Living your best life with arthritis.

Football: How to prevent injuries and build muscles

As football (soccer) approaches the medals round in Rio 2016, Arthritis Olympic Village wants to share some tips on how to prevent injuries and build muscles in this sport. The first component is to observe your form while you warm up. It will help to record yourself warming up, such as jogging for a couple of meters.

Sports Without InjuryPreventing injuries - Picture of a feet about to hit a football suggest you observe the following:

  • Watch to make sure your hip, knee and ankle are in a straight line.
  • Don’t let your knee cave in or your feet whip out to the side.
  • Don’t let your toes point toward each other.
  • You may also want to learn to strike the ground with the front of your foot, but it’s important to build up your calf strength first.
  • Shuffle sideways and run backwards and observe how you bend at the knees and hips

In the video above, former U.S. national midfielder Cobi Jones demonstrates proper backward and forward running form.

It is important for a football player to develop muscle strength in their quadriceps, hamstrings, hip muscles, gluteus and core muscles. These muscle groups will help protect your knees, ankles, groins, feet, calves, shins, Achilles tendons and everything below the waist.

Sports without Injury provide a good example of exercises you can do in the respective muscle.

  1. Hamstrings – This exercise, called the Nordic (or Russian) hamstring exercise not only strengthens the hamstrings, it strengthens their ability to do the eccentric contractions they make to balance the concentric contractions the quadriceps make.
  2. Core – An advantage of these core-building exercises is that they strengthen the muscles in the trunk without stressing the lower back.
  3. Hips – Hips move in multiple directions, and these exercises capture most of them.

Doing muscle strengthening exercises two or three times a week will make physical activity easier and more enjoyable. Please note not all of the above exercises may be suitable for someone living with arthritis. Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise treatment plan.

American boxer James “The Cinderella Man” Braddock’s fight with arthritis

James J. Braddock, “The Cinderella Man” is an Irish American boxer who held the world heavyweight championships from 1935 to 1937. Braddock was famous for his powerful right hand and persevering through personal ups and downs, which included having to work at the docks during the Great Depression and having to switch his technique due to arthritis that developed in his hands as a result of injuries throughout his career.

A boxer in his arenaAlthough Braddock eventually retired due to his arthritis, he never once gave up. When pain and stiffness became especially bad in his dominant right hand, he retrained to make his left arm the stronger one. Braddock’s career highlight includes winning the fight with John “Corn” Griffin, the “Ozark Cyclone” and heavyweight contender, Art Lasky. On June 13, 1935, Braddock played one of the most memorable matches in boxing history – winning the heavyweight championship of the world against the then World Heavyweight Champion, Max Baer, as the 10-to-1 underdog. Above is a video recap of the boxing match captured by BoxingMemories.comContinue reading

Phil Mickelson misses Rio 2016 but swings psoriatic arthritis into remission

A golfer taking a swing on a golf course - psoriatic arthritisProfessional golfer Phil Mickelson was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2010. At first, his joints ached and then one day, he could barely get out of bed due to agonizing pain. While he waited for test results from his rheumatologist, he played in the 2010 U.S. Open and landed a fourth place finish.

If untreated, psoriatic arthritis can affect Mickelson’s golf game. The swelling of the hands and toes can affect his ability to stabilize his swing and stance. Swelling in the hands can also affect how he grips his club. With the help of medications, Mickelson is back in the game. Off the golf course, he is a vocal advocate of raising awareness for arthritis.  Continue reading

Swim for arthritis and cheer on Canada’s swim team at Rio 2016!

People with arthritis should celebrate the success of Canada’s swim team at Rio 2016 by going for a swim.

children swimmingThe Arthritis Research Centre of Canada reports that water provides an excellent medium for exercising. The buoyancy of your body in the water means less weight on the main weight- bearing joints (feet, ankles, knees, and hips) and allow for freer, less painful movement while still providing resistance to muscles. Swimming, combined with the water’s support provides an aerobic workout without putting extra stress on your joints. Similarly, walking through the water in a swimming pool protects joints and lessens possible pain, while providing a workout with 12 times the resistance of walking on land. Continue reading

Canoeing and kayaking can be beneficial for joints

Man in a kayakCanoeing and kayaking are good exercises for people with arthritis because they are low-impact sports that reduce wear-and-tear on joints and tissues.

After his diagnosis with arthritis, Nova Scotia resident Nick LeBlanc refused to give up on sports and participates in paddling sports like kayaking. Childhood arthritis affects three in 1,000 children in Canada. LeBlanc was playing in a tournament when a swollen knee eventually led a visit to the ER, where doctors referred him to a rheumatologist and he was diagnosed with arthritis.

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James Lowe: Winger defying arthritis for Super Rugby

James Lowe is a New Zealand rugby union player and an official ambassador for Arthritis New Zealand. Lowe plays in the wing position for the Markos and Chiefs. In 2014, he played his first Super Rugby and contributed to the Chiefs 18-10 victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch. His aim is to play for the Kiwi World Cup squad in the near future.

Lowe was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), at the young age of 14. He takes prescribed medications and a weekly injection to control his arthritis. JIA strikes children under the age of 16 and affects an estimated one in 1000 children.  It is one of the most common chronic diseases among children. To read about the different subtypes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, please click here. Continue reading