Stress is unavoidable for all of us. Life is constantly busy and there are never enough hours in the day.
We’re often tired and anxious, and our mental and physical health suffers as a result.
We know stress can cause and exacerbate heart issues, high blood pressure and diabetes, but we don’t usually think of this as something that affects our feet. However, it most certainly does.
Stress impacts our foot health and our general wellbeing in several ways.
Problems with Circulation
Stress stimulates the production of adrenaline. This powerful hormone increases blood flow to the heart, lungs and muscles – the ‘fight or flight’ response we need to deal with difficult and dangerous situations.
However, adrenaline also constricts blood vessels in the feet, which reduces circulation. This leads to cold and numb feet and toes. It also makes it much harder for blisters, ulcers and sores to heal, and the longer open wounds hang about the easier it is for infection to set in.
Cramping and Stiffness
Muscle tension is a common effect of stress. We often feel it in the neck and shoulders as the muscles tighten up into uncomfortable, achy knots, but tension can be felt anywhere including the feet.
Tense muscles make toes and ankles stiff and inflexible. This easily leads to more debilitating issues like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis – and if you already suffer from one of these conditions, stress will only make them worse.
Problems with Posture and Gait
Painful and inflexible feet have a knock-on affect for your posture and ability to walk properly. You’ll automatically adjust the way you walk, stand and move to alleviate pressure on sensitive areas. However, this causes friction as your feet and toes are squashed and subjected to unnatural pressure. This is how sores, blisters and ulcers happen.
Lack of flexibility makes falling all too likely. This isn’t good for anyone, but people who are already a little unsteady on their feet are at considerable risk of more serious injuries.
Changing the way you walk also affects your posture and this impacts your entire body to some degree. Back, shoulder or neck problems often begin with painful feet and poor posture, so the knock-on effects of stress in this regard are considerable indeed.
Stress Affects the Immune System
Stress causes the body to produce increased levels of cortisone. In the short term, this is beneficial – it boosts the body’s ability to fight infection and keeps harmful inflammation at bay. However, if high stress levels persist, cortisol becomes less effective, inflammation increases, and the immune system is weakened.
Consequently, we become more susceptible to infections throughout the body. When it comes to feet, fungal problems and bacterial issues are very common – athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, sores or abscesses for example.
Diabetics suffer from poor circulation, particularly in the feet and legs. Extreme cases can lead to amputation, so it’s vital to keep circulatory issues under control.
Arthritis is common in the feet and toes and stress is known to worsen the symptoms. Constant pain and fatigue are common and painful feet can become impossible to walk on.
Manage Stress-Related Issues at Feet By Pody
Stress can’t be magicked away, but it can be managed and minimised, and stress-related foot issues can be alleviated or resolved altogether.
For reassuring advice and help, talk to the experts at Feet By Pody.