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 arthritis.
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.
Signs You Aren’t Drinking Enough Water
- Dry skin
- Recurring headaches
- Chronic soreness, stiffness, or arthritic pain
- Dark-colored urine
- Brittle or unusually colored toenails
Your Diet Could Help Protect Your Feet
Staying properly hydrated is key to helping alleviate inflammation-related pain symptoms. But besides drinking water, you should also consider adding more water-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet. This could include oranges, pineapples, strawberries, and even lettuce.
Changing your diet could have benefits beyond hydration. Since many fruits and vegetables are rich in the nutrients needed to maintain strong, healthy cells, a more holistic diet could help your body build more resilient feet.
How a Podiatrist Could Help Your Foot Pain
Painful feet and joints are often inherited from parents. While lifestyle changes can help alleviate pain-related symptoms, many foot conditions are not curable. However, many of these conditions—including gout and arthritis—can be managed, making everyday life more bearable.
You deserve to live a healthy, pain-free life. Long Island Heel Pain has the medical experience needed to identify, diagnose, and effectively treat your foot-related pain. Please send us a message online, or call us at 516-541-9000 to schedule your appointment.