Did you know that for adults over the age of 50, one in two women and one in four men will break a bone due to osteoporosis? This disease which results in weak bones is the cause of an estimated two million broken bones each year and yet, almost 80% of older Americans who suffer fractures are not tested or treated for osteoporosis. Here at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, we sometimes find that a stress fracture in the foot is a red flag for osteoporosis.
Below are 4 areas to focus on for protecting yourself from weak bones and fractures:
- Know your risk—osteoporosis is often referred to as a "silent disease" because you can’t feel your bones weakening. It is however, more likely to occur in patients who have a small body frame and who have other family members or parents who have been diagnosed with it. Many factors can cause bone loss including:
- Digestive disorders, such as celiac disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Certain cancers
- Neurological injuries or disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease or stroke
- Liver or kidney disease
- Certain medications
If you have any concerns about your risk factors, you should discuss them with our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco. He can help you determine if a bone density or other tests might be needed.
- Increase your calcium intake—it’s never too early or too late to up the amount of calcium in your diet. Calcium helps build strong bones. In addition to the best-known sources—dairy products—add more dark leafy greens, such as kale, turnip greens and broccoli rabe to your menus. Consider a calcium supplement if you are not getting enough through foods.
- Vary your exercise routine—patients with low bone density can benefit from multiple types of exercise. Weight-bearing exercises like walking outside or on a treadmill, or low-impact aerobics keep bones strong. Muscles support bones so exercises that strengthen muscles are helpful too. Try some form of exercise that uses weights or exercise bands. Lastly, fitness activities designed to improve balance can aid in preventing falls.
- Fall proof your home—assess possible dangers and correct or eliminate them:
- Be sure loose rugs and carpets have skid proof backing or are tacked to the floor or, better yet, remove them.
- Arrange your cabinets so that commonly used items are on lower shelves and in the front.
- Clear all pathways of clutter, electrical cords and small furniture or planters that are low to the ground.
- Install grab bars in the bathroom.
There is much that you can do to protect your feet (and the rest of your body) from fractures and falls. To learn more, contact our Cape May County office by calling: (609) 927-4894.