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Archive for June, 2011

June Guest Blogger: Ashley Boynes

Living with arthritis is a pain in the….well, everywhere…but many people who live with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, etc., tend to have a lot of trouble with their feet. It’s no wonder that those of us with chronic pain have tortured tootsies – many of us are on our feet all the time! But, it also depends on the shoes that we wear.

A recent piece of arthritis research showed that the shoes we wear can actually be contributing to rising levels of foot osteoarthritis! A poll in the UK claims that high heels can be blamed for increasing and/or worsening arthritis. They are facing an “arthritis crisis” and want to point the proverbial finger at fashionable stilettos, kitten heels, and other forms of high-heeled shoes, claiming, “the footwear alters the body’s posture and increases pressure on the foot, ankle, and knee joints.” The study also showed that ¼ of women wear high heels daily or at least frequently, and, when it comes to working out or being athletic, that 77% of  both men AND women do not wear shoes specifically designed for the sport that they are participating in. Naturally, this can cause increased risk for strains and injuries that can increase one’s risk for arthritis, too!

I’ve written a blog post on the topic of shoes before – I’m obsessed, with fancy, fashion-forward footwear, and yet, as irony would have it, I have RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and OA (osteoarthritis) pretty badly. It is quite disappointing for me not to be able to wear my gorgeous high heels on a daily basis. I’ve come to terms with it, though, and on a usual basis wear more casual shoes – sneakers, flats, etc. to prevent further damage to my feet, ankles, and knees. I save the heels for weekends and special occasions (against the advice of my doctors, who say I shouldn’t be wearing heels at all….shhh!)

To be honest, don’t follow my example. The best kind of shoe for an arthritis sufferer to wear is a supportive shoe with a shock-absorbent sole to help minimize stress on the joints. Your shoes should not put you at risk for falls or twisted ankles. Flat shoes or shoes with only a slight elevation are preferred. Your rheumatologist or physical therapist should be able to point you in the right direction.

For days when your “dogs are barking” consider foot massage, foot acupressure, yoga, or insoles to help promote foot health and comfort! Treat your feet to pedicures now and then, remember to stretch and exercise your toes, and check out products such as foot spas, or Happy Feet therapeutic massaging insoles.  Thank your feet for helping you walk through life and all of its struggles on a daily basis!

Remember: “The ultimate dance, the dance of life, is performed best and longest on healthy, happy feet.”

– Ashley Boynes a.k.a. “Arthritis Ashley”

BIO: Ashley Boynes, also known as “Arthritis Ashley,” is a writer best known for her inspirational self-help and health advocacy work in the chronic illness and arthritis communities. She blogs for the Arthritis Foundation’s Mid Atlantic Region and Let’s Move Together initiative, and moderates the Rheum to Grow Facebook page for young adults with rheumatic diseases. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 10, she is now 27 and in addition to the RA also lives with osteoarthritis, lupus, and celiac disease, as well as recently undergoing brain surgery for Chiari malformation. Ashley encourages living a positive and healthful lifestyle of overall wellness. Her interests include volunteerism and advocacy, social media, pop culture, the arts, philosophy, fashion, animals, and the Steelers. Soon to be married, she resides in Pennsylvania with her fiancé Mike, pug Maggie May, and new kitten, Jack-Jack. In addition to health blogging, Ashley also writes fashion and events pieces for Maniac Magazine, and is working on a novel.

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We’ve all been there . . . racing to the store at the very last minute, rummaging through the leftovers, searching for some semblance of the “perfect” Father’s Day gift among the predictable—ties, wallets, cufflinks, and cologne. But it doesn’t have to be this difficult. Tap into that special dad in your life, and go with a gift that says you know him, you appreciate him and with this gift you salute him.

Adventure. Pull dad out of his every day rut with a wild and crazy adventure. A few years back, I noticed how much my once daring husband seemed to be simply going through the motions. He’s the kind of man who traveled the world, craved bungee jumping, and blew things up for a living. The spark was a mere flicker and it needed to reignite. I purchased a Pilot for a Day package at our nearby Flight Academy, and he and our daughter spent the day flying around Orlando—feeling the need for speed. For inspiration, visit XperienceDays. With gifts like balloon rides, Nascar driving, and surfing, there’s something special for every type of dad. Not sure? Give an Xperience Days gift card and let him choose.

Collection. My step-dad played the gut-bucket, retired to become a real cowboy, and entertained friends and family as if he were still in his 20s. He loved traveling off the beaten path in every aspect of daily living. Although these attributes endeared him to me, they also made life hard when searching for gifts for holidays, especially Father’s Day. Until, I found this crazy pair of socks in the mall. He wore those socks to business meetings, the bank, at parties, camping trips—they became his claim to fame, showing them off every chance he got. From Tabasco bottles to dancing reindeer, the socks’ silly, over-the-top, unique, and eye-catching allure brought us one step closer to our wonderful relationship. Start a collection for your dad. Whether it’s timeless pieces or zany ones, find something that fits him and the two of you.

Concert. Do you ever hear him talk about that one concert? The one he always wanted to see but never got around to? Yep, the one that got away. Well, make it happen. The “old” bands and artists are crawling out of the woodwork, giving it that old school try. Whether Dad experiences flashbacks of his own version of Bret Michaels hair or has morphed into a little monster and digs Lady Gaga, there’s something for every generation, every musical taste.  And there’s nothing like having permission to dance badly, scream loudly, and wave a lighter, uhm, cell phone  in the air. Check out Tickets Now for upcoming concerts in your area.

 Health. We want the dads in our lives healthy and happy for years to come. Why not say that with the gift of health? You can select one of these or put together a basket of healthful goodies. A healthy read, Laird Hamilton’s Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul (and, of course, Surfing), isn’t just about surfing but more about tapping into the surfer soul in all of us, finding our own passion and path in a crazy, busy life. (It’s a personal favorite.) A new exercise class, like SoulCycle or kickboxing, is a great way for Dad to enjoy a fitful experience working out with his family. iPods, engraved with a Father’s Day message, keep Dad moving to the beat of his own drum. And sweet relief for those tired dancing feet? You know it, a brand new pair of Happy Feet® Massaging Insoles.

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