The Effects of Obesity on Foot Pain

Peter Wishnie, D.P.M.
Owner of Family Foot & Ankle Specialists in Piscataway and Hillsborough, NJ. Make an appointment today!
Posted on Apr 13, 2011

Obesity is a double edge sword when it comes to foot pain. Obesity can lead to many serious problems such as diabetes, heart disease and foot pain. Plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and ankle issues are some of the common complaints. Additionally, once people become obese their foot or ankle pain can become so great, they are not able exercise.

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 it carries, the more stress it puts on the feet.  There is more pressure put on the heel and arch which causes 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.

While there are accommodations that can be made to help support a person's arch and relieve excess pressure, a person would be encouraged to lose weight. Exercises that do not involve standing or putting pressure on the feet are recommended such as swimming or certain types of yoga.  A person should 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 speak to a podiatrist. A podiatrist could suggest orthotics, also known as foot supports to help distribute pressure, and may recommend proper shoes and shoe wear. A thorough examination would need to be done to determine a person's specific needs.

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