From A to Feet: Nutrients and Your Foot Health
You have been told your whole life to make sure you get your vitamins and minerals.
Everything seems to get tied to a specific function, too—whether it’s valid or not. “Vitamin A is good for your eyes!” “Calcium gives you strong bones!” “Vitamin C helps with colds!”
Nobody tends to say, “Take this for your feet!” But they could.
A diet rich in vitamins and minerals is good for your body in general, but they can have specific benefits to your feet as well. Now, this isn’t an excuse to overload on vitamins, but it might be worth suggesting increasing your intake of certain nutrients if there is thought to be a deficiency in play.
Changes to diet are best confirmed through your primary care physician, as they have the best general picture of your health. When it comes to your feet and ankle health, however, here are some ways that nutrients can play important roles.
Calcium (But Don’t Forget Its Partner!)
We already mentioned the link between calcium and bone health, and it’s true. This mineral can indeed promote greater bone strength, and your feet will thank you for it!
The feet endure quite a lot of force every day, just in doing their job of supporting our weight while moving. If bones aren’t sufficiently strong in our feet, they have a higher risk of developing painful problems such as stress fractures—or even full fractures! Diseases such as osteoporosis can also progressively attack the strength of your bones over time—something which a longtime calcium-rich diet can help slow.
However, our bodies are not the most efficient machines when it comes to absorbing calcium on its own. Combine it with vitamin D, however, and our bodies can put it to use much more easily! Why do you think they make a big deal about adding vitamin D to milk?
If you’re not a fan of milk, however (or it’s not a fan of you), there are plenty of alternatives for getting both calcium and vitamin D. For calcium, try spinach, kale, soybeans, and even fortified orange juice or oatmeal. For vitamin D, try fatty fish, egg yolks, salmon, and cheese.
B Vitamins Have Potential for Neuropathy Relief
Neuropathy (nerve damage) can have a big impact in the feet. Symptoms can range from tingling or burning pain, to numbness and a loss of sensation. The latter can be especially dangerous if you can’t feel when your foot has been injured!
If you have frequent pain with neuropathy, an increase in vitamins B-6 and B-12 might prove helpful—but note that this is a hard “might.”
Neuropathy has multiple reasons for occurring, and B-vitamins will help a few but not all of these cases. Still, if looking into your nutrition reveals a deficiency in your B’s, safe supplemental dosages are in most cases beneficial for additional reasons.
Vitamins for Skin Health
Vitamins A, C, and E are all helpful for preventing dryness and cracks in the skin; something our feet are not always the best at preventing. All of them should be part of a balanced diet, but vitamins A and E may also have beneficial effects when applied externally to the skin.
(If you’re out a lot in the summer and soaking up a lot of UV rays, vitamin E can be especially good.)
When it comes to vitamin A, however, be especially careful and notify your physician of any intent to adjust your current intake or use external vitamin A products. A buildup of excess vitamin A in the body can be toxic and lead to serious problems.
Balance is Key – Both in Your Feet and What You Eat
While we tend to put a laser focus on how certain nutrients benefit us in very specific ways, a holistic approach is truly best.
When we balance our diets and receive the proper amounts of all the vitamins and minerals we need, it’s going to have an overall positive effect on not only our feet, but our entire bodies. Don’t miss the forest for the trees when it comes to your eating habits.
Of course, diet isn’t going to help all foot and ankle problems. If you have had consistent pain or discomfort and the steps you’ve taken so far haven’t helped, don’t hold out. It’s time to give our office in Spring Valley a call at (845) 352-7507. We’ll schedule an appointment with you as soon as possible and help you find the relief you need.