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If you have ankle and foot pain, there may be some relatively simple explanations for it. For instance, did you know that diet and lifestyle can impact the way your feet feel?

It’s true. The foods you eat and the type of life you live influence the health of your ankles and feet.

Today, we’ll talk about the connection between diet and lifestyle and the condition of the feet. We’ll talk about inflammation, food that combats inflammation, and more. 

How Inflammation Can Cause Ankle Problems & Foot Pain

There are a variety of inflammatory conditions that may be the root cause of your foot and ankle pain.

For instance, you may be suffering from arthritis, which is the inflammation of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are both types of inflammation that can affect various joints, including the ankles.

You may be suffering from tendonitis, which is the inflammation of the tendons. You may have plantar fasciitis, which is heel pain caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia–the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes.

Other inflammatory conditions can cause foot and ankle pain, including gout, infections, peripheral neuropathy, autoimmune disorders, and some bowel diseases.

Foods That Combat Inflammation and Promote Joint Health

Did you know that some foods facilitate inflammation while other foods reduce it? Take a close look at what you eat, and learn which foods help to minimize inflammation.

Some of the best foods you can eat to help promote healthy joints and combat inflammation include fatty fishes such as salmon, berries such as blueberries and strawberries, nuts and seeds, turmeric, ginger, broccoli, leafy greens, olive oil, cherries, garlic, green tea, whole grains, beans and legumes, tofu and soy products, and even low-fat dairy.

Consume more of these foods and less processed, sugary items.

The Impact of Body Weight on Foot and Ankle Stress

Body weight can also significantly contribute to foot pain and ankle stress. If you carry excess weight, that weight will be borne by your feet and ankles. The pressure on your joints can cause inflammation and pain.

There are other factors to consider if you are overweight, such as your weight’s impact on the tendons and ligaments in your feet and ankles. Extra weight can impact your arches and how you walk (overpronation or over-supination), which can lead to instability, imbalance, and pain.

If you are obese, you might even suffer from stress factors in your feet and ankles. Excessive weight may also lead to reduced blood circulation, another factor that can lead to painful feet and ankles. 

Lifestyle Adjustments to Consider: The Impact of Standing Desks, Walking Habits, and More on Foot Health

Some people might tell you that standing desks are better to work at than regular desks. This is generally true for back health. However, if you already have foot pain, then standing on your feet all day long will not help. It is better to sit in an ergonomically friendly chair.

Although it might seem counterintuitive that walking is good for foot pain, it often is because walking increases circulation, and this helps reduce swelling. Check with your doctor first before starting a regular walking routine.

If you have persistent foot pain, consider getting checked for issues such as overpronation or flat feet (mentioned above). If this is the case, you may need special shoe inserts. 


If you’ve started eating more healthfully, walking more, and taking better care of your overall health, your foot pain may improve.

However, there are issues and conditions that can lead to foot pain that you can’t solve on your own. Call RPM Physical Therapy in The Woodlands, TX, for a consultation.

The staff at RPM Physical Therapy can provide you with effective treatment options to minimize or eliminate foot pain and weak ankles.

Dr. Jonathan Ruzicka
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