Foot pain can happen to anyone, but it is especially likely to affect those with a higher body weight. Carrying a few extra pounds can take a surprisingly heavy toll on all systems of the body, and its effect on your feet can both cause and perpetuate health problems.
How Obesity Contributes to Foot and Ankle Problems
Your feet do not just bear the full weight of your body, they also absorb the impact of each step it takes to move the body from place to place. The more weight a person has on their body, the more strength and effort it takes to support it, putting significant stress on the bones and tissues of the feet.
Obesity has been linked to a variety of foot disorders, including:
- Flat feet. Over time, the ligaments and connective tissues in the feet stretch out, flattening the arch. An over- or under-pronation of the foot can cause a person to “roll” the ankle, causing swelling and loss of mobility.
- Heel pain. The extra pressure on the lower limbs can increase the risk of problems such as Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and arthritis.
- Mobility problems. Physical activities are naturally more difficult for people with more weight on their frame. If exercise becomes too painful, a person may avoid it entirely, placing them at risk of further symptoms (and additional weight gain).
- Diabetes complications. Obese patients are more likely to develop diabetes, placing them at risk of foot ulcers due to neuropathy.
The most effective methods of treating foot pain from obesity combine lifestyle changes and managing symptoms. Many patients have seen changes in their weight and pain levels by eating more foot-healthy foods and performing light exercise. Our podiatrists can help you make footwear choices to relieve your discomfort and create a customized treatment plan to ease the pressure on your feet.
If you are struggling with a foot injury, the foot and ankle specialists at Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry are here to help. Simply fill out our online contact form or call us at (301) 515-FEET to set up your free initial consultation.