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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Any tips for my knees, feet and fingers that are playing up?

My knees and feet can play me up so have you got any tips to help me exercise. I?ve got it in my fingers too but it?s the legs that need to exercise! If I get down the getting back up is a problem so how can I strengthen them? Jan

A.

Our expert says...

Hi Jan,

Joints experience wear and tear as we get older and this does make it easier to overdo it or experience painful flare ups, as you are mentioning. Sometimes the symptoms are simply joint fatigue caused by muscle weakness, so addressing the weak muscle groups through specific strength training can be an excellent solution. Stabilization training helps strengthen and protect joints by improving the use and recruitment of the smaller joint stabilizers (ligaments and tendons) as well as the bigger muscle groups. I suggest you check out my home training ? leg workout article, as this features exercises which fall into this category.

It is also worth being aware that symptoms such as painful swelling in the peripheral joints, (in the feet and hands), can signal a more serious issue i.e. arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis so if you are in any doubt after considering the following factors relating to onset then I would recommend seeing your doctor.

Factors that relate to the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis:

- Pain and swelling in your joints, especially in the smaller joints of your hands and feet

- Generalized aching or stiffness of the joints and muscles, especially after sleep or after periods of rest

- Loss of motion of the affected joints

- Loss of strength in muscles attached to the affected joints

- Fatigue, which can be severe during a flare-up

- Low-grade fever

- Deformity of your joints over time

- General sense of not feeling well (malaise)

- Getting older, because incidence of rheumatoid arthritis increases with age. However, incidence begins to decline in women over the age of 80.

- Being female

- Being exposed to an infection, possibly a virus or bacterium that may trigger rheumatoid arthritis in those with an inherited susceptibility.

- Inheriting specific genes that may make you more susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis.

- Smoking cigarettes over a long period of time.

It is just as likely that your body isn't moving as efficiently as it has done in the past and this is what is causing you the pain. Try some of the basic exercises within my workout articles like Shoulder Bridge and single leg toe touches and follow the guidelines carefully to make sure you maximise the technique. These exercises focus on improving your quality of life by targeting the muscles that we should use and that should support us in everyday activities. Do not do any exercise that exacerbates the joint pain you experience. If so, I recommend you seek the support of a fitness professional (ideally a Corrective Exercise Specialist) to prepare something for your individual needs. You don?t have to be a gym member to find this kind of service and don?t need a gym to train in either, (although it is one option).

I hope this helps,

Kelly

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