Dr. Justin LoBello
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Long Island Podiatrist serving Massapequa and all of Nassau County

Almost everyone knows that staying hydrated is an important part of staying healthy. However, drinking enough water is often easier said than done. In today’s busy world, most adults scarcely have time to enjoy themselves after a hard day’s work—let alone track their daily fluid intake.

While dehydration can lead to uncomfortable physical sensations, it can cause much more than thirst: it can also affect your feet, aggravating ailments from gout to arthritisDehydration and foot pain

Hydration and Health

Scientists and doctors have long advised Americans to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. While hydration can help people control their diets and avoid discomfort, its physiological role should not be understated. The human body, after all, is mostly water. Every organ needs water to function, from the brain to the heart, stomach, and liver.

When people drink water, most of it is transferred to the body’s connective tissue. This includes the tendons, ligaments, and collagen fibers that help produce movement. If the body’s water supply dissipates, it is more susceptible to injury and inflammation.

Drinking Water to Alleviate Foot-Related Pain

Drinking water may not cure chronic, foot-related pain, but it can help manage symptoms for certain conditions, including:

  • Gout. Gout is a common and particularly complex form of arthritis that can affect almost anyone. Unlike some age-related arthritis conditions, gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in different joints. Drinking water can help flush out this uric acid, relieving inflammation and reducing pain.
  • Arthritis. Arthritis has a variety of causes. However, most forms of arthritis involve the deterioration of bone and subsequent inflammation of surrounding tissue. Since proper hydration practices provide connective tissue with vital fluid, drinking water can help keep arthritic pain in check.
  • Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the band of tissue connecting the heel bone and toes. Drinking water can help manage plantar fasciitis-related inflammation and pain.
  • Nerve pain. When people do not ingest enough water, their extracellular matrix—which surrounds the cells in every human tissue—can shrink, reducing the space between cells. When extracellular matrices shrink, there is more friction between tissues. This friction decreases the body’s pain tolerance.

Dehydration and under-hydration can impact the feet in other ways, too. Inadequate water intake can cause unpleasantly dry skin, cracked heels, and any number of uncomfortable, foot-related conditions.