Eating for healing

When a foot or ankle injury occurs, the home treatment method, RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation, is often implemented. What is often forgotten about or underestimated is the importance of nutrition. 

When an injury happens, your body gets in “repair” mode and actually changes in what nutritional needs it requires. Whether it is to restore an injury to cartilage, bone, muscles or nerves your body is going to need a balanced diet full of appropriate nutrients to maximize healing. During an injury, your metabolic rate can actually go up by as much as 30% and your body needs energy from food to heal properly. When your body is trying to heal and repair itself, vitamins and minerals are essential. 

Vitamins and Minerals Important for Healing 

Vitamin C – This vitamin aids in the production of collagen, which helps make tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Collagen is essential for repair and healing. Vitamin C can be found in green peppers, oranges, broccoli, potatoes and strawberries. 

Vitamin A – Promoting cell growth and boosting immunity, Vitamin A is foods such as liver, sweet potatoes, carrots and mangoes. 

Calcium and Vitamin D – These two go hand in hand. We need calcium to strengthen bones and Vitamin D for the body to absorb it. Calcium and Vitamin D consumption would be especially important after a fracture injury. 

Another important part of any balanced diet but especially after an injury is protein. Protein is very beneficial in helping to build and repair muscle and tissues and it also boots immunity. Foods such as fish, chicken, nuts and grains are a great way to get needed protein. 

Inflammation can significantly impact the healing process after an injury. There are many foods available that have anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing swelling and inflammation. The fruit and vegetable department is your best section for finding foods that help with inflammation. Foods specifically with omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna, seeds and nuts have also been proven effective in reducing inflammation. It is important after an injury to avoid sugary and foods with trans and saturated fats as they can actually increase inflammation.

 

Can Nutrition Help with Edema? 

Edema is a condition that occurs when tissues retain too much fluid. This can happen in feet for a variety of reasons such as changes in altitude, sitting for too long and hormonal changes. 

Modifying or changing your nutritional intake can significantly improve edema, or swelling in the feet. Salt is a big culprit. Foods that are high in sodium can lead to swelling around your ankles and feet. Choose low sodium foods when possible and limit how much salt you use during cooking. Fresh fruit with high water content such as watermelon, oranges and pears can also help reduce swelling. 

With any foot or ankle injury, it will take time for the healing process to take its course. Dr. Danciger provides all of his patients with a very specific treatment plan depending on the nature of their injury. Nutrition is something each patient has control over to either help or hinder the recovery and healing process.

If you have a foot or ankle injury that has yet to be treated or an old one that has never healed properly, call our office today (760) 568-0108 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Danciger. He can diagnose what is going on and start you on the right path to a full recovery. 

Dr. Harvey Danciger
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle