Over the last few years I have put on some pounds. Am I unique? Certainly not! The thing is, many people do, for one reason or the other. In some instances, it is simply the age factor; your metabolism slows down as you get older, making it easier to pile on the pounds. It may be a constant struggle from birth; some people were naturally born heavy set and throughout life it has been an uphill battle. Our activity level, if you have a sedentary job, or type of lifestyle where exercise or physical activities tend not to play a part naturally, it will impact you. Another critical factor is the amount of eating out that is done, with fast food being the main food of choice. The way some meals are prepared are nothing short of fat… and more fat. Finally, comfort eating; if you are studying or the stresses of life have you down, comfort food is often the solution; isn’t it?
Something I’ve very often said, is that we walk on our feet and not our hands. Therefore daily, it is these “poor little things” that take all the pressure, and sadly are also the structures we tend to ignore, or mistreat the most. Given that your feet bear the weight of your entire body, carrying you through your daily routine, it’s not surprising that being overweight can lead to foot problems.
Understanding the link
Research has found that having too much body weight may increase your chances of a variety of painful conditions in the feet, including:
- – Tendon inflammation
- – Inflammation in the plantar fascia, the tough band of tissue in the sole of your feet
- – Osteoarthritis.
You don’t have to be obese to run into problems. Putting on 15 pounds can make you overweight, and can tip the scales to more problems in the foot and ankle.
For people who are obese, the problems can multiply. Foot problems often develop from the changes in posture, caused by carrying too much weight. In these cases, the knees tend to come closer together while walking, which shifts the body weight to the insides of the feet. This can be bad for the arches and tendons in the feet and ankle, and lead to hip and back problems.
Weight Related Problems
Being overweight makes you more likely to develop several conditions that can lead to foot pain and other problems, such as:
Gout – This condition is known for causing sharp, severe pain, typically in the big toe. It can also affect other joints in your feet and ankles. Gout develops when crystals of a substance called uric acid accumulate in your joints. Being overweight makes you more likely to develop gout by increasing the production of uric acid in your body.
Diabetes – Excess weight is one of the main factors that raises your risk for diabetes. In turn, it can cause numbness in your feet, and reduce the amount of blood flow that reaches them. As a result, you may develop small injuries without being aware, and these may heal very slowly and turn into infections. Serious problems could then result that could even lead to the loss of your feet.
Peripheral arterial disease – This condition is marked by an accumulation of plaque in the walls of arteries in the legs. Consequently, the flow of blood to the feet is reduced. Being overweight is a preventable risk factor for peripheral arterial disease.
How to Get MovingOne problem that arises for people who have weight related foot conditions, is how to get the physical activity that helps with weight loss, without causing foot injuries. If you’re overweight, and have concerns about hurting your feet, it is recommended that you get started with low-impact aerobic activities, such as water aerobics.
In addition, work with your doctor, to ensure your heart and lungs can handle the challenge from a new exercise program. Begin your exercise routine gradually, and avoid activities that cause pain. Consult a podiatrist to make sure your shoes are not only the right size, but that they offer the proper support. Extra support may be needed, and arch supports may be prescribed. The podiatrist has a vital role, since other foot problems or issues with gait may be identified. Some problems may require the expertise of a physiotherapist; and seeing a dietician is always a great way of establishing a proper meal plan to nourish the body. Unfortunately, many people go from eating too much, to not eating enough… or enough of the right things.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!