Friday, March 03, 2006

Sore feet and obesity

Three out of four people are estimated to suffer sore feet and the chances are increased dramatically when you have a higher than average body mass index. An aging population with growing rates of diabetes means foot morbidity is now endemic. In a recent survey, occupation was cited as the main cause of foot problems but being overweight was also a significant indicator for foot problems. Another study released by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) found a correlation between overweight and foot problems. Common foot problems seen in those who are overweight consist of foot and ankle pain, including tendonitis, hindfoot arthritis and inflammation in the back part of the foot. Comfortable shoes that fit foot length and width can help. However the foot can change shape with weight gain and it is always a good idea to have the feet measured before buying. In the foot care survey, only 7% of people got their feet measured for shoes every time they bought a pair. Sometimes cushioned insoles in shoes can improve in-shoe comfort but often oedema of the tissues occurs throughout the day making it necessary to have two different sizes of shoe from morning to evening.

Casual slip-ons are frequently favoured over lacing shoes to allow the foot changes to continue without restriction. Whilst this has a practical purpose it means shoe fit is inferior and confidence to exercise reduced as well as increased instability may lead to falls. Exercise and controlled diet seem sensible but before you embark on either check with your doctor.

Many people start with low-impact exercise like swimming, until their body (and feet) is up to more high impact activity. Regular stretching to