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Tips on Loosening Stiff Joints

Your joints can be stiff during this time of year for many reasons – arthritis, gout, bursitis, infections, unhealed injuries or even medication. Here are a few ways you can loosen your joints gently and safely so that you can ease some of your discomfort.

  1. Start Walking – If you have stiff ankles or feet, one of the best ways to get looser is to just start moving. You don’t want to start with anything too sudden or fast since you don’t have full range of movement yet. Just walking at a normal pace around the house or the block a few times until you feel like your tightness is fading.
  2. Swim – Swimming is very helpful in loosening joints because of the movements you can do without stressing any of your joints further. Also, if you swim in warmer water, the temperature of the water can also help the stiffness go away. If you’re not a swimmer, you can just get into the water and do simple movements such as stepping or arm circles.
  3. Stretch – Start by lying down on the floor and having someone help stretch your legs, feet and toes. If you are by yourself, you can use the wall or a large object (such as a couch) to help stretch you further than normal. Do not stretch until you feel pain. Go through your whole body one section at a time until you feel your blood circulating a little better.
  4. Massage – If your joints in your hands are stiff you may need a little help with massaging as well. Be firm but not to the point of pain and slowly making small circles in any sore or tense spots. For your feet, massage each toe, both arches, and your heels.
  5. Strength Train – Sometimes your joints can hurt more if they are stiff and there is no supporting muscle to help absorb impact. Train properly and don’t overdo it or you may end up injured. It’s important to build up your body’s natural strength to help keep the pain away.

Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating and educating patients with foot and ankle ailments for over eighteen years. If you have any questions, call our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.

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