When many people think about health and nutrition, they usually associate their diet with heart health or weight management. But the food you eat plays many important roles in your overall health and can affect various parts of the body, even your feet. Because March is National Nutrition Month, today, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center are sharing 5 ways your diet can negatively affect your feet.
- Weight: Because your feet carry the weight of your whole body, it’s not surprising that excess body weight elevates your chances of numerous painful conditions in the feet. Even just 25 extra pounds can cause additional problems in the ankles and feet, so weight management can help manage or avoid these problems.
- Osteoporosis: This is just one chronic condition that affects the feet and managed by eating right. It is linked to an increased risk of fractures; in fact, one of the initial signs of the disease is often a stress fracture in the foot. Elevating your intake of vitamin D and calcium can reduce the risk of a fracture, along with regular exercise.
- Inflammation: Our diet can affect inflammation in the body, which puts you at risk for several chronic conditions. It is a common cause of foot pain associated with inflammatory arthritis. It can also attack the plantar fascia, causing extreme heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis. A healthier diet with anti-inflammatory advantages is rich in fresh plant foods and excludes sugary treats and refined grain foods.
- Peripheral Artery Disease: One of the ways peripheral artery diseases are identified is by comparing the blood pressure in your arms to that in your feet. This test determines how well blood is flowing. Typical symptoms of peripheral artery disease may include soreness in the muscles of your feet. A diet low in trans-fat, sodium, and saturated fats, while also rich in vegetables and fruits, can help decrease your risk of getting the disease.
- Diabetes: Similar to peripheral artery disease, diabetes can also cause many types of foot problems to develop, from nerve damage to skin changes. Studies show that as much as 70 percent of diabetics suffer from some kind of neuropathy. Symptoms may include tingling, weakness, or burning pain in the feet. A healthy diet is one of the best ways to control blood sugar levels and manage your diabetes. It means eating fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, lean protein, and reasonable amounts of healthy fats and whole grains.
If you have questions regarding how your diet may be affecting your foot health, it’s important that you visit the offices of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center. Click here to locate the office nearest you.