If your feet have been hurting lately, you might need to look at a likely culprit: the extra pounds on the scale. It turns out foot pain does not only come as the result of sprains and breaks, but also from excess weight, which can trigger conditions like heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. Now you can add this to your long list of reasons to shed those unwanted pounds.
Shedding extra weight can help relieve your pain because it will take some of the pressure off your feet. After all, your feet have to support your whole body. Being just 10 to 20 pounds overweight can result in pretty agonizing conditions like plantar fasciitis. A 2007 Harvard Medical School study found that a few excess pounds can make a difference in how much pain you feel because with each step you take, your foot has to hold one-and-a-half times your total body weight.
If you're overweight, you could be more prone to some medical conditions that can contribute to foot pain, such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease, among others. For example, patients with diabetes can experience foot pain as a result of poor circulation or foot ulcers. In some cases, the symptoms can becomes so severe that patients have to have their feet amputated. The best way to prevent this issue to avoid contracting diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight and diet, both for your general health and for your feet.
If you're overweight, you might be especially prone to impact foot injuries like sprains and fractures, according to Virginia's Family Foot and Ankle Centers. Again, this is because your feet have to carry the burden of the extra weight on your body. When running, each foot will land on the ground with the force of about three to four times your total body weight, so added weight is especially traumatic to the feet and joints. A study in the "Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery" found that obese patients have a higher risk of suffering from distal fibula ankle fractures, often coming as a result of slips and falls.
How To Exercise
To relieve your foot pain through weight loss, you must begin an exercise regimen. Of course, it can be hard to work out when your feet hurt so badly that you can hardly walk. To get around this problem, you can try water aerobics or swimming, which are low impact and will not affect your feet. Always ease into a new workout routine and talk to your doctor before starting.
- American Diabetes Association: Foot Complications
- Medical News Today: Shed Pounds To Ease Foot Pain, Suggests Report From Harvard Medical School
- Family Foot And Ankle Centers: Maintain Healthy Weight To Prevent Foot Problems
- MayoClinic.com: Plantar Fasciitis
- National Institutes of Health: Peripheral Artery Disease
- Podiatry Today: Are Obese Patients More Prone To Ankle Fractures?
Debbie Lechtman is a writer living in Hartford, Conn. She has a degree in magazine journalism from Syracuse University. In the past, she has worked for major national publications, specializing in fitness and wellness. Currently, she works as a writer and copywriter and is awaiting the upcoming publication of two short stories in literary magazines.