Osteoporosis, a disease in which your bones slowly lose more calcium than it absorbs, is usually thought of as a disease that your grandparents get and suffer from. And for the most part, that’s true. However, those with early onset osteoporosis can be diagnosed even before the more typical age of 50 years old.
The good news is that it can be prevented or slowed with good nutrition and strength training exercises. Even after diagnosis, medications are available that may help slow the bone loss process and even restart bone building.
How do your feet come into play?
Don’t forget, each foot is made of 26 bones, which means that the feet account for about a quarter of the all the bones in the body. This means that osteoporosis, a systemic disease of the bones, is likely to affect your feet and ankles.
Since your feet have to bear the weight of your entire body, that puts more pressure on them as they endure impact on the ground. The feet and ankles are more likely to experience:
- bone pain at the top of the foot
- fractures from a small injury, or even just from walking!
In fact, the bones can become so brittle that when you go in for a checkup on pain, redness, and swelling on your feet, our podiatrist may detect a fracture, and also determine that you may have osteoporosis. That’s right, some people find out they have osteoporosis because of a foot fracture!
What can you do to reduce risks
- Start young. Learn how to eat well and strengthen your body and bones when you are an active young adult. It’s best to develop healthy habits to carry through your life.
- Eat well. Be sure to have a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for good calcium absorption into the bones. Some foods, like high sodium prepackaged dinners and fizzy soda with phosphoric acid can adversely affect calcium absorption into the bones.
- Exercise often and with resistance or weights. This will help to make the bones denser, reducing the risk of weak, brittle bones later.
- Get assessed at your physicals if it runs in your family. This is especially important for women after menopause begins since hormone changes can affect calcium absorption and loss.
- Stop smoking. Smoking has shown to increase risk of osteoporosis.
Do you or someone in your family have osteoporosis? It may be passed down genetically, so consult with our podiatrist, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz, at Texas Foot Works. He will assess your feet to get you the right diagnosis so that you can get the appropriate treatment. Make an appointment today at any of our Abrams (Dallas), Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX offices!