Foot & Ankle Problems Associated with Being Overweight
Milwaukee Podiatrists Treating Common Obesity-Related Foot & Ankle Symptoms
Being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of pain and chronic problems with the feet and ankles, which can lead to further problems with the knees, hips and back. Weight gain also increases the chance you’ll develop health conditions contributing to foot pain such as gout, tendinitis and osteoarthritis.
No matter where on your body you carry extra weight, your feet and ankles end up bearing the load. Being overweight can also cause your posture and gait to change, which can affect your arches and tendons in the feet and ankles.
Overweight children are especially susceptible to foot pain because children’s feet are usually flatter, putting even more pressure on the sole. When children stop getting enough physical activity due to foot pain this sets them up for a negative cycle of foot discomfort and weight gain and seriously threatens their overall health.
Your feet feel every extra kilogram--time to show them you care!
Extra weight creates extra pressure and strain on your feet, and can make standing and walking uncomfortable or painful. Being obese also stretches out and wears down the connective tissue and natural fat pads in your feet.
Obesity-related symptoms in the feet include:
- Ball-of-foot pain
- Plantar fasciitis and heel pain
- Swelling (edema)
- Stress fractures
- Pressure ulcers
Obesity can cause a variety of musculoskeletal problems affecting the feet. The longer symptoms are allowed to persist without professional help, the worse things get. Even a relatively small weight gain of 10-25 pounds can cause painful symptoms due to the constant increased stress on the feet.
Bearing extra weight strains the bones, ligaments and tendons of your ankles. Because the ankles are weight-bearing joints they tend to show symptoms of discomfort from weight gain earlier than other joints.
Obesity-related problems of the ankles include:
- Weakened tendons and ligaments
- Increased risk of ankle sprain
- Gait changes leading to mechanical issues with the ankles
- Posterior tibial tendonitis
Weight gain can also cause swollen ankles without pain. Prolonged inactivity, pregnancy and weight gain can contribute to edema in the ankles. But persistent ankle swelling can also indicate more serious underlying issues such as heart failure, kidney disease, thyroid problems and more.
If you have persistent pain or swelling in your feet or ankles, contact an experienced podiatrist today to get to the bottom of your symptoms and find relief.
Overweight individuals are more prone to foot injuries as well as several serious health issues affecting the feet and ankles including:
Nerve damage, often caused by Type-2 diabetes, is the leading reason why patients have toes or feet amputated.
Custom orthotics from a podiatrist can provide cushioning and stability for painful foot and ankle symptoms. Your podiatrist may also recommend exercises to stretch and strengthen your feet and ankles. In some cases anti-inflammatory medication is called for to provide relief.
Losing weight can be difficult when dealing with heel pain or other symptoms, and for this reason a foot doctor may recommend nutritional counseling and/or a professional trainer or physical therapist to help develop an exercise program for you.
If you are obese it can be a struggle to reach your feet. Often we see overweight patients wearing shoes with little or no support or flip-flops. Wearing supportive footwear recommended by a podiatrist can help prevent damage to your feet and ankles before painful symptoms manifest.
Painful feet and ankles can make people avoid exercise, which often leads to additional weight gain. Getting a healthy amount of physical activity on a regular basis is important to your overall health and helps prevent obesity-related foot problems.