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Obesity and your Feet

Callus  on footFacing the Facts
There is a lot of talk about Body Mass Index (BMI), and whether the scale used within this index is advised. However, BMI or the measuring tape method, it all still leads to the fact that if you are overweight… you are just that!
In a recent social media discussion with a former classmate, it was stated that the extra weight showing on my scale is from my dreadlocks. We joked about it, and while by Trini standards I’m considered slim and not overweight, by BMI standards I am. Most people scream out when I give them the figure my scale says and exclaim that I’m tall so it doesn’t show. Though it is said that a rose by any other name is still a rose, the fact is I am overweight. While many persons would argue that they will take my ‘overweight’ any day, the fact is I remember being a US size 0 like it was yesterday. Now I vary between a US 6 – 10, depending on the style.
In another social media post, I stated you have to feel it to know it, relating to my emotions being in another country away from loved ones. The same concept applies with weight. No one knows the way you feel in your own skin. I’m not upset over my weight gain, as I was very slim. And as my mom says, I had spare capacity; however I do feel heavy. My inner heel now builds up hard skin quite frequently, and last week after sightseeing in Newcastle all day, my feet were hurting.

Reality Check at ‘30’ and Over
For many when you cross 30 your body’s metabolism isn’t at peak anymore, as the days for eating whatever, whenever, are certainly over. It now impacts on the scale and in inches; for me, it’s the legs, hips, and even a small tummy.
Obesity is increasing at a rapid rate globally. Being obese can increase your risk of getting many problems. Heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and foot pain are some of the issues that can occur. Minimal weight gain can increase pressure in your hips, knees and ankles, with a basic task like walking up or down an incline or stairs fuelling the increase. Problems of obesity and your feet can cause distress and pain that limit your mobility and quality of life.

Your Feet Carry the Load
Your feet are responsible for carrying your whole body around. They must absorb the impact of striking the ground, and the strain of your body bearing down on them, at the same time. The more weight they must support, the harder they must work and the more stress the tissues are under. Being obese, or even overweight, stresses your lower limbs and wears down your foot structures over time. Connective tissues stretch out, natural fat pads in your soles compress down, and muscles must work harder to do their jobs.
All the extra pressure on your lower limbs can make spending time on your feet very uncomfortable. You’re more prone to overuse injuries and problems like tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. More serious issues like peripheral artery disease is also more common among those who are obese. Since walking, and even standing, often becomes painful and unpleasant. Someone who is overweight is less likely to exercise, simply to avoid the discomfort. This, in turn, makes them more likely to gain additional weight, compounding the pain, and becoming a negative cycle of discomfort.

Use Orthotics to balance weightDealing with the Problem
Although treating foot pain from obesity may involve some challenging lifestyle changes, you can manage your discomfort conservatively. You need your feet to keep you mobile. Therefore, work with your general health providers to accommodate your lower limbs and make the changes you need, to relieve the stress on your feet and ankles.
Changing your footwear to ones with sufficient cushioning and support can help brace your foot structures, while relieving some of the pressure on them. Make sure your shoes are wide enough for your feet, too. Since extra weight can stretch out the connective tissues holding your bones together, your feet may have widened somewhat with time. Orthotics may help add any extra stabilisation or padding you need, if your shoes are not enough.
Losing weight and increasing your activities, as hard as they are, will be the most important aspects of relieving your foot pain. A manageable exercise programme would be ideal. Start some low-impact exercises, especially at first, to take the strain off your lower limbs. Then you can condition your feet to handle other or more intense activity.Weight control can be an essential component to alleviate foot pain, so you got to get into a programme and stick with it. Procrastination isn’t your friend, so review your situation and get going…like ‘yesterday’ as we love to say!

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