Do you suffer from painful osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in your mid- and/or hind-foot? To reduce your pain and improve your foot function, are you thinking about having an arthrodesis procedure – more commonly called foot fusion surgery? Well, if you live in the northern United States, before you have surgery, maybe you should ask your doctor to test you for vitamin D deficiency. Recent studies have found that vitamin D deficiency is common in patients who live in northern states and are undergoing mid- or hind-foot arthrodesis procedures.
What Is Mid-foot Arthrodesis?
Mid-foot arthrodesis is a procedure known as mid-foot fusion. During the procedure, the bones and joints in your mid-foot that make up your arch and connect your forefoot to your hind-foot are fused together using screws or plates. Depending upon your particular case, you may have to have one or more of your mid-foot joints fused together. The joints in your mid-foot are relatively stiff, which means they don’t bend and move like your knee or elbow joints. Therefore you probably won’t notice much of a difference in the motion of your foot since there isn’t much motion in this area to begin with. Besides reducing your pain and improving function, mid-foot fusion helps stabilize the arch of your foot and restore your normal walking ability.
What Is Hind-foot Arthrodesis?
Similar to a mid-foot fusion, hind-foot arthrodesis or hind-foot fusion is a procedure in which the subtalar, talonavicular and/or calcaneocuboid joints in your foot are fused together with screws or plates. Again, depending upon your individual situation, you may have one or more of your hind-foot joints fused together. Hind-foot fusion is done to relieve pain and straighten and stabilize your foot. However, you will lose all movement in the fused joints. So you won’t be able to twist your foot inwards or outwards very well – if at all. And walking on uneven ground or running will be more difficult for you.
Vitamin D Deficiency in Patients Having Arthodesis
A medical study looked at 81 patients living in Burlington, Vermont, who were undergoing mid-foot or hind-foot arthrodesis procedures. They found that 67% of these patients had vitamin D deficiency. Burlington has a latitude of 44.5° north. Vitamin D deficiency is also very common in latitudes above 30° north. Additionally, the authors found that patients with diabetes and/or multiple co-morbid conditions also had an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Unfortunately, the study didn’t show how low levels of vitamin D can contribute to the need for a mid- or hind-foot fusion. But the researchers recommend that all patients who are going to have a foot fusion procedure should be tested for vitamin D deficiency. In general, doctors know that vitamin D deficiency can delay or interfere with the healing of the bones following fusion. If patients are found to be lacking in vitamin D, the researchers recommend patients receive high-dose vitamin D treatments:
- 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 for 3 times a week for 2 months.
- 2000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.
- 750 mg of calcium carbonate twice a day.
However, more studies are needed to determine how vitamin D levels affect the healing of bones and prevent potential complications following surgery.
Nutrition in Your Shoes – ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics
Vitamin D helps your bones absorb calcium while calcium helps build stronger bones and keep your muscles functioning properly. ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics are like adding nutrition in your shoes to help support your feet and keep your gait functioning correctly. These custom orthotics are biomechanically designed to guide your feet into better alignment – providing your arches with the proper support they need while reducing stress on your bones and joints.
When you don’t get enough vitamin D, you can increase your risk of certain diseases. Similarly, when you walk with improper biomechanics of the foot, you can develop foot conditions like corns, bunions and plantar fasciitis. But proactive use of ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics can reduce your risk of developing these conditions and relieve any foot pain you may experience. Order your pair of ezWalker® Custom Orthotics from the WalkEZStore today.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.