You haven’t been very active, but you decided to do the Holiday Hustle 5K in Phoenix this month—a new race event to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital—and you came home with a torn Achilles or a sprained ankle because you weren’t really ready for this level of activity. The first thing you need to do is have your injury evaluated at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona, and then follow our instructions during your recovery—including nutrition for building tendons.
Ligaments attach bone to bone, and tendons attach bone to muscle. They are a dense band of fibers that have few capillaries to deliver blood to the tissue. When they are overstretched or torn, the damage is hard to repair because of that lack of blood supply. The good news is that certain foods have elements that help overcome these problems.
Pineapple and papaya are high on the list. The first contains bromelain and the second papain—active enzymes that are effective at getting nourishment to the cells so they can repair themselves.
Foods like broccoli, peppers, citrus, berries and tomatoes contain vitamin C, which helps in the production of collagen—the main protein in tendon tissue.
Tendons and ligaments also have a lot of calcium, so replenishing that mineral can help make tendons stronger. You can get it from fermented dairy products like yogurt and buttermilk, and foods like sardines, salmon, spinach, cabbage family foods, and peas.
Other foods that help are those high in collagen—meat stocks, poultry and fish. It seems the proponents of “chicken soup for what ails you” may have been on to something after all! Cold juicing vegetables are also a good way to get the nutrients needed for ligament health and tendon repair.
While you are eating—or drinking—all these healthy foods, don’t forget to follow our other instructions about rest, pain relief, and physical therapy to recondition the tissues. These injuries are not something to take lightly, because incomplete healing can make it more likely that you will re-injure the tissue at a future date.
To get complete information or have your sprain or tendon tear evaluated and treated, call Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona at (480) 963-9000 in Chandler, AZ, or (480) 981-1800 to schedule an appointment at our Gilbert office. We want to help your feet stay strong, so you can stay active without pain.