"Growing Pains!"

With fall upon us and harvest time approaching, thoughts of gardening and yard work come to mind. Whether picking out pumpkins from the patch or raking those autumn leaves, this new season ushers in new types of outdoor activities! 

When foot or leg pain strikes, the first idea that comes to mind when determining its cause is asking about recent strenuous activity such as running, swimming, skiing or other high-motion sport. However, did you ever stop to think that under-the-radar activities can contribute to or be the source of lower extremity pain? Gardening is a commonly overlooked activity that requires the manipulation of the body to bend, crouch, and kneel and involves the movement of the foot, leg, thigh, and back! With the advent of the autumn season – many gardeners are probably feeling the effects of their seasonal toil! 

Gardening is a labor-intensive, weight-bearing hobby and like any strenuous activity, should involve warm-up and adequate protection. Your feet play a variety of roles when it comes to the body: they are essential for mobility, help with preserving balance, bear the full body weight and act as shock absorbers. Gardening requires all the above foot functions when it comes to bending and kneeling to plant seeds, crouching and squatting to weed, AND standing to mulch, fertilize and water your vegetation. Gardening and harvesting are intense exercises, especially when coupled with the sun and the repetitive lifting of various tools such as shovels and hoses. You will burn some serious calories! 

What can you do to make sure that you have a comfortable, pain-free gardening experience?

  1. Stretch your feet and body completely before starting to garden
  2. Wear socks made of a cotton/lycra blend - they work to wick sweat off your feet and keep your feet from rubbing inside your shoes
  3. Choose to wear loose-fitting socks – this allows blood flow to your feet without restriction 
  4. Buy gardening shoes or boots with rubber soles for shock absorption – this reduces the risk of heel bruising when walking on stones or undergrowth  
  5. Ensure that your gardening shoes are close-toed and have a deep, round toe box – this will prevent the formation of corns and bunions, ingrown toenails and blisters
  6. Use a gardening pad to cushion your knees when kneeling 
  7. Thoroughly wash and dry your feet after gardening and carefully inspect them for red, swollen or inflamed areas 

Talk to your podiatrist about the best way to approach gardening – they will show you the correct way to stretch your muscles to prevent aches and pains.  If you happen to find a problem after gardening, your podiatrist will take the right measures to treat your problem and make recommendations for preventing its reoccurrence! Visit Beverly Hills Foot and Ankle, P.A. today to talk about your "growing pains" with Dr. Nisha Krishnan

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