When people think of osteoporosis, they may think of it in relation to the spine and hips—quite possibly the wrists and ribs, as well. However, osteoporosis can also affect your feet. In fact, seemingly unexplained foot fractures may be an early indication that you have osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis means “porous bones," and that your bones are losing their density, making them thinner and easily breakable. Foot fractures from osteoporosis can come in the form of stress fractures, which are tiny fractures that cause small cracks in your feet. Because of the lack of structure to the bones, they become weak, which can lead to fractures.
In their advanced stages, fractures can happen from something as simple as getting out of bed in the morning. These fractures can occur anywhere, but most commonly occur in the neck, low back, hip, wrists and feet. In the feet, these fractures often occur with repetitive trauma due to wearing unsupportive shoes, such as flip-flops. With this loss of structure comes the collapse of joints in the feet, which can cause arthritis and pain. Fractures in the feet from osteoporosis can range from small stresses in the bone to large displaced breaks that require surgery. However, surgery for osteoporotic patients can be a challenge.
The sooner you deal with stress fractures the better. If you have pain in your feet that seems beyond any normal soreness, you should visit your podiatrist for further diagnosis and treatment.
What do I do?
The general advice for aging people is to make sure you have enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Exercise is also vital for increasing bone strength and protecting you against these painful fractures. Any type of activity in which you move is good—walking, running, swimming, dancing and even bowling can be just what you need to strengthen your bones. If you have foot issues and are unsure of how much your feet can take, talk to your podiatrist.
Be sure to choose shoes that offer proper support to your feet and ankles as well. Your podiatrist might recommend orthotics to give you that extra support to your arches. Even if your bones are not affected by osteoporosis, orthotics can still help you by providing extra stability that may save you from a fall that could break other bones.
Your feet play an important role in making aging easy and less painful. Avoid the dangers of osteoporosis by taking care of your overall health and paying attention to your feet! If you have any foot problems or pain, contact our office for proper diagnosis and treatment.