The joints in your feet—and there are 33 of them in each foot, by the way—are what allow your bones to glide over one another enabling you to do essential activities like walking, jumping and running. As we age, the cartilage in our joints can naturally start to breakdown resulting in bone rubbing on bone and causing painful conditions such as arthritis to develop. This week we celebrate Bone and Joint Health Awareness Week and at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we want patients to take a proactive approach to the health of their joints because of the big impact it has on your feet and the rest of your body.
Preventing Joint Problems
Although it’s true that the conditions that affect our joints, such as gout, arthritis and osteoporosis are not completely preventable, there are steps that patients can take at any age that will help ensure joint health now and in the future.
Be Active—physical activity actually helps protect your joints in a few ways. First, exercising regularly or participating in a sport helps build and maintain muscle which supports your joints. Exercise also helps you stay flexible—with joints, the saying “use it or lose it” definitely applies. Another benefit of being active is it can help you lose or maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts significant strain on the joints of your feet and other lower extremities, causing them to deteriorate faster.
Eat Purposefully—your diet also plays a big role in maintaining a normal weight. Fortunately, many of the aspects of a well balanced diet also improve joint health: avoiding sugars, processed foods, fried foods and refined flours can also reduce inflammation. Some studies show that there are some foods that fight inflammation. These include: berries, cherries, certain nuts and fish and leafy greens like kale and bok choy.
Guard Against Injuries—if you take a survey of adults with arthritis, many people will attest to the fact that a site injured in youth (knee, ankle, foot) later became a site where arthritis developed. Always wear protective gear for sports and warm up and stretch before exercise.
If you do sustain an injury, contact our Long Beach office right away by calling: 562-420-9800 so our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas can examine your foot or ankle. Prompt treatment and complete rehabilitation are two ways to guard against future joint injury and disease.