Are You Overloading Your Feet?

How Body Weight Can Affect Foot Pain

Recent studies have shown that obesity leads to foot problems. As people get heavier and heavier, they are ruining their feet. Studies prove that foot and ankle problems are linked to an individual’s weight and body mass index (BMI). People who have higher BMI show a significant increase in foot and ankle problems. It is a fact that the weight does not even have to be significant to have an impact. One study found that a gain of only 10 pounds could trigger or exacerbate a foot problem.

While problems vary from person to person, ankle and foot pain often occurs in weight-bearing areas, such as in the tendons and ligaments. Common foot problems include plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and arthritis. Studies show that pressures on the bottom of the foot are far greater in obese persons. Foot pain increases with weight for many reasons. Feet are the foundation for the body; they carry a person’s entire weight. The more weight a person carries, the more stress it puts on the feet. There is more pressure put on the heel and arch which can cause the arch to fall (fallen arches), and the side of the feet to widen and stretch out. Once the arch has fallen completely, many other issues can occur throughout the body including leg, knee, hip and back pain. Also, excess weight can damage the joints of the foot and ankle. People carry about four to six times their body weight on their ankle joint when they climb stairs or walk up inclines. Obesity significantly increases the effects of this impact. To add insult to injury, foot pain can lead to further weight gain, as it is difficult to exercise when feet are painful.

Obesity leads to foot pain

Obesity leads to foot pain

If you are carrying extra weight, you should make an appointment to see your doctor or podiatrist as soon as possible. There are available protocols developed for treating individuals who carry excess weight. In almost every situation, your foot pain can be relieved so that you can exercise and walk comfortably; which helps you to lose excess weight, thereby breaking that vicious cycle of repeated injury and resulting weight gain. How you walk and where you put excess force on your feet should be measured so that a treatment plan can be developed for your particular needs. Such a treatment plan may include recommendations for special shoes, specific strengthening and stretching exercises and/or special foot orthotics designed for people that are carrying extra weight.

While accommodations can be made to help support a person’s arch and relieve excess pressure, a person would still be encouraged to lose the excess weight. Exercises that do not involve standing or putting pressure on the feet, such as swimming or yoga, are recommended. A person could also change their diet to begin losing weight and taking pressure off their feet.

Although weight loss will contribute to foot pain relief, any person experiencing foot or ankle pain should give it the attention it deserves. Visit for more information on foot health and foot pain.

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