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Did I just step on a nail? The pain in the sole of the foot

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By Kamal Singh

Completing a half marathon was always on Tanvi’s bucket list. When her doctor told her that she needed to start an exercise program, Tanvi plunged into the running lifestyle, bought the latest running shoes etc. Everything was going fine till she started to get a dull ache in the sole of her left foot, first thing in the morning. She ignored the pain and continued her running. Then one morning she woke up and tried standing up, the pain was so sharp that she thought she had stepped on a nail. She nixed the idea of her morning run as she could barely walk. She was better by the afternoon, but she did go see her doctor.

The diagnosis

 

The doctor examined her and said she had a case of Plantar fasciitis. The foot has a thick band of fibrous tissue, which extends from the heel to the toes. This band can get overstretched, inflamed and develop tiny tears, leading to pain and tenderness. The pain could be worse in the morning, or if standing for too long. Runners are particularly prone to Plantar Fasciitis if they suddenly up their mileage, or buy new shoes and simultaneously up their mileage. Amongst the inactive population, overweight middle-aged women are most likely to develop Plantar Fasciitis.

Possible Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

•Sudden increase in bodyweight. This would be a no-brainer as most of the increase in bodyweight directly affects the lower extremities.

•Sudden increase in activity. Runners and walkers increasing their mileage abruptly in a desire to quickly achieve their fitness goals. This is especially true of the new over-enthusiastic runner, who wants to go from couch to a marathon in a month!

•Calf muscles becoming stiff and tight. This can be the result of wearing high heels.

•People with flat feet or high arches are also at risk for developing Plantar fasciitis.

The cure – prevention

•Keep your bodyweight in check! Keeping bodyweight down has a positive impact on almost all aspects of a person’s life.

•We need to learn to hurry slowly with our fitness programs. You cannot improve your fitness over night by doing more. This usually leads to overuse issues. I highly recommend joining a running club if you intend pursuing running as your preferred activity. Most of these clubs have members who have running for a long time and they can easily guide the newbie.

Stretch and strengthen

•Foam roll the calf muscles.

•Stretch the calf muscles.

•Toe stretch and massage for the sole of the affected foot eases Plantar Fasciitis quickly. Sit with with your affected foot on the other knee. With one hand pull the toes back. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds. While doing the stretch, massage the sole of the foot. Do the toe stretch and massage for 10 repetitions. Do this three times in a day, till the pain goes away.

Plantar fasciitis can be resistant to treatment and can lead to loss of training days for the active person. Thus in this case prevention is definitely better than cure. So if starting a running get assessed by a competent physiotherapist and get a running program from a seasoned coach.

(A strength and conditioning coach for the last 15 years, Kamal Singh, CSCS, specialises in post rehabilitation training and functional training.)

Courtesy Hindustan Times


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Health

Unable To Get Pregnant? Could Be Because Of Diabetes

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Diabetes, commonly described as a “lifestyle disease”, can contribute to infertility in both women and men, warn health experts.

“Diabetes can cause infertility in both men and women. Both sexes are at equal risk of infertility,” S.K. Wangnoo, endocrinologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said.

Infertility affects up to 15 per cent of reproductive-aged couples worldwide. According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), the overall prevalence of primary infertility in India is between 3.9 per cent to 16.8 per cent.

 

“Diabetes in men damages DNA of the sperm and leads to reduced number of sperms and reduced motility of sperms which leads to infertility. Although having diabetes does not necessarily make men infertile, it could make them less fertile,” added Roopak Wadhwa, Consultant at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi.

On the other hand, diabetes in women is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other autoimmune diseases that can lead to infertility.

“Diabetes causes a lack of glucose control in the body which, in turn, can make the implantation of the fertile egg in the uterus difficult. Therefore, the chances of miscarriage in diabetic women increase between 30-60 per cent,” Wadhwa explained.

Another WHO report had stated that India had 69.2 million people living with diabetes in 2015.

