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Flat Feet? Relieve Pain, Be More Effective, And Enjoy Life

Flat Feet? Relieve Pain, Be More Effective, And Enjoy Life

Do you have problems with back and leg pain? Do your feet get tired easily and become swollen after hard working day or long walks? These problems can make our everyday lives more complicated, and it’s already difficult enough, isn’t it? The name of the problem is flat feet. According to research, about 30 percent of people have the same problem as you do.

To check if you have this condition, perform a quick test: get your feet wet and stand on a surface where your footmark will show (piece of paper on the floor, tiles in your bathroom). When you move away, you can see the marks of your feet. If it’s completely flat, without any curved lines on the inner side of the foot, sorry, but you have flat feet.

It’s bad news, but you’re not alone. Many people with the same problem are very active: running, playing soccer or doing heavy labor. The pain is the thing that makes you react and start thinking about the problem. Often it might be late, but still, we’re here to improve our lives, so we’re tackling the flat feet issue today.

The Flat Problem – Origins, Types & Symptoms

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    Depending on the lifestyle, average people spend from four to seven hours a day standing or walking. Our whole weight pressures the feet; they cover a minuscule area compared to our entire body. With every step, our feet endure the pressure of our full weight. Accumulating with time, our feet bear dozens of tons of pressure every day.

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    Maybe you didn’t know, but we’re all born with flat feet; the arch develops way later. Most people’s arches grow through childhood, but some people’s don’t. There are also risk factors like obesity, aging, diabetes, foot and ankle injury or rheumatoid arthritis that can cause flat feet later in life.

    Some people live with flat feet without even noticing, and without any need of correction or treatment. Others do have symptoms that usually involve weakness, pain, swelling of the inside bottom of the feet, and painful movement.

    1. Ladies

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      Let’s start with the girls. High heels are one of the main risk factors among women that cause this condition. They wedge your feet into tiny spaces and cause you to balance in a way that the human body is not supposed to. What does this mean? High heels alter your center of gravity and wearing them on a regular basis can make your arches almost useless. The obvious solution would be not to wear high heels, or wear them only during special occasions.

      2. Obese people

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        With more weight, your knees and ankles endure more pressure, your ligaments and muscles get stretched more than regular and lose the original ability to perform over time. This effect creates even more pressure to the arch of the foot, which bends and flattens under pressure, twisting the foot to the unnatural state. The pain is manifested throughout the whole leg, and the natural arch and feet become chronically sore.

        Getting through the working day

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          There are certain jobs where it is essential for women to be in high heels and it’s one of the reasons that lead to flat feet problem. In these cases, women should try to spend as little time as possible in high heels and carry spare flat shoes to wear whenever they get the opportunity to prevent fatigue, swelling and flat feet. Also, it’s important to obtain insoles for shoes that are designed for flat feet to facilitate wearing high heels.

          This problem also occurs in men, especially in workplaces where it is necessary to stand for several hours or jobs that require physical strength. If you have one of the risk factors, such as obesity, for example, the problem becomes greater. Physically demanding jobs that take place outdoors are particularly threatening to the foot, simply because they require more raw power and energy consumption. In these situations, adequate working boots with appropriate insoles will help to support the foot and ankle and reduce pain in feet, knees, and lower back.

          Recreation, exercise & relaxation

          Having flat feet doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take part in sports, participate in any activity, or have a productive and fulfilling life. The problem can be quite unpleasant and painful, but you can relieve it in many ways.

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          1. Running

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            One of the activities where people with flat feet face problems is running; it can be frustrating, stressful, and downright painful. When the arch of the foot is stretched out of its normal position, it is called the “Fallen.” It affects the runner’s ability to absorb the shock that the foot endures during the impact with the ground.

            With the fallen arch, the shock effect goes through your feet and legs, thus resulting in a higher risk of injury to the entire leg, not just ankles and feet. With the proper pair of running shoes for flat feet, it’s possible to alleviate most of the issues that accompany flat-footedness. Runners with flat feet need motion-control or stability shoes, with insoles that support the flat side of the foot. The walls of these shoes are strengthened to keep the ankles in a stable position and have a reinforced support from the bottom.

