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Editorial

To Your Health


Walking



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07/01/2009 - Howdy!

I apologize for no article last month; I developed writer's block so nothing sounded good to write about. So here I am 6:30 in the morning pounding the key board on an idea that was suggested to me. I took the idea and morphed it a little. It's entitled "Walking" but it's not about how good it is for you. Yes, walking is great exercise especially now that we have gotten some sun. Yes, it is good aerobic activity to bum off calories~ exercise your heart~ blah, blah, blah. No, what I want to discuss has to do with problems that walking can actually magnify, especially when one is walking at a pretty good clip. I recently had an influx of individuals who had started walking (or increased their mileage and/or pace) coming in with an array of problems. The first question I asked was "Does this only occur when you are out walking for exercise or does it occur anytime?" Most often the response was when exercising. The complaints were from feet, knees, hips, lower back, pain radiating into legs.

In evaluating the areas I found that there was some underlying problem that had been brewing and the increased level of activity magnified it. Kind of like heart problem -- you're out doing something and you note a little shortness of breath but you blow it off thinking it's just because you're out of shape. After the next strenuous activity you may be riding in ambulance with some plugged up artery.

So let's go over a few of these without being too wordy. If you have questions, write back to me -- then we can get wordy.

My feet hurt or they go numb while walking. This can be a combination of problems; if you wear cheap or worn out shoes (guys) they may not be supporting your arches properly creating adverse stress loads on the bones and ligaments. Also, you can develop a neuroma which is a tumor of a nerve that can be created from irritation of tissues such as between toes resulting in the body responding by forming this "tumor" and person complaining of numbness. Get good shoes and don't go cheap, have arches evaluated also.

Knee pain. This can also tie into the feet if a person has what we call "pronation" . It has been noted that the lower leg will rotate under tbe knee creating abnormal stress loads for the knee to deal with. Also above the knee, if a person has rotation of the pelvis it will affect your walking gait. Have your gait evaluated.

Hip pain. Again, this can be can be rotation of the pelvis, developing arthritis in the hip joint itself, or the possibility of a short leg, especially after hip replacement. I have seen a lot of that in older individuals. This can be hard to detect and you need to be evaluated properly for it.

Back pain. This can be associated with short leg, pelvic rotation, abnonnal weight bearing loads on the spine (some people actually walk crooked; this gets worse the faster they go), and arthritis in the spine. If you noted this problem happening when walking get it checked out.

In conclusion: Now I don't want to give you the impression that walking is bad for you and that it causes this stuff to happen. The majority of people don't have problems when they walk but if you do have some of these problems get them checked out so that you can continue walking because it is good for you.

Speaking of walking, I hope to be writing again in the fall and take a break for now, so take care. See ya!

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