By 2030, nearly 98 million people in India may have Type-2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal last year.

While diabetic patients can always try parenthood, the risk of passing on the sugar disease to the child is approximately 50 per cent high, Wangnoo stated.

“It can also cause intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR) and congenital anomalies. IUGR is a condition where an unborn baby is smaller than it should be because it is not growing at a normal rate inside the womb,” Wadhwa added.

Furthermore, he noted that diabetic mothers are at high risk of premature deliveries, abortions and perinatal (during birth) complications.

High diabetes can be risky for both mother and child. The experts suggest that maintaining a good lifestyle, an ideal body weight, keeping sugars within target range, avoiding smoking and alcohol and excessive work related stress are some of the preventive measures.

Besides infertility, diabetes can also raise the risk of cardiovascular and lung disease, arthritis, osteoporosis. An estimated 3.4 million deaths are caused due to high blood sugar, according to the WHO.

The global health body also estimates that 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and projects that such deaths will double between 2016 and 2030.

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Health

Here Are 5 Sources Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids You Must Include In Your Diet

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Omega 3 fatty acids are important for heart health. It is well known that fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel etc are all good sources of fatty fish. However, there are many other vegetarian food items that are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids. It is important to include omega 3 fatty acids in your diet as it can help in reducing inflammation, risk of dementia and prevent heart diseases. And while it may be slightly challenging for vegans and vegetarians to include omega 3 in diet, following is a list of few plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Sources of omega 3 fatty acids for vegetarians

1. Walnuts:

 

Walnuts are a storehouse of healthy fats including omega 3 fatty acids. Healthline informs that 65% of walnuts comprise fat by weight. Walnuts are one of the healthiest varieties of nuts and can help in weight loss, improving heart health and brain health. Studies have shown that including walnuts in your diet can improve your memory.

2. Chia seeds:

Benefits of chia seeds are many. But the best part about them is that they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and even protein. Including chia seeds in your diet can help you lose weight and improve cholesterol levels in the body. You can add chia seeds to smoothies, salads, nuts, yogurt, etc.

3. Hemp seeds:

Hemp seeds contain a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, iron, zinc and magnesium. Hemp seeds have been found to help in prevention of blood clot formation and also help in recovering from heart attack. You can also take a dose of hemp seed oil by pressing hemp seeds. This will provide you a more concentrated version omega 3 fatty acids.

4. Flaxseeds:

Fibre rich flaxseeds are a good source of fibre, manganese, protein, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. Including flaxseeds in your diet can help in bringing an improvement in your blood pressure levels. You can eat flaxseeds with nuts, add them to soups, salads, etc.

5. Brussels sprouts:

Yes, Brussel sprouts too are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. They are also rich in Vitamin C, fibre and Vitamin K. Cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts can help in lowering risk of heart disease.

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Health

Obesity-causing genes identified

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Researchers have identified genetic variants associated with obesity that is central to developing targeted interventions to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like hypertension, Type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found genetic sites that affect human body’s size and shape, including height and obesity. The findings will help understand how genes can predispose certain individuals to obesity.

In the study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers found 24 coding loci (or positions) — 15 common and nine rare — along chromosomes of individuals that predispose to higher waist-to-hip ratio.

 

Higher values of waist-to-hip ratio are associated with more incidence of diseases associated with obesity.

“For the first time, we were able to examine, on a large scale, how low-frequency and rare variants influence body fat distribution,” said North.

“A better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of body fat distribution may lead to better treatments for obesity and other downstream diseases obesity also impacts, for example Type-2 diabetes and heart disease,” suggested North.

Further analysis revealed pathways and gene sets that influenced not only metabolism but also regulation of body fat tissue, bone growth and adiponectin, a hormone that controls glucose levels and breaks down fat.

Performing functional studies across other organisms, the team also identified two genes that were associated with significant increase in triglyceride and body fat across species.

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