Ooh! The joys of getting older.
So, some of you may know that I had bunion surgery on my right foot on Memorial Day weekend, 2014. My foot wasn't terribly deformed but it hurt fairly regularly, especially if I was wearing heels. Most would just say not to wear heels and I had eased up on wearing them a bit but I knew that something wasn't right when my foot would hurt even in flats or gym shoes. I was apprehensive about having surgery until I participated in the Chase Challenge in Chicago where corporations and individuals either walk or run a few miles for charity. It is truly an awesome event. I chose to walk because I'm not a runner but my foot was hurting after the walk. So, in to surgery I went.
Now, my healing process went well, thank God! I have had surgery before (toes, eyes, fibroids, etc) and I have always been one to heal fairly quickly. So why would I think that this event would be any different? After all, I have been and continue to be in fairly good health. I'm not overweight and I do try to take care of myself in the form of good nutrition and rest (I'm still a work in progress with both). So, I exercised a bit to test out my foot while recuperating. I ran on the treadmill (now, I told you that I'm not a runner so what made me decide to do this is beyond me) and I did some fairly high impact exercises when trying out a Kettleburn class run by my friend and fitness coach, Charles Shepard of Body By Nature Fitness in Chicago (you'll hear from him in one of my future posts). I seemed to make it through both exercises just fine! I'm healed...or so I thought.
Fast forward to December 1, 2014. Our women's group at work held an event and I found myself walking around the building a bit to ensure that we everything was running according to plan (I was on the organizing committee). The day went well and I began walking to the train station with a triumphant feeling, knowing that we had presented an awesome, meaningful activity to women at the company. I almost walked with a skip but, by the time I got to the train station (which is only about a 12-15 minute walk), I was nearly crawling! My foot was in enormous pain.
I figured that I had "tweaked" it some way and decided to try to soak the foot and elevate it. But, when it was still sore and swollen two weeks later, I made an appointment for my podiatrist, convinced that something had gone wrong with the surgery (the pain was in the same foot that was operated on only months before). Dr. Steven Gelsomino did an X-ray and didn't see anything (the bunion area looked great) but, after feeling on my foot, he suspected that I may have had a stress fracture. So, I hobbled around a bit more but tried to elevate the foot as often as possible. I went back for another check up and, lo and behold, we were able to confirm that I did, indeed, have a stress fracture. Fortunately, it is healing well but I won't be able to jump or run on the foot for a few more weeks.
I've heard the term "stress fracture" many times before but I wanted to see what causes it. So, I looked at About.com under Sports Medicine (http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/foot_facts) and learned that a stress fracture in the bones of the foot is usually caused by overtraining or overuse. It can also be caused by repeated pounding or impact on a hard surface, such as running on concrete. The article said that women seem to be at greater risk of foot stress fractures, possibly because of a related condition called "the female athlete triad". This is a combination of poor nutrition, eating disorders and infrequent menstrual cycles that predispose women to early osteoporosis or thinning of the bones.
Now, I know that I don't always eat the best but I have fairly decent nutrition habits. I definitely don't have an eating disorder and my menstrual cycle runs like clockwork every month. But I am getting older and we know with age comes the possibility of osteoporosis. So,I didn't take what I learned lightly. I realized that I need to ensure that I'm incorporating foods and supplements that are rich in calcium and magnesium (which helps the body absorb the calcium) to avoid further issues with my bones. According to EHow (www.ehow.com), foods that contain magnesium include seafood, dark green vegetables, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, pears, beans, avocados, dark chocolate. Interestlingly, figs are high in magnesium. Foods containing calcium include most dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese but also turnips, collar greens, kelp, kale, broccoli, legumes, parsley and almonds.
While eating the right foods is imperative, many will find that supplements will assist in ingesting the right nutrients because it's not always easy to obtain them through our foods. The August, 2014 issue of Better Nutrition magazine had a great article about bone health in it. Thomas E. Levy, MD, advises that "While it's true that the human body requires the mineral (calcium) to grow and maintain bones and perform other functions, there are some very real dangers in getting too much. And skimping on other nutrients that are essential for calcium to be utilized by our bones can compound the risks.". The article (written by Vera Tweed) recommends the following to aid in maintaining strong bones:
- 500 mg of Vitamin C
- 500 - 700 mg of Calcium (most of which may be obtained from food but you can supplement to obtain the rest)
- 400 mg of Magnesium
- 1,000 - 2,000 IU of Vitamin D
- Vitamin K (daily dosages vary depending on the form used)
- 680 mg of Strontium
In the same article, Marita Schauch, BSc, ND advises that it's important to have strong digestion to aid your body's ability to adsorb the calcium. "As you age, your stomach acid and absorption capabilities decrease, increasing the likelihood of vital and mineral deficiencies. In fact, estimates show that decreased (or low) stomach aid is seen in as many as 40 percent of postmenopausal women."
Okay. I'm convinced. I am already taking the Healthy Start Digestive Pak from Youngevity. It contains all of the important nutrients needed for a healthy balance every day. But Beyond Osteo-fx (which is in the Healthy Start Pak) is probably what will do the most to help me maintain healthier bones as it contains Vitamin D3, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, MSM, glucosamine sulfate, KCi, boron and strontium. You can go to www.youngevity.com for more information on it.
As for my stress fracture, I won't be able to wear heels for a while now. I'm in flats and gym shoes or boots (it's still January in Chicago, after all) every day. Aside from the supplements and eating healthy foods, I have been using arnica on it. The same issue of Better Nutrition has an article on this homeopathic treatment which aids in healing. I'll be good as new before you know it!
...Now hear the word of the Lord.