Back in 2012, I had my ankle in a cast. My tendons, ligaments, and muscles were becoming weaker. While my bones could mend fast, the other parts, such as my Achilles tendon, needed time to heal. Everyone will be telling you to be careful when you’re recovering from a broken ankle. This is true, as there can be more problems with your Achilles tendon such as ruptures and tears if you do not take things slow.
Tendons are the tough fibres that connect your bones and muscles in the body – but they are not as tough as you would think, and they do have their limits. Especially when they’ve been weakened by an injury. You have to increase your activity slowly to decrease any risk of further problems.
Another risk factor
But did you know that aside from activity, there is another factor that you need to watch out for? Several studies show that the level of cholesterol is correlated to the risk of Achilles tendon ruptures and pain. Painful tendon conditions are called tendinopathy. A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that high levels of total cholesterol are linked to a higher risk of tendon abnormalities and tendinopathy. Individuals with unfavorable lipid profiles have higher chances of tendon injuries. [1, 2, 3]
What’s the best thing to do
So if you’re recovering from an ankle injury, what’s the best thing to do? You have to change your diet if you are still eating cholesterol-raising foods. Studies recommend that patients who have suffered Achilles tendon ruptures should be checked for high cholesterol levels. You have to help your body control cholesterol during your recovery if you want to avoid further pain. Avoid food that can increase your cholesterol levels. A slice of pizza, a bowl of macaroni & cheese, or a cheeseburger may sound good and comforting when you’re in bed with a cast, but these foods will just lengthen your recovery and increase the chances of complications developing later on. [4, 5]
The best way to lower your cholesterol during recovery is switching to a plant-based diet and make sure it’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients that will help you recover faster. I was drinking green smoothies throughout my recovery from my broken ankle. Instead of munching on a big tub of movie popcorn complete with melted butter, treat yourself with a serving of walnuts, almonds and cashews for a healthier cholesterol level. You can also eat sweet potatoes, strawberries, blueberries, avocados, grapefruits, beans, peas, broccoli, carrots, grapes and a lot more. There are heaps of fruits and vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts and seeds that can help you avoid tendon problems.
High cholesterol doesn’t just clog arteries and increase cardiovascular problems, it will also increase tendon pain and raise your risk of running into problems after your injury. This is another reason why you should start eating differently!
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