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Pain and Inflammation: The Connection Between Food and Your Feet

The connection between your stomach and your feet is actually a lot closer than most people realize, says Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum of Delray Beach Podiatry.

The Connection Between Food and Your Feet

The Connection Between Food and Your Feet

“You are what you eat,” Dr. Goldbaum says with a chuckle, “and that old saying most certainly extends all the way to your feet.”

As more information continues to come out about the connection between healthy eating and healthy living, it’s been discovered that certain foods can potentially increase the amount of chemicals in your body that have been known to cause tissue inflammation.

This inflammation, according to Dr. Goldbaum, could manifest itself as anything from excessive heel pain to a common condition known as plantar fasciitis, which is pain caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of connective tissue running from your heel bone to the front of your foot.

Of the foods that are known to encourage inflammation, refined grains, sugar, and trans fats – basically the ingredients found in many junk foods – are some of the biggest culprits. Additionally, saturated fat in red meat and certain vegetable oils, such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oils, have also been known to put your body at an increased risk of inflammation.

“These foods, while often delicious, can cause big problems for patients who are prone to conditions such as plantar fasciitis or gout,” says Dr. Goldbaum. “If you are forced to deal with these problems regularly, a change in diet, coupled with other treatments, will likely go a long way in improving most of these conditions.”

Another factor that can contribute to inflammation is eating too many foods that cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, such as sweets, white flour, and pasta. This is especially problematic for diabetics, who are already more prone to foot-related ailments due to the nature of their condition.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends a diet rich in whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits, lean meats, and a limited amount of fats and sweets for people with diabetes.

When crafting your diet, however, it’s almost important to avoid foods that have been known to cause gout, which is a type of arthritis that occurs when needle-shaped urate crystals accumulate in joints, causing inflammation, redness, swelling and intense pain. These urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood.

Uric acid is a substance that results from the breakdown of purines, which are part of all human tissue and are found in many common foods. Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. When your body either produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid, however, the buildup of acid can form crystals.

The more purines you ingest, the more uric acid your body creates, increasing the risk of gout. These purine-rich foods can trigger a gout flare-up relatively quickly — often within two days of eating higher amounts of them, a study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found. These gout-triggering foods include red meat, seafood, organ meats and sugary drinks.

While it may seem like it’s impossible to enjoy a few tasty treats without exposing yourself to the conditions discussed in this article, a proper diet based on moderation should make it possible for you delight your tastebuds without sacrificing the health of your feet.

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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