How Body Weight Can Affect Foot Pain
Being obese means you weigh much more than is healthy, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. The more weight you carry, the more impact you are putting on your feet with each step you take, which can result in foot pain. The impact (the amount of force absorbed by bones and joints) increases with your weight. If you are overweight or obese, your steps take on a higher impact. Even 10 - 15 pounds overweight can cause foot pain.
If you are already exercising to deal with your weight and the resulting foot pain, keep in mind that your plantar fascia can become worn from added stress and excess weight. It may tear, swell or bruise; causing a painful foot condition called plantar fasciitis. This condition appears to be of much higher risk to the overweight and obese population. If you exercise a lot, cut back until pain lessens. If your feet have high arches or you are flat-footed, your doctor can prescribe inserts that can help alleviate pain. If your job requires you to stand for long periods, place padding under the area you stand on. Calf stretches might provide some relief.
The foot is the foundation of a body's movements and pain indicates that either there is something wrong with the interaction of internal structures of the foot or with the how the foot is interacting with external influences. The location of foot pain, and how and when it happens, are clues to what may be causing the pain. When there is pain, the body reacts by changing the way it moves in an effort to reduce the pain. Such changes may prevent normal movement and cause further injury.
A survey conducted by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) Public Education Committee found that foot and ankle problems can be directly linked to a person's weight and body mass index (BMI). Individuals who answered the survey and were suffering foot and ankle pain at the time, who had had prior foot surgery or who had previously seen a doctor about foot and ankle pain, all seemed to have a higher BMI than those who did not report pain. 40.8 percent of the respondents reported weight gain prior to the onset of pain.
It is important to understand that obesity is not just a matter of looks, but also a contributing cause of musculoskeletal health problems, specifically with the feet and ankles. While problems vary from person to person, foot and ankle pain often occurs in weight bearing areas. Common foot problems include posterior tibial tendonitis (pain in the tendon that runs along the inside of the ankle and the foot), plantar fasciitis, hind foot arthritis (inflammation in the back part of the foot) and heel spurs; all of which are exacerbated by obesity.
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