How to Form a Cancer Fitness Plan
Getting in shape with cancer can be difficult. It starts with motivation to heal your body and a will to build your strength back. If you focus on certain aspects of your body that you want to train, then you can regain more confidence and even bring an energy balance back into your body. It’s important to realize your fitness goals early on so that you can motivate yourself and find inspiration through photos, videos and quotes that pertain to your fitness goals with cancer.
Visit Melanie’s Blog for more great articles about cancer.
You probably think I am crazy, a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, telling you to eat whatever you want! This advice could certainly backfire on me and you could gain a bunch of weight and feel like hell. On the flip side, what if you have an understanding that food nourishes your body and your soul?
If you respect your body and have a healthy relationship with it, do you think that you would regularly choose McDonald’s burger, fries, and a shake for lunch over fresh arugula salad with avocado, cherry tomatoes, and leftover grilled salmon with a bite of dark chocolate for desert? The key is “regularly or frequently”.
If you are craving that burger, shake, and fries because that is what your family had on special occasions growing up when mom didn’t have to cook, then you might check in and ask yourself if that is the real reason that you want this junk food. Are you trying to feed your soul by indulging in something that has great childhood memories? Or are you indulging in it because you want to feel good and are avoiding something unpleasant in the present?
If you are looking for that feel-good trip down memory lane in having Grandma’s favorite coffee cake for desert, then, I say go for it! If you have a healthy relationship with your body and with the food that you feed it, then, you will enjoy the coffee cake at the time, but that will be it. You won’t trigger an avalanche of unhealthy food choices. However, if your relationship with your body and food is not so healthy, then look out! You will undoubtedly have negative feelings towards your body about making this choice as well as possibly unleashing a cascade of other unhealthy food choices.
All that I ask is that you consider your motivation for eating certain foods! Where you take it from there could be a huge discovery.
This is what the Pilates teacher instructs his/her students to do during the “leg circles” exercise. Leg circles are done while lying on your back on a mat with one leg straight up towards the ceiling. The goal is to keep your pelvis and low back stable while each leg circles one at a time from the hip joint- across, down, over, and up. “Leg circles” is one of the many great Pilates exercises that require the core muscles’ stabilizing powers while another body part, often arms or legs, moves through space. The optimal breathing pattern in Pilates…..in through the nose and out through the mouth and coordination of the breath with movement contributes to the “mind-body” benefit of Pilates.
What I love about Pilates is how great I feel after a class. I feel taller, stronger, leaner, and energized! Of course, the most immediate result is that I feel so much more energized and alert after class. I walk and sit taller afterwards too. The strength benefits of Pilates are so obvious to me when I inadvertently take a week off! I feel it! Acquiring leaner and longer muscles takes a little time. How long depends on your body type and how frequently you do Pilates.
What do my clients say? “Sue Bream has a great pilates class!! Every time it reduces my hip tension and I leave with reduced knee pain. I highly recommend her classes!! ” -Andrea
Need I mention that anyone can do Pilates? There are so many exercises to choose from and modifications for each one. Athletes, pregnant women, teens, older adults, cancer patients and recovering cancer patients, obese, etc…..
Check out a class if you haven’t already done so. I recommend starting with a small class and/or private lesson to get the basics down.
I know that it can be really tough to motivate yourself to exercise sometimes. I am sitting at my desk writing this wondering where I am going to find the energy to go for a run. It is almost 5 p.m. and I still intend on getting out in the wind and rain for that elusive run! Why would I do that? I would get out there for two main reasons. First, I believe in commitment, especially commitment to myself! Second, I know from years of experience that I will be so glad that I did it and that once I am out there.
Excuses are just that…excuses. In the long run, excuses don’t help you accomplish your goals, do they? Believe me, as a Personal Trainer I hear lots of them. Recently I saw a dog that was hugely inspiring to me. He was a yellow lab with three good legs and one leg that stuck straight out to the side. It just sort of hung there flapping around as he ran and chased the tennis ball. His owner said that he was born that way and had no idea that he had only three good legs! Encountering that dog really made me think. Most of us don’t have any excuse not to get out and move our bodies on a regular basis!
