Arthritic Feet -Self Care Series

We, Arthritic Warriors, are well aware of our feet aches!! It’s quite common for symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis to first appear in the feet, the forefoot, back of the feet, and ankles, and so on…in the earlier days of my diagnosis my toe would be particularly painful when I tried to lift it or when walking, but the pain did occur when at rest in too especially during severe flare-up stages.

Sometimes I used to feel it so stiff and loss of movement, which caused it an inability to bend the big toe upwards, which was so painful and made it difficult to walk. I used to get swelling and inflammation around the toe and the joint. Somedays I would observe a bump too like a bunion or callus around.

I also observed that I started to walk on the outside of my foot, causing pain in the ball of the foot. We need to listen and balance our body and its movements accordingly…

Our feet are a great indicator of health. They can tell us all kinds of things that could be wrong, but we just need to know how to listen to them. It’s also important to understand that heel pain may be an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis itself. In some cases, pain in the heel, ankle, or ball of the foot can be early indicators of this autoimmune disorder.

Simple daily exercises I try and do:

Knead the balls of my feet as well as my toes, starting at the top and working my way down to the base.

Apply heat. Heat relaxes my joints and muscles and relieves any pain I have. My heat treatments — warm squeezed towels, hot packs, or a shower, and I apply it for about 20 minutes.

Move gently. Move my joints gently at first to warm up. You might begin with range-of-motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before I move on to strengthening exercises.

Go slowly. Exercise with slow and easy movements. If I feel pain, I take a break.

Salt Soaks. I sometimes soaking them in magnesium-rich Epsom salt baths.

Walk barefoot around the house on days my feet are pain-free…so to give ample acupressure at the right points!

My Foot Fix: Rest, ice, compress, and elevate the toe.

It’s a common acronym known as RICE. Icing it and compressing the inflamed area can help tamp down on swelling and eases pain.

I trust my instincts and don’t exert more energy than I think my joints can handle. I take it easy and slowly increase my exercise length and intensity as I progress.

There is one rule, above all others, for a man. Whatever comes, face it on your feet…….Robert Jordan

 

 

 

Embracing Small Life’s Celebrations Keeps our Hope and Joy Alive!

Past few years, celebrations would probably be considered fiascos if they were to be judged by traditional standards. Yet, I’ll never regret trying my best to recreate the special traditions my mom and dad made throughout our childhood. Celebrations, no matter how small they are, give life some feel. If anyone needs something to make one day stand out from all the others, it’s those who are already managing with the challenges and tediousness that often come with unseen illness.

We cherish special life milestones like birthdays and anniversaries for a reason. They epitomize continuity and growth, the unbroken threads that shape a person’s life. They are a sign of triumph over adversity, of strength, and of hope, particularly in the later years when they represent years of life’s experience. The importance of celebrating life is mirrored in physical and mental health, community and family relationships and a healthy inner self-concept.

Life is full of celebratory moments; it is imperative to understand things that give you happiness and make you feel worthy. Even the smallest of celebrations we allow ourselves can help build positive emotions. When we take time to embrace the little moments, we’re less likely to go down the rabbit hole with stress and less likely to get physically sick.

Such emotions give us resilience and fortify us with happy memories.

Over the past years as I look back on my life as a RA Warrior; I like the person I see in the mirror. I have developed a strong mental strength that has allowed me to motivate myself and be a motivator to others. I have been at the lowest point in my life some years ago, but I have managed to come out on top. And all this has come with the Inner Healthy Self-concept mindset and the grace of the Almighty!

A healthy person or a person with a chronic condition appreciates the whole curve of life as a continuous journey, interspersed by moments of pain and of joy but always changing. Special occasions are the milestones along this journey, chances to stop and reflect on life as a whole, and on the person, who has lived it. Giving people the chance to celebrate these milestones is an essential way to nurture their inner health.  Celebration isn’t just a party, it’s a way to show someone that they matter, that their journey has meaning. Hence care givers should work around organizing such occasions. Caregivers can’t take away the illnesses or the pain, however, for one can attempt to bring a little light into the lives. It often takes some trial and error and some imagination, but one can figure out what works. The joy and comfort of these events is an important source of strength for people, even when they may lack the energy to do all the planning themselves.

I am grateful for every birthday and the opportunity I have been given to share the good and the bad with others. I will never give up hope that one day we will find a cure for this condition called RA!

Yes, it is true that we have real-world challenges with the current Covid situation, but we should give extra attention to the good things in life, too. In all these cases, the answer is to stay focused on the importance of celebrating life. We should celebrate the little successes and that helps keep us linked in tough times.

These moments of celebration make us pause and be mindful, and that lifts our well-being.

The advantages of celebration are universal, and can be as powerful in a small, quiet gathering as in a big party.

According to social psychology researcher Fred Bryant and others, when we stop to savor the good stuff, we buffer ourselves against the bad and build resilience—and even mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress

So ….Let us keep celebrating our lives at the drop of a hat all we Arthritic Warriors !!!

 

 

Hard Talk on RA

Why it is difficult to talk about RA

Two certainties make having RA difficult to discuss. A well-known fact is that since most of its symptoms aren’t visible, one becomes reluctant to discuss it as they’re a high chances others might not believe that you’re really sick.

The other problem is that it can be a letdown to discuss.

So just a few pointers which I follow:

Who do we tell :

There could be some amongst us who have a special inner circle and choose only to tell them as the trust and goodwill is apparent. I have noticed a few just want to share with any and everyone around as fear factor has set in maybe, whichever the route one chooses, one is the best judge of their own situation! So go ahead and plan your talk…inward and outward!

Deciding how much to tell…a situation at the office or home

The thing about discussing RA is that there’s quite a lot to discuss. The list of symptoms is unique to each person, but it can be very long. How much will you tell about your condition? You could be as brief as a quick declaration and definition: “I have rheumatoid arthritis. It’s an autoimmune condition that mostly attacks my joints.”

Beyond that, you could consider talking about how symptoms affect you. For example, “RA means I have a lot of pain and need extra rest.” Or, rather than talking about how RA affects you in general, you might choose to explain how you’re doing on a daily basis and how that might affect your abilities: “My RA is affecting my wrists today. Can you help me pick up these files?”

Of course, you can never know when meeting someone how they’ll react to your sharing, but you’ll probably pick up overtime on clues that someone feels overwhelmed with your news. Rather than talking to them, it might be appropriate to share written information on RA by directing them to a website or other resource. By doing so you automatically become an Awareness Warrior and the bonus is …you feel good by doing your bit…that is what I do!

Nobody can take away your pain, but don’t let pain take away your happiness.— Stephanie Walters