Obesity and the Feet

Obesity can affect the feet in a variety of ways. Your feet bear the weight of your body, carrying you through life. When the feet are under immense strain from excess weight, they are more prone to both chronic and acute injuries. Over time, the pressure from excess weight can cause the feet to flatten and widen as the arches of the feet slowly collapse. This can not only increase your shoe size, but also lead to foot pain, difficulty walking, and a dysfunctional gait or walking pattern. A variety of foot and ankle injuries are common in obese individuals. These include plantar fasciitis and posterior tibial tendonitis, which can both become chronic. The reduced mobility from foot pain can also decrease your quality of life, make it more difficult to exercise, and lead to further weight gain. 

Obesity is also associated with a host of systemic health complications that can affect the feet. Obese people may be more at risk of developing gout and arthritis, which damage the joints. There is also an increased risk of diabetes and poor circulation. Together, these conditions can lead to the development of diabetic foot wounds, which heal slowly and poorly and can cause serious health complications should they become infected. 

Making healthy lifestyle changes is one way to prevent the foot problems associated with obesity. Reduce weight (and the risk of gout) by eating a healthy diet and exercising. Wear shoes that fit properly and support your feet. Your chiropodist may suggest orthotics, medications, or other treatments to address any foot pain and to improve your overall mobility and quality of life. To learn more, consult with a chiropodist near you. 

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