Perhaps the last thing on your mind when you’re digging into a delicious meal is your feet, but did you know that what you eat directly effects not only your overall health, but the health of your feet? A well-balanced diet can mean a world of difference when it comes to wound healing, nerve health, and overall comfort. If you’re a diabetic, you’re no stranger to paying attention to what you eat when it comes to keeping your feet on the right path, but everyone’s feet can benefit from a balanced diet and proper portions to keep them moving.
If you’ve ever googled “big toe pain,” it’s likely you’ve seen a variety of information on gout. This condition is caused by a build up of uric acid in the joint, and commonly causes pain, redness, and swelling of the big toe. Although it is usually localized to the lower extremities, gout can affect any of the joints. Luckily, this condition can usually be treated or warded off all together with a proper diet consisting of avoiding red meat, caffeine, seafood, and alcohol. I’m sure you’re asking yourself what else there is to eat and the answer is FRUITS AND VEGGIES!
These healthy treats will also come in handy when it comes to healing. Wounds and bones alike crave a balanced diet complete with protein, calcium, and vitamin D to help your body absorb everything. The good news is that a reliable source of all 3 of these is CHEESE! Hard cheeses are high in calcium and protein, but be wary of indulging too much, as cheese is high in sodium which can negatively impact your blood pressure if over-consumed. Leafy greens are also a wonderful source of vitamin D and iron, so reaching for spinach, kale, or collard greens is always a good move.
One of the concerns I hear of most from patients is how to address their foot and leg cramping. Many patients are plagued by these dreaded contractures at least once in their life, and, depending on the severity of the cramp, muscles can be torn or strained during the cramping which cause longer-lasting aches and pains. The two main deterrent’s of cramping are water and potassium. Although you normally hear about bananas being the best source of calcium, the high amount of sugar makes them better for a pre or post workout snack. Both avocados and coconut water have about as much potassium as bananas with less than half the sugar.
As always, if you need help regulating your diet or tending to an issue in the foot or ankle, Frederick Foot & Ankle has your back! Our physicians are happy to discuss preventative care options with you and help guide your new diet, so you can start off on the right foot.