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  • Writer's pictureJANMI

Foot and ankle muscle pain – the risks of a sedentary lifestyle

When thinking of foot and ankle issues, most people will usually think of athletes or workers that spend a lot of time on their feet all day every day. However, being low active and leading a more sedentary lifestyle can be harmful to feet and ankles too.

Physical activity is a necessity, and when somebody ignores this and leads a more sedentary lifestyle it can often lead to many more negative effects than just those associated with obesity. Now, sedentary does not necessarily equal lazy.

There are plenty of people that are sedentary but could never be classed as lazy – this could include office workers and drivers that spend most of their time sitting; whichever way you look at it, that is a sedentary lifestyle if these groups of people are not engaging in physical exercise in their free-time – which many people just don’t seem to have the time for.

Whatever the personal situation, there is no arguing the fact that a sedentary lifestyle very often leads to foot and ankle problems at some stage.

Foot and ankle problems that can arise

Plantar fasciitis

While plantar fasciitis is not directly caused by a sedentary lifestyle, it most certainly does increase the chances of the risk of this injury occurring. Plantar fasciitis is defined as the tearing, stretching or swelling of the that is found at the arch of the foot and runs between the forefoot and the heel.

People with plantar fasciitis will normally feel a stabbing pain in the mentioned area that only gets worse with walking, which leads to wanting to sit even more – and little wonder.


When the feet and ankles are not used often, they can develop something called oedema. This is where fluid builds up in the ankles and feet and has spread to the blood vessels in the soft tissue of the feet. This unsurprisingly causes a reaction in the body.

Sodium and water levels in the body rise, forcing the kidneys to work harder and this, in turn, causes an increase in circulation of excessive fluid through the body. The kinds of levels of fluid this can cause is never a good thing for the body.

Our lymphatic systems do a good job of removing the additional fluid, but the feet will often malfunction and swell.

Decreased muscle strength and chronic pain

When leading an inactive way of life we don't just lose muscle strength in the body in general, you will mostly lose the strength in the lower legs, ankles and feet. There may also be chronic aches, pains, weakness pain and stiffness. Unfortunately, this will also discourage people from working out and generally being more active. After all, pain is very encouraging us not to do something.

A specially trained JANMI physical therapist will be able to advise on how to decrease and eventually eliminate the pain in the feet and ankles, but we advise speaking to you GP too so they properly evaluate your situation and the seriousness, or not, or of it.

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