THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN FOR FOOT PAIN
Have you been feeling extreme pain in your feet when you walk? Do the heels of your feet feel stiff? Medical experts often diagnose these symptoms as common to patients with plantar fasciitis. Some causes for this foot problem are age, weight, certain types of exercise and some types of jobs. But did you know that plantar fasciitis, like other sources of foot pain, might also be caused by not having enough vitamin D in your body? It has been suggested that enough vitamin D in your body can actually alleviate chronic foot pain.
The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is a result of your body’s reaction to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. When your body is exposed to the sun, an innate form of cholesterol in your skin is converted to vitamin D3. This substance is then passed on to the liver, then to your kidneys and finally transformed into active vitamin D for your body to use. Called the “sunshine vitamin” because of how it is developed, vitamin D helps keep your bones healthy. With enough vitamin D, your body is able to absorb more calcium or at least enough to meet the necessary daily requirements.
When your vitamin D levels are low, your calcium levels are also low. When you don’t have enough calcium in your body, your bones are more at risk for breaks or fractures, low bone density and osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis, plantar fasciitis, arthritis and inflamed joints and tendons can all cause chronic foot pain. Osteoporosis or “porous bone” is when the bone become so weak that there is a greater risk for it to break. Since you are on your feet for so many hours in the day, you can feel extreme pain when the bones on your feet show signs of osteoporosis. You can also have pain in in the small joints of the foot and the ankle due osteoarthritis which means joint inflammation. When the cartilage in joints becomes thin, usually with age, they do not provide enough cushion for the bones and cause the latter to rub and wear against each other. Did you know that each foot has 28 bones and more than 30 joints? Imagine how it would feel if these bones and joints start to rub against each other?
Plantar fasciitis is probably one of the most common sources of chronic foot pain. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the collagen (type of connective tissue) between your plantar fascia (thick bands of tissue on the undersides of your feet) and heel bone becomes inflamed. Small tears in the fascia can occur because of too much tension and stress and these can eventually lead to inflammation or irritation.
Vitamin D and Foot Pain
Recent studies have shown that Vitamin D can be used not only to boost the body’s absorption of calcium, but also to alleviate chronic pain. One study in America showed that a controlled high dose of vitamin D improved the condition of a female patient who had been suffering from chronic pain. On a similar note, the British Medical Journal presented evidence that the processes involved in how vitamin D works for the body can result to reduction of inflammation and swelling of joints and tendons in the affected area. While these studies need further exploration, medical experts stand by the fact that vitamin D does help in increasing the body’s calcium level, which in turn promotes healthy bones and joints.
The bones and joints in your feet go through so much stress daily because of work, your weight, or simply because you need to be on your feet to complete chores. As such, these parts of your feet are prone to “wear and tear” which leads to chronic foot pain. With enough exposure to sunlight, vitamin D supplements, proper footwear and arch support you will be able to have minimal, if not avoid, chronic foot pain because your body will have enough calcium to support your bones and joints and you will have proper alignment and support.
As with all health-related problems and medications, however, it is best to get the opinion of medical experts first when your feet are in pain. Too much calcium and vitamin D can be bad for you, too.