As Americans get heavier they are crushing their feet. Several recent studies have proven what has always seemed obvious, obesity leads to foot problems.

Studies show that foot and ankle problems can be linked to an individual’s weight and body mass index (BMI). Individuals who have higher BMI have a significant increase in foot and ankle problems.

The weight doesn’t even have to be substantial to have an impact. One study found that a gain of even 10 pounds could trigger a foot problem.

While problems vary from patient to patient, foot and ankle pain often occurs in weight bearing areas, as well as in the tendons and ligaments. Common foot problems include posterior tibial tendonitisplantar fasciitis and arthritis.

Studies show that pressures on the bottom of the foot are far greater in obese subjects. In addition, obesity damages the joints of the foot and ankle. People carry approximately four to six times their body weight across the ankle joint when climbing up stairs or walking on inclines. Obesity significantly increases the impact.

Foot and ankle pain can lead to further weight gain, as it is difficult to exercise when feet are painful.

Foot Pain Relief for Obese Individuals

If you are carrying extra weight make an appointment to see us in our Seattle foot and ankle clinic as soon as possible. We have developed special protocol for treating individuals who are carrying excess weight. In almost every situation we can relieve your foot and ankle pain so that you can walk and exercise in comfort.

We will evaluate how you walk and where you are putting excess force on your feet. We will then design a treatment plan based on these findings. This may include shoe recommendations, special foot orthotics designed for persons carrying extra weight, and specific strengthening and stretching exercises.

References: Obesity and Foot Pain

  1. Plantar pressure differences between obese and non-obese adults: a biomechanical analysis. Hills AP, Hennig EM, McDonald M, Bar-Or O.Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Nov;25(11):1674-9.
  2. Comparison of static footprints and pedobarography in obese and non-obese children. Taisa Filippin N, de Almeida Bacarin T, Lobo da Costa PH. Foot Ankle Int. 2008 Nov;29(11):1141-4.
  3. Why is obesity associated with osteoarthritis? Insights from mouse models of obesity. Griffin TM, Guilak F. Biorheology. 2008;45(3-4):387-98.
  4. Assessment of the medial longitudinal arch in children and adolescents with obesity: footprints and radiographic study. Villarroya MA, Esquivel JM, Tomás C, Moreno LA, Buenafé A, Bueno G Eur J Pediatr. 2008 Aug 27.
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