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For as long as I can remember I’ve had foot pain in one way or another. Most of my life I have been considered either overweight or obese. Which leads me to think, can being overweight cause foot pain and if so, what can be done about it.
From conditions such as plantar fasciitis to callouses to gout to heel pain, my feet have experienced a rough time over the years. But is it all related to being considered heavy?.
Being overweight is pretty common in our society these days, so I feel I am certainly not alone here. And while there really is no shame in being overweight, there still may be some adjustments that can be made to our lifestyle to ensure less pain in the heels and feet.
There’s no reason we can’t appreciate our bodies how they are and still live a healthy and productive life. But if you wake up one morning and you realize your feet have been hurting more than they should, it might be time to consider a few changes and a visit to your local foot doctor.
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Being Overweight Causes Foot & Heel Pain
Simply put, the heavier you are the more pain you can potentially feel in your feet. Think of it like this: If you’ve got a support beam holding up a bridge, for example, and you put too much weight on it, what’s going to happen? Your bridge is eventually going to collapse.
It’s the same concept. Your feet and legs are there to hold you up. The more weight there is, proportional to your overall frame, the more pressure they are under. If it gets to be too much, they’ll begin to “collapse”, as it were, causing you to feel pain.
This is one reason why you see many bigger people wearing knee braces. While it could be a condition or injury related, there’s a good chance its there to soften the blow from the excess weight that’s putting extreme pressure on your knees.
With your knees, they can take as much as 5 times your body weight in force. Which is quite a large amount of pressure and strain on the knees. For your feet its said that they can be forced to handle about 3.5 times your body weight. So you can easily see how being overweight can cause problems in your feet.
How Heavy Do You Need To Be Before Foot Pain Starts
According to some doctors, you don’t even have to be morbidly obese to experience foot problems. Even just a few extra pounds can place just enough pressure to cause you pain. Remember your feet take around 3.5 times your body weight in force.
It can cause your tendons to become inflamed, or your plantar fascia (tissue on the sole of your foot) to become inflamed. Or, it can literally cause your bones to crumble underneath you. To put it another way, putting extra weight on your supporting feet can cause osteoarthritis among other things.
Types Of Foot Pain Caused By Obesity
Swelling, bunions, and pressure ulcers can also result from having too much weight supported by your feet and legs. If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. A lot of these feet issues are the same symptoms that a pregnant woman might experience. This is because of the extra weight she is carrying around. She’s asking a lot of her feet to take that on.
There are other, more indirect ways that being overweight can cause foot pain. Being overweight in an unhealthy way can cause a whole host of medical issues. Some of these secondary conditions can lead to foot problems in and of themselves. For example, type-2 diabetes is a very common disease that often results from being overweight.
According the CDC, nearly 95% of all of the 30 million diabetes patients in the United States have type-2 diabetes connected to weight problems. Diabetes can cause its own set of problems that can affect your feet. For example, it can cause neuropathy which causes foot pain and other severe issues that can eventually lead to amputation.
Can Being Overweight Cause Plantar Fasciitis
Being overweight can certainly be an influence on the amount of pain you experience with Plantar Fasciitis. But this is not just a condition overweight people get, the reasons range from tight calf muscles to flat feet.
But this is something that can certainly stop you in your tracks. It can literally make it to painful to walk as every step can feet like its ripping the arch in your foot.
This type of foot pain is notable on the bottom of your feet. It can occur after extended amount of time sitting and the level of pain increases with spells of walking. Its basically the bottom ligament in your feet and most of the pain is felt just before the heel area, like you’re tearing the ligament.
For me Plantar Fasciitis is a temporary condition, it comes and goes. But some people experience it full time. Handling the condition casually is not too difficult, but if your feet feel like this all the time, a specialist is certainly recommended. At the very least a podiatrist can recommend you a custom arch support to reduce the ligament from causing you the pain.
Obesity Can Cause Gout
Gout is another foot disease that can come from being overweight. To put it simply, gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by a buildup of acid that is found in a lot of food and drinks. For example, a lot of foods with sugars and high fructose corn syrup, which are foods that can easily lead to obesity, contain this uric acid.
The best types of food to avoid in this case will be foods high in sugar. Not only does sugar lead to extra fat, but it can also increase the levels of this acid that then causes gout. So being overweight and eating bad foods can certainly lead to foot pain.
Obese Children Can Get Sever Foot Pain
Obesity-related foot issues can be particularly harmful for overweight children. More and more cases of overweight children are experiencing foot pain as this national epidemic continues.
As children grow up, their bones grow and are therefore not fully developed yet. What’s quite alarming is that apparently being heavy as a child can cause the structure of the foot to change. This can lead to instability in walking as they grow older.
This can make them particularly susceptible to pain in the heels, arches, and toes. While also affecting the Plantar Fasciitis as it gets flattened under the strain of the extra weight. Which is very concerning for any child that is considered obese.
My Feet Hurt, I Cant Exercise
As a child, or even an adult, experiences this foot pain, it makes exercise more painful. Because of this, losing the weight necessary to help these foot issues can be difficult. I know first hand how much feet play a role in regularly exercising. If my feet aren’t into, neither am I.
So how does one get out of this vicious cycle? What are some things we can do to reduce foot pain?
Improve Diet & Exercise
The hardest part about losing weight is sticking to a diet plan. A change in diet can result in weight loss without any exercise at all. Simply by cutting out high sugar foods and cutting back on alcoholic beverages can make an improvement in your diet.
These little diet changes in combination with a small amount of exercise every second day has been the reason I’ve lost a bit of weight and reduced the amount of pressure on my feet. But you got to stick with it for at least 20 odd days until it becomes your new ‘healthy habit’. The trick is to get into routine in my opinion.
Best Exercise Equipment For Sore Feet
I know how hard it can be to even walk with sore feet, now I’m expecting you to start exercising on top of that. I know it sounds difficult, but depending on the amount of mobility you have, it can be done.
For starters, us heavier people need high weight capacity equipment. When it comes to sore painful feet from conditions like Plantar Fasciitis, I fell the Elliptical trainers are the best. This is because there is no direct force with a hard surface like there would be in the case of a treadmill.
While you can also safely use a stationary bike or a rowing machine, I just like the low impact of the Elliptical has on my feet. Plus it also helps with the upper body workout.
Other Steps To Take To Manage Foot Pain
For one, it’s important to manage secondary health issues related to obesity. If you have type-2 diabetes, for instance, you can make sure to manage your diet and keep close track of your blood sugar to keep things under control. If you can do that, your risk of nerve damage and foot pain can greatly reduce.
For people experiencing pain from their feet being under too much pressure, there are other measures that can be taken to improve comfort level. Wearing padded socks and not going around barefoot can protect your feet from injury and keep them comfortable. Keeping your feet clean and checking them regularly for injuries like bruises and scrapes is also important. Have your feet examined by a doctor regularly as well.
The Footwear You Choose May Be The Cause
Another by-product of being overweight that we probably wouldn’t think of is the fact that when people are overweight, it’s harder for them to reach their feet. It’s been a long time since I was able to tie my shoelaces as a result of being overweight.
As a result, myself and others wear shoes that are easier to slip on like flip-flops that don’t provide as much foot support. This can also cause foot pain, of course, that is once again more indirectly related to being overweight.
When you have to ask, “can being overweight cause foot pain?”, the answer is yes. But there are steps you can take to help such as the advice listed above.