There are a few bodily systems that will regularly come up when dealing with orthopedic care or surgical needs, and tendons are at or near the top of this list. Numerous factors impact the health of tendons, both generally and especially during any kind of injury recovery, and one that sometimes doesn’t get enough attention here is diet.
At The Orthopaedic Center, we’re here to offer Tulsa’s very best orthopedic solutions, including shoulder and elbow care, hip pain treatment, sports medicine and more. We deal with tendons on a regular basis, and frequently offer our patients important information on how to keep tendons healthy. Here are some of the key areas where proper diet impacts tendon health, whether you’re recovering from a specific injury or simply looking to keep your tendons in optimal shape.
Tendons are already at somewhat of a natural disadvantage when it comes to circulation compared to other bodily systems. Muscles, for instance, get much more natural blood flow than tendons do – this means it takes tendons longer to repair and regenerate.
Unfortunately, those who have dietary habits that are unhealthy or lack the necessary nutrients can create further circulation issues. A diet that’s high in fat, for instance, can lead to elevated cholesterol levels – and that leads to reduced blood flow overall.
On the flip side, eating a diet that’s rich in the right kinds of nutrients can actually improve circulation to tendons and other related tissues. This is another key area where proper diet significantly impacts tendon health and recovery for the better.
Our bodies are intertwined systems of signals, which is why so many forms of orthopedic care involve more than just the specific area where symptoms appear.
When it comes to tendon health and recovery, nutrients are a vital part of the signaling process. Vitamin D, for instance, helps tell tendons to regenerate and repair themselves; meanwhile, some fatty acids like omega-3s are also involved here.
If you’re trying to recover from a tendon injury, it’s essential to be aware of the impact that diet has on these signals. To give your body the best chance at healing itself, make sure you’re eating foods that provide all of the necessary nutrients and vitamins – like lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Another major factor in tendon health and injury recovery is proper load. This means that during physical activity, you must make sure that your tendons are not subjected to too much strain or pressure.
As some readers may already have guessed, there is a direct connection between tendon load and the weight of the body. Those who are overweight or carrying too much fat, for instance, will be subjecting their tendons to more pressure and strain during activity.
The solution here is twofold: first, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet that can help shed excess weight over time; second, focus on exercises like strength training and stretching that can help strengthen your tendons and make them more resilient.
Reducing Oxidative Stress
When we talk about oxidative stress, we’re referring to forms of damage that can take place to tendons and their associated tissues. This type of damage is caused by the presence of too many free radicals in the body, which can harm tendons over time.
The good news is that a healthy diet can go a long way towards reducing oxidative stress to tendons. Sources of antioxidants like green tea, citrus fruits, and leafy greens help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Eating plenty of these foods (and avoiding unhealthy ones) can go a long way towards reducing tendon damage and keeping them healthy.
As you can see, there are several direct ways in which diet can impact tendon health and recovery. Especially if you’re recovering from an injury, be sure to pay attention to what you’re eating and how it may impact your tendons.
At The Orthopaedic Center, we can help you understand more about your recovery process – including how diet and lifestyle habits may be impacting tendon health. If you have any questions about tendon care or are looking for the best orthopedic solutions in Tulsa, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you get back on track and back to being your best self!