The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and indulgence. Yet, for those with lower limb conditions, indulging too much can lead to negative consequences. Making health-conscious choices throughout the season can positively impact your health and allow you to step into the new year pain-free! Learn how three common lower limb ailments are impacted by the holidays below.
Your feet are one of the first areas in the body to feel the effects of diabetes. Diabetes results in elevated sugar levels that can damage your blood vessels, inhibiting blood flow to your lower limbs. The best way to lessen the effects of diabetes is to control fluctuating blood sugar and stay on top of your medication and testing routine. However, seasonal indulgence can pose an issue for diabetics. Not only do celebrations throw off a daily routine, but holiday sweets and high-calorie foods are in abundance. Before you attend a holiday party or family gathering, make a plan. Bring along healthy snacks and everything you need to stay on track, including testing supplies and medication. Avoid skipping meals that could result in a drop in sugar levels. If there is downtime after a meal, suggest a walk or hike. Getting your body moving helps lower blood glucose levels, boosts the body's sensitivity to insulin, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, improves blood flow, and relieves stress.
Gout is a particularly painful form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream. The uric acid forms sharp needle-like crystals that damage the soft tissue in your lower limbs. Food plays a pivotal role in gout, and choices made in the kitchen directly affect gout in the feet and legs. To avoid triggering a gout attack during the holidays, cutting out certain food or drinks can allow you to enjoy the holidays without suffering the consequences later. Gout triggers can include:
Red & Organ Meat - Red meat and organ meat have the highest amount of purines and should be avoided altogether. These foods are the biggest trigger for gout attacks.
Seafood - Certain seafood like anchovies, mackerel, and tuna have a high purine content.
Alcohol - Metabolizing alcohol can increase uric acid in your body and lead to dehydration. Beer is especially hard to metabolize for patients with gout.
High-Fat Foods - High-fat dairy products and fried food can contribute to gout. We recommend skipping the egg nog and opting for apple cider instead.
Peripheral Artery Disease
The build-up of plaque in the lower limbs is also known as peripheral artery disease or PAD, and if untreated, it can affect the blood flow in your body and lead to stinging pain and discomfort. Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure are more at risk for developing PAD, and the ways to treat and prevent PAD include proper diet and exercise. During the holidays, try to avoid high-calorie fatty foods and sweets. Instead of going up for seconds, pack your plate with healthy vegetables and lean proteins. It can be tempting to cuddle up under a warm blanket during the colder months, but being active at least once a day can help circulation and lower the risk of worsening PAD.
If you are experiencing any kind of foot pain this season, do not put off treatment. Delaying a doctor's visit until after the holidays can increase the risk of worsening your injury or ailment. Call 717-757-3537 to make an appointment at any of our five locations. We can help you finish the holiday season on the right foot so you can look forward to a pain-free 2023.