Walking is an indispensable activity of our daily life
Even if our day only needs us to walk from the car to the workplace and back home. We are often required to spend some time on our feet irrespective of activities; we do at our home or outside. However, we often neglect to take care of our foot health, and the reasons are many. It could be on-trend with the latest fashion footwear that does not offer adequate room for toes or running barefoot. Many of us carry on daily activities without much caring about our foot health which may be detrimental in the long run.
A healthy diet can help manage chronic conditions that cause foot problems. Eating certain foods can reduce the risk of inflammation and other diseases that can affect your feet. A healthy diet can help manage chronic conditions that cause foot problems.
Can nutrition play a role in the development and treatment of foot conditions?
When most people think about nutrition and health, they typically associate the food they eat with weight management or heart health. But diet plays many vital roles in overall health and can affect different body parts, even our feet. The feet connected to the rest of your body, and what you put into your body make up your body.
Inflammation, Diet, and Your Feet
Inflammation is a defense mechanism in the body defences. It stops abnormal cells' growth, promotes healing of injured tissues, and signals cells to fight off viral and bacterial infections. Still, when inflammation persists, it requires the body to recruit different mediators to protect the cells. When these mediators are present for prolonged periods, they can destroy healthy tissue and trigger the disease.
Inflammation is a common cause of foot pain associated with inflammatory arthritis types such as psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. It can also strike the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, causing the intense heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
Many common foods believed to encourage inflammation, such as the refined grains, sugar, and trans fats in baked goods and junk foods; the saturated fat in red meat; and the omega-6 fats found in many commonly used vegetable oils, such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oils, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
People may also develop increased inflammation levels in their bodies due to chronic allergies to common foods such as wheat. One 2014 case study suggests eliminating the protein gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye may benefit patients with plantar fasciitis. The study reported the case of a woman whose plantar fasciitis went into remission when she maintained a gluten-free diet. Still, it did not prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship and only included one patient.
Another dietary factor contributing to inflammation is eating too many foods that cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, such as sweets, white flour, and pasta.
To reduce inflammation, Greene advises patients to eat more omega-3 fats. Fatty fish such as salmon and fish oil supplements are good sources of omega-3s. Most people's diets provide far more omega-6s than omega-3s so that a fish-rich diet can address this imbalance.
A healthy diet with anti-inflammatory benefits is rich in green vegetables and other fresh plant foods and eliminates refined grain foods and sugary treats.
Osteoporosis, Diet, and Your Feet
Many chronic conditions that affect the feet can be better managed by eating right. One such condition is osteoporosis, a disease of progressive bone loss.
Osteoporosis is associated with an increased risk of fractures, and one of the first signs of the disease is often a stress fracture in the foot. Increasing your dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D can decrease the risk of a fracture and other lifestyle changes like regular exercise.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are among the best dietary sources of calcium. But remember that saturated fats, which found in full-fat dairy products, are on the list of things that can increase inflammation.
You can also get dietary calcium from some green vegetables; and many products such as certain cereals, bread, and juices contain added calcium. Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, can be found in fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna.
Peripheral Artery Disease, Diet, and Your Feet
Two common conditions that affect millions of Americans' feet are peripheral artery disease and diabetes. These conditions can damage arteries that bring blood to your lower extremities.
One way peripheral artery disease (PAD) diagnosed is by comparing the blood pressure in your feet to your arms' blood pressure. This test, known as an ankle-brachial index (ABI), determines how well blood is flowing. The ankle pressure is generally at least 90 per cent of the arm pressure, but severe narrowing may be less than 50 per cent.
Common symptoms of peripheral artery disease may include discomfort in the muscles of your feet. In severe cases, patients have extreme pain or tingling in the feet or toes.
A diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium, while also rich in fruits and vegetables, can help reduce the risk of peripheral artery disease, consuming omega-3s as a way to lower the risk of peripheral artery disease.
Diabetes, Diet, and Your Feet
Like peripheral artery disease, diabetes can cause many foot problems, from skin changes to nerve damage, or neuropathy. As much as 70 per cent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. Symptoms may include burning pain, tingling, or weakness in the feet.
An estimated 1 out of every three people with diabetes over age 50 also has peripheral artery disease.
A healthy diet is one of the keys to controlling blood sugar levels and managing your diabetes. A diabetes diet, like any healthy eating plan, means eating fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and moderate amounts of whole grains and healthy fats.
Weight, Diet, and Your Feet
Given that your feet bear the weight of your entire body, it's not surprising that being overweight can lead to foot problems. Excess body weight increases your chances of a variety of painful conditions in the feet.
Besides the other benefits of a healthy diet, weight management can help avoid or manage conditions affecting the feet. Even 25 extra pounds can tip the scales to more problems in the foot and ankle,
Bad Habits That Can Harm Your Foot Health
Going barefoot in a public shower
The fungus can grow everywhere, and it can easily infect your feet. If you experience changes in skin pigmentation, redness or itchiness, then it may be a result of a fungal infection. Using gym locker room and public shower can cause this infection. These places are the breeding grounds for fungi which can quickly attack human barefoot.
Not drying your feet before wearing socks and shoes.
Wet surfaces are the most susceptible place where germs can multiply. The dark and enclosed wet surface is a den of fungi breeding and bacterial growth. Thus wet socks and shoes can cause favourable situation for bacterial growth. Surplus of bacterial growth causes a foul smell on the feet. This scenario would cause social awkwardness.
One must thoroughly dry after a foot or bath wash and the corners between the toes. Application of foot powder would also help dilute the remaining wetness on the feet and prevent the feet' sweat.
Ignoring clues on your feet
Ignoring the clues on our feet can cause a severe health condition. Any unusual occurrence on the feet can be a symptom of a severe health condition. It is best to consult with podiatrists so one can eliminate any doubts about that condition. For example, if you suddenly start experiencing unusual hair shedding on your feet, it may be caused by poor blood circulation. We recommend you check your feet daily.
Wearing pointed shoes frequently.
Wearing pointed and fashionable shoes can make you appear trendy. Still, it can compromise your feet' health as per the recommendation from the podiatrists. This type of footwear can even cause ailments like bunions, hammertoes, corn, and calluses extremely painful in nature with swollen feet. Pointed pumps that push toes to squeeze into a clinched space, if one wears them for too long.
Dismissing fungus on toenails
A particular discolouration and thickening on toenails may indicate that you may have fungal toenails. These type of condition may cause not itchiness on the nails. It is advisable to consult with a podiatrist to receive proper treatment for a fungal toenail.
FUNGAL NAIL TREATMENT
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With being said, most of the foot problems originate from bad habits and wearing ill-fitted shoes. For the best practices, please consult a podiatrist to take care of your feet in a proper manner.