Feel It in Your Bones

Osteoporosis literally means porous bone.  It is characterized by low bone mass, micro-architectural disruption, and increased skeletal fragility. It often leads to fractures of the wrists, hip, and spine. The first step in the prevention of osteoporosis is ensuring adequate nutrition, particularly maintaining an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D … Continue reading “Feel It in Your Bones”

Osteoporosis literally means porous bone.  It is characterized by low bone mass, micro-architectural disruption, and increased skeletal fragility. It often leads to fractures of the wrists, hip, and spine.

The first step in the prevention of osteoporosis is ensuring adequate nutrition, particularly maintaining an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D are essential to building strong, dense bones when we are young and to keeping them strong and healthy as we age.

Calcium is a major building block of bone tissue. Our skeleton houses 99% of our body’s calcium stores. The calcium in our bones acts as a reservoir for maintaining calcium levels in the blood.  Calcium is essential for healthy bones, nerves, and muscles.

Vitamin D helps to increase the absorption of calcium in our intestines, building stronger bones. Normally, only 10-15% of available calcium is absorbed by our body in absence of vitamin D. When vitamin D is added, the absorption of dietary calcium increases to 30-40%.  Vitamin D also improves muscle function, which in turn improves balance and decreases the likeliness of falls which can lead to fractures.

How much calcium and vitamin D do we need? The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends the following:

 Women age 50 and younger 1000 mg calcium and 400-600 IU vitamin D

Women age 51 and older 1200 mg calcium and 800-1000 IU vitamin D

Men < 50 years old 400-600 IU vitamin D

Men > 50 years old 800-1000 IU vitamin D

Men age 70 and younger 1000 mg calcium

Men age 71 and older 1200 mg calcium

The amounts recommended include sources of calcium from both your diet and supplements.

Calcium is found in many of our foods. Well known sources include dairy – mild, yogurt, cheese, ice cream. Dark, leafy vegetables are also a good source – kale, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy.   We now have many fortified foods (calcium has been added) – cereals, orange juice, almond milk. Did you know nuts, beans and seeds also contain calcium? Almonds, canned and dried beans, and sesame seeds all add calcium to our diets.

Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced in your skin in response to sunlight. We may not have enough exposure to the sun because of where we live, using sunscreen and clothing to prevent exposure, spending more time indoors, or having darker skin (increased melanin in our skin decreases absorption of vitamin D.) We may need to supplement vitamin D in our diets to prevent vitamin D deficiency that could lead to osteoporosis.

Please check with your physician before taking any supplements.

April: Foot Health Awareness Month!

Did you know it is estimated that by the age of 70 the average person has walked approximately 26,000 miles?! Our feet take quite a beating which causes many changes in our foot structure and gait over time. With April being Foot Health Awareness Month, we want to talk about the most common foot and … Continue reading “April: Foot Health Awareness Month!”

Did you know it is estimated that by the age of 70 the average person has walked approximately 26,000 miles?! Our feet take quite a beating which causes many changes in our foot structure and gait over time. With April being Foot Health Awareness Month, we want to talk about the most common foot and ankle problems along with specific footwear that can aide with some of these problems.

  1. Plantar Fasciitis– an inflammation of the long band of connective tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot. Heel spurs are bony overgrowths on the heel bone. Painful steps first thing in the morning are common to 83.5 % of patients with plantar fasciitis or heel spur
  2. Achilles Tendinitis-an irritation and inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the back of the heel bone
  3. Ankle Sprains– Most common injury caused by activity. Walking, jogging, running along uneven surfaces and sports can cause this injury
  4. Bunions– an enlargement at the base of the big toe, caused by a misalignment of the joint. They tend to be hereditary, but can be aggravated by shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot
  5. Athlete’s Foot and Onychomycosis– Athlete’s foot is a common infection of the skin characterized by itching, scaling, redness and the formation of small blisters. Onychomycosis is a nail fungus causing thickened, brittle, crumbly, or ragged nails, which can start from Athlete’s Foot
  6. Hammertoes– these are hereditary skeletal issues, affecting any toe on the foot
  7. Flat Foot/Fallen Arches– a structural deformity that causes the lowering of the arch of the foot. Painful fallen arches or high arches may need treatment such as custom orthotics or surgery. People with flat feet may have ankle, knee or low back pain
  8. Neuroma-an enlarged benign growth of nerves, commonly between the third and fourth toes. This can result in pain, burning, tingling or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot. Poorly fitting shoes, high heels, trauma and heredity can all be causes

Shoes – What to Avoid and What to Wear

The obvious shoes to avoid- high heels (stilettos), tall wedges, very flat shoes with little to no support. The obvious shoes to wear- sneakers, or shoes with a cushion/support. If you cannot avoid a heel, look for something no higher than 2 inches. Chose a lace up shoe versus a slip on. Avoid plastic or vinyl shoes and opt for something more breathable. A flexible sole in a shoe is important so it allows your toes to bend when you walk.

How do You Find the Right Shoes?

  • Try shoes on at the end of the day when your feet are at the largest they will be
  • If you own orthotics make sure to bring those with you
  • Ignore sizing and pay attention to how your foot actually feels
  • There should be a 1/2 inch space from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe
  • Walk around the store in them

If you are experiencing any of the above foot/ankle problems or have some concerns please contact your physical therapist, doctor or local podiatrist for more information.