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When pain is a part of your everyday routine and you’ve tried all sorts of unsuccessful treatments to cure it, it is easy to believe that you just have to live with it. But before you resign yourself to a lifetime of chronic leg pain, you might want to consider adjusting your diet to support other treatments and the healing process.

There has been copious amounts of research into the pain-reducing properties of food – from fruits to fats and meats to minerals. With a few simple swaps as part of an anti-inflammatory diet, you may be surprised to discover that your leg pain is more manageable – giving you the freedom to live a life less restricted by pain.

This is the second of our pain diet articles. You can read the first one about the best foods for back pain here.

Easy Ways to Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

When you live a busy life, sticking to any kind of diet can feel like a chore. However, there are a few simple changes you can make to your normal cooking habits that will allow you to reduce your intake of inflammatory foods that exacerbate leg pain:

Food for Hip Pain and Knee Pain Relief

In most cases hip pain in adults is caused by osteoarthritis, a condition where the cartilage on the ends of your bones starts to break down. This is also a common cause of knee pain in older adults.

Source: (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Often the food that is recommended for this condition contributes towards bone health.

Calcium for bone strength and density

Calcium is important for many of the basic bodily functions, and bones are the body’s calcium reservoir. This means that if your body can’t get enough calcium to perform functions such as activate muscles, pump blood and trigger hormone release, it will take it from your bones and leave them weak.

Dairy is the most obvious form of calcium, which makes getting enough of it in your diet a challenge for those with lactose intolerance. Here are a few other calcium-rich foods:

Vitamin D to absorb calcium

Your body will not be able to absorb calcium if you are vitamin D deficient. Our most abundant source of vitamin D is sunlight, but it is widely understood that no one in the UK over the age of five gets enough vitamin D from sunlight between October and March. Since 2016 the government has recommended that UK citizens find supplementary sources of vitamin D over the winter months.

There are a number of foods that contain vitamin D:

If you can’t get enough vitamin D from sunshine or your diet, you might want to consider using our To Better Days active patches. They contain a dose of vitamin D and dextrose which is absorbed transdermally – which means no pills, just an easy application.

Potassium to prevent calcium loss

Potassium is an electrolyte that is important for maintaining a healthy nervous system, but studies have also shown that potassium can reduce the amount of calcium that is lost through urine. This makes it an excellent addition to the diet of anyone with bone-related illnesses.

Bananas are a well-known source of potassium, but there are a number of other foods that are just as potassium-rich:

Anti-inflammatory foods for weight loss

Weight loss is often recommended by medical professionals as a way to reduce hip and knee pain in those who are overweight, as a heavier body causes extra strain on the joints. Here are a few inflammation-fighting foods that will also help you to shed the pounds and then maintain a healthy weight as part of a diet plan:

Recommended recipe

Here is a super easy, super nutritious superfood salad from Good Food that is perfect as a light lunch. Not only does it contain potassium-rich watermelon and avocado, but also red onion and garlic – both of which have been linked to reducing osteoarthritis – and prawns, which have numerous health benefits.


1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 fat garlic clove, crushed

1 small red chilli, finely chopped

juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp rice or white wine vinegar

1 tsp caster sugar

watermelon wedge, deseeded and diced

1 avocado, diced

small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped

200g cooked tiger prawns, defrosted if frozen


  1. Put the onion in a medium bowl with the garlic, chilli, lime juice, vinegar, sugar and some seasoning. Leave to marinate for 10 mins.
  2. Add the watermelon, avocado, coriander and prawns, then toss gently to serve.

Food to Help Gout Pain

Gout is a type of arthritis that affects the joints, commonly the big toe (but it can also affect the fingers, wrists, elbows or knees). It occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood, which is a waste product made after the digestion of purines.

Source: (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Diet is one of the key management methods of gout, as foods that are high in purines are known to trigger an attack if they raise your uric acid levels.

Foods to avoid

It is important to be aware of these trigger foods if you suffer from gout, as some of them – such as oily fish – contain other healthy ingredients that are often recommended as part of an anti-inflammatory diet.

Foods to eat

The following foods are low in purines and safe for those with gout:

These foods go one step further and have active uric acid-reducing properties:

Recommended recipe

Katie Buchanan’s superfood granola balls are an ideal snack for those with gout. Montmorency tart cherries are generally seen as one of the most nutrient-rich varieties of cherry, plus these balls contain lots of nuts and coconut products that are high in healthy fat and protein.


1 cup coconut shreds

1/2 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup coconut butter

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup almond milk


  1. Mix everything in a food processor. You can try a high speed blender, but because the ingredients are low in liquid, a food processor will be easier.
  2. Form into balls in the size of your preference and dietary needs.
  3. Put in the fridge for 50 mins to 1 hour to harden.

Fighting pain with dietary choices

Altering your diet is unlikely to cure your condition entirely, but it may well ease your symptoms and allow you to enjoy longer periods with less pain. Eating healthily could be the first step towards reducing your foot and leg discomfort – which sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us.

Have you made any dietary swaps to manage your chronic pain? We would love to hear your story!

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