Motivation to exercise is a hot topic in many exercise books, articles, and programs. Here are a few tips that I feel are super helpful:
• Schedule your exercise in your calendar.
- Plan out your exercise week on Sunday (i.e. schedule in classes, appointments with trainer, runs/walks, etc.).
• Find an exercise buddy.
• Be realistic (don’t run/workout if you are sick with a fever).
• Be flexible, yet committed. If you have a run scheduled on Tuesday morning at 6 and it is pouring, blowing, and cold…have a backup plan.
• Change it up! Try Zumba instead of going for a walk/run or go to Yoga or Pilates instead of hitting the weight room. Head out to a different area for your bike ride, run, walk…explore somewhere new.
• Listen to good music on your IPod, an audio book, or even a podcast.
• Acknowledge your accomplishment when you are done!
Looking outside my window right now, I am reminded of how spring is a time of renewal and nourishment. One result of this is that I feel inspired and motivated to do some spring cleaning. I plan on starting in the yard this weekend cleaning up the partially decayed leaves from the fall. I also plan on starting indoors by cleaning out my cupboards (in the kitchen and pantry).
While I have to admit, I eat pretty healthily and keep a lot of healthy foods in my cupboards, there are some things that need to go. I just tossed a jar of jelly beans that were at least 4 years old! After accusing my son of hoarding them, he said, “Mom, those have been in there forever, don’t you remember when we got them?”
For those of you who are making some changes in your eating habits, cleaning out your cupboards is a great place to start! First, toss all food that is stale or outdated. Yes, you likely have some. Then, take a look at what you want to replace with healthier choices. For example, toss the boxes of mac and cheese. In other words, toss the processed foods. Instead of “tossing” them, you might consider donating them to a food bank.
This process of spring cleaning is so crucial to your commitment to eating healthier and eliminating processed carbs from your diet. If you haven’t made this commitment to yourself, then we should talk! Out with the Cheerios, Quaker Oats, instant oatmeal, Mac and Cheese boxes, instant white rice, Wheat Thins, low-fat maple syrup, and pre-packaged cake and brownie mixes! In with steel cut oats, whole grain cereals, Quinoa, buckwheat pancake mix, Agave syrup, whole-grain crackers (like Mary’s Crackers), and fresh nuts like almonds. Having hummus and fresh veggies around is also a great idea.
The bottom line is that when you are hungry and open your cupboard looking for something to eat, you will grab whatever is available, especially if your blood sugar is low. Give yourself a head start on eating healthily and have foods available that are going to make you feel better, not worse an hour later when your blood sugar crashes!
Many of us grew up with sweet treats being offered as rewards for good behavior by our parents, grandparents, and babysitters. I can remember my grandma Clara bringing animal crackers and cracker jacks every Sunday to our house for us kids (and animal crackers for the dogs). My other grandma always had a full bowl of candy in her den, which, of course, we devoured.
What is the fascination with sweets when we are children? Do the seeds of sugar addiction get planted so young?
We know that sugar addiction is a major problem on our planet. It spans all ages from vulnerable young children to adolescents who have so much change going on in their lives, to millions and millions of adults.
How many of you have seen a child in public having a temper tantrum or really being a “brat” and wonder how the parents can stand it? I would say that there is a good chance that those behavior problems have their roots in low blood sugar. Why are those tantrums so acceptable and so much a part of raising kids? Think about it, their little bodies need stable blood sugar just as much as the rest of us do!
With the rise of childhood diabetes today, it is paramount that we foster an interest in healthy eating and lifestyles for our children (I mean that collectively) so that they grow up with that knowledge imprinted in their minds and bodies. Knowledge is power, right?