Have you been experiencing foot pain and you can’t figure out why? Do you feel like you've got burning feet and just need relief? Research shows that vitamin deficiencies could be the problem! More specifically, B-and-D vitamin deficiencies can leave you with painful foot symptoms. So, today, we'll explore how missing vitamins can hurt your feet. And how we can supplement your diet to offer pain relief.
B-Vitamins and Your Feet
There are three types of B-vitamin deficiencies that can cause foot pain. These are Vitamin B-1, Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin B-12. Let's take a closer look at each.
Vitamin B-1 Deficiency
Vitamin B-1 is also known as thiamine. It's a water-soluble vitamin that your body can’t store (because you lose it every time you pee.) And that's a problem. Because B-1 helps you digest carbs and use fats and proteins. It also let's your body make new red blood cells and supports your immune system.
You can find B-1 naturally in pork, yeast extracts and enriched cereals. But don't get enough from your food and your levels will drop immediately. And, with all that work to do, having a B-1 deficiency can trigger several painful symptoms. These include edema, or swelling. You may also notice burning, tingling and stabbing pain in your feet and lower legs.
Vitamin B-6 Deficiency
Vitamin B-6, also called pyridoxine, does much of the same work as B-1. But it has an extra job: it also supports your nervous system. Because their work is similar, B-6 deficiencies look a lot like B-1 problems. Don't get enough of this vitamin and your feet may experience painful burning and tingling sensations.
Try adding fish, beef liver, meats and potatoes to your diet for more natural B-6 sources. But, if you have gout, you may be better off taking a supplement. Because many food-based B-6 sources can trigger this painful form of arthritis.
Vitamin B-12 Burning Feet
Like the other B-vitamins, low levels of B-12 can leave you with burning feelings in your soles, heels, or the pads of your toes. And like the other b vitamins, we can't store B-12. So we have to add it every single day.
Now, you can find vitamin B12 in several animal products. But if you are trying to cut back on animal proteins? Add a supplement. Or you'll face the risk of B-12 deficiency symptoms. We've already noted that b12 burning feet could be a problem. Numb feet could also suggest you're low on B-12. But you may also notice a sore mouth or tongue, pale skin, reduced immunity and rapid heart rate.
Unfortunately, many of these B-vitamin deficiency symptoms mimic the signs of other conditions. In fact, they really look like the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. (Remember, that's a condition that diabetics often develop. It restricts blood flow to your hands and feet, causing burning, tingling and/or numbness.)
Because B-vitamin deficiencies look like other foot problems, the best way to get a diagnosis is to come into the office. And the same is true for the next vitamin deficiency we'll look at: vitamin D.
Vitamin D and Your Feet
Vitamin D is a water-soluble nutrient. One of the best sources of Vitamin D is sunlight, because exposure to sun rays makes your skin produce the vitamin. Sounds easy for us Houstonians, right? All we need to do is go out and tan for a bit, and our D vitamins will be covered? Sadly, it's not that easy. If you want to get enough D vitamins from the sun, you'd need to be out in the midday sun for at least 10 minutes. In shorts and a tank top, without sunscreen.
So, that's certainly doable here in our near-tropical hometown. But it also raises your risk for skin damage and skin cancer. Which is why I'd rather see you supplement your D intake with food. (That could mean more milk and fish products. Or, to a lesser extent, egg yolks and beef liver.) Otherwise, you could try adding vitamins like a fish oil capsule.
What happens if you don't get enough Vitamin D? You may experience fatigue. Depression and weaker muscles are also possible. But the deficiency symptoms I'm most worried about affect your feet and ankles. Here's what to watch for.
Because your bones need vitamin D to stay strong, a deficiency ups your risk for fractures and osteoperosis. It can even up your risk for falling. Even before your bones become brittle, your feet may feel the pain of low d vitamin stores. In fact, one classic symptom of a vitamin d deficiency is mild pain or pressure in your foot bones. (You may also notice this symptom in your shin bones, pelvis, hips or lower back.)
Now, those signs indicate your bones are at a higher risk for trouble. With those increased risks, you're more likely to get stress fractures in your feet's metatarsal bones. Your ankle bones could also get these little breaks. Even unexplained general foot pain could be a sign of a D deficiency.
As I hope you can see by now, you need Vitamins B and D to support healthy feet. And you need to give me a full picture of your health routine if you're experiencing unexplained foot pain.
Why is that the case? Well, I need to know about your diet and exercise to figure out what's causing pain. And, the best way to get a full picture is to schedule an appointment with me, your Houston podiatrist.
Because tingling or burning pain in your feet could be a sign of a bad diet or a progressive nerve problem, you can't ignore your symptoms. Instead, come in and see Dr. Andrew Schneider right away. Together, we can determine the best way to relieve your painful symptoms.