May is National Osteoporosis Month and at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we want to offer 52 reasons—all the bones in your feet–why you should be concerned about this disease. Patients with osteoporosis make too little bone, lose too much bone or both. The end result is weakened bones that are more likely to fracture. Many people are unaware that they even have osteoporosis. In fact, when our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas diagnose a stress fracture in the foot it is often then osteoporosis is discovered.
Know Your Risk
Osteoporosis affects half of all adults over the age of 50. One in four men and one in two women will break a bone in their lifetime as a result of osteoporosis. For women, that incidence is higher than the risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined! Factors that put you at greater risk include:
- Early menopause
- A family history of osteoporosis or frequent fractures
- Body type—thin, small people are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis
Build Stronger Bones
Fortunately, there are ways you can greatly reduce your risk of osteoporosis and future fractures:
- Start by talking to the foot doctor about your risk, particularly if you have already broken a bone in your foot or ankle. The podiatrist can refer you to testing and medical professionals that can help assess your risk.
- Up your intake of calcium and vitamin D. You can do this by including more dairy products or those fortified with calcium and vitamin D (juices and cereals, for example) in your diet. You can also add more leafy greens and fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel and other non-dairy foods that are rich in calcium to your meals. Supplements are also available.
- Make exercising regularly a priority. Both weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises should be part of your fitness routine if you want to build and maintain bone strength in your feet, ankles and the rest of your body.
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess—these are both known to weaken bones and also lead to nutritional deficits which can further decrease bone mass.
Take measures now to ensure that you can keep taking steps and living an active life for many years to come. If you have questions about the health of your foot and ankle bones, contact our Long Beach office by calling: (562) 420-9800.