Many times foot pain is not only caused by an injury or developing problem but from an underlying condition such as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis means “porous bone” and develops when a lack of calcium causes bones to become thin and weak.
How can osteoporosis affect the foot?
Osteoporosis is commonly seen in women over the age of 50 although men and younger people can get it as well. It has also been labeled the “silent disease” due to the fact that many people have it and don’t realize it until they have foot pain or a fracture. It can progress without any symptoms until all of a sudden, an unexplained fracture indicates its presence. Dr. Danciger has had many patients come in to his Palm Desert, CA podiatric office with foot pain only to find that it is from a fracture due to having osteoporosis.
The weakened bones can make walking or exercising more difficult and cause redness and swelling in the feet. Normal activities that caused you to bear weight on the foot may be hindered significantly.
What are symptoms to be aware of?
Since osteoporosis can go undetected for a long time, it is important to take note of any unusual pain or sudden symptom and have it evaluated as soon as possible. Examples of symptoms to look for are:
- Increased pain
- Difficulty with walking or exercise
- Redness and swelling on the top of the foot
Dr. Danciger often finds patients wait to have their feet looked at, hoping the pain will just go away on its own. This is never a good idea. Since you are not capable of knowing if the pain is stemming from a fracture, it is imperative for the health of your feet to have pain diagnosed early.
How can you protect your feet with osteoporosis?
Since your bones are in a fragile, weakened state due to the osteoporosis, it is very important to protect your feet from stress fractures.
- Wear shoes that support and cushion your feet. Weak feet need shoes with extra shock absorption qualities.
- Use custom orthotics if necessary to further cushion feet and provide extra support during exercise.
- Low to moderate exercise can actually help strengthen bones. Be very careful though to wear appropriate shoes and to not put too much stress on feet. Stop when pain is present.
- Eat adequate amounts of calcium rich foods and/or take supplements. You will also need adequate amounts of Vitamin D as well as it is needed for the absorption of calcium.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol if you already have symptoms of osteoporosis as they can increase bone loss.
If you are having unexplained foot pain or suspect a fracture without remembering an injury, please have your symptoms diagnosed early in the case that it may be osteoporosis. Dr. Danciger will be able to use X-ray, diagnostic ultrasound and bone density tests to determine the health of your bones and identify whether a fracture has occurred.
Any foot issue left ignored will only become more serious. Contact our podiatric office at (760) 568-0108 and make an appointment with Dr. Danciger. You can also make an appointment by visiting our homepage.