            2. Exercises that help with flat feet

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              Barefoot walking and standing are two simple and easy things that will help. People tend to get used to shoes and socks so much that the feet skin gets so gentle and sensitive. Strengthen your feet by not wearing anything on them as much as possible. Run barefooted, and perform balancing exercises; these will enhance your tendons, ligaments, and muscles significantly. With stronger feet, your natural positioning can be balanced out and repaired to a normal state. Combined with good insoles and shoes, you might improve your flat feet.

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              3. Relaxation with foot massage

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                Feet have millions of nerve endings, which are known and can be exploited by many types of massage. The quality feet massage can relieve many different pains in the whole body. When you have flat feet, you have even more reasons to have a foot massage.

                Massage increases circulation and loosens up connective tissue. The numerous massage benefits can improve the quality of your living, with or without flat feet. If you have a partner with flat feet, he or she will highly appreciate a good foot rub and massage. Here’s how to do it:

                • Spend at least 3 or 4 minutes warming up your partner’s entire foot.
                • After you’ve revved up the blood flow in the foot and warmed the muscles and connective tissue, begin to make long and gradually deeper strokes along the length of the sole, with one hand on each side of the foot. Long strokes are an important part of foot massage.
                • Apply the milking stroke to the foot. Take the foot that’s closest to you with both your hands and perform a series of ten strong, short-pulling strokes on both sides of the foot. Your strokes should be alternately lengthening each side of the foot.
                • Reverse the action, pushing toward the heel on the arch and the outside of the foot, moving gradually into circles on the front of the ankle.
                • Wring the foot applying the “Indian rub” technique with your thumbs on the middle arch side of the foot as if you were wringing out a towel. Allow a lot of movement in the foot as you perform the strokes, as it will be useful for the range of motion in the ankle and will stimulate circulation.
                • When you’ve completed the precise strokes on the foot, apply deep effleurage to calf muscles. Sometimes tightness in the calf muscles can exert pressure deep in the foot, which contributes to plantar fasciitis and pes planus.

                Living with flat feet is not hard

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                  If you add small changes in everyday routine and the way you live, in time, you will notice a significant improvement in the quality of your life. There are many ways to make life easier for people with flat feet. Proper footwear for every occasion is essential for relieving or even eliminating symptoms. It allows you to have a more productive day at work, and participate in a lot of activities that will contribute to better health in general: nature walks, sports activities, etc. Massages relieve pain and swollen ankles and feet, and there are exercises that prevent further development of symptoms.

                  Treat your feet, protect your feet, care for your feet, exercise and relax your feet. They will be grateful, and repay you with long healthy years.

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                  Dejan Kvrgic

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                  Published on November 14, 2018

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                  For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                  In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                  Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                  Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                  It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                  For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                  Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                  Symptoms of Fatigue

                  Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                  • mental blocks
                  • lack of motivation
                  • headache
                  • dizziness
                  • muscle weakness
                  • slowed reflexes and responses
                  • impaired decision-making and judgement
                  • moodiness, such as irritability
                  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                  • reduced immune system function
                  • blurry vision
                  • short-term memory problems
                  • poor concentration
                  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                  Causes of Fatigue

                  The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                  Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                  Medical Causes of Fatigue

                  If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                  Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                  Anemia

                  Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                  Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                  There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                  This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                  Diabetes

                  Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                  Sleep Apnea

                  Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                  Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                  Thyroid disease

                  An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                  Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Lack of sleep
                  • Too much sleep 
                  • Alcohol and drugs 
                  • Sleep disturbances 
                  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                  • Poor diet 

                  Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                  Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                  Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                  How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                  Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                  1. Tell The Truth

                  Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                  To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                  Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                  The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                  One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                  • How you feel
                  • What time of day it is
                  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                  • How your mind and body reacts

                  This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                  2. Reduce Your Commitments

                  When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                  If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                  When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                  Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                  3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                  If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                  Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                  If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                  Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                  Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                  4. Express More Gratitude

                  Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                  It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                  Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                  5. Focus On Yourself

                  Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                  There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                  But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                  We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                  6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                  Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                  Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                  The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                  Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                  7. Take a Power Nap

                  When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                  Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                  This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                  8. Take More Exercise

                  The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                  Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                  The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                  You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                  9. Get More Quality Sleep

                  To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                  Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                  My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                  10. Improve Your Diet

                  Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                  Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                  On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                  To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                  Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                  Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                  11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                  Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                  When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                  Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                  My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                  12. Get Hydrated

                  Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                  Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                  If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                  The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                  The Bottom Line

                  These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                  If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                  [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                  [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                  [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                  [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                  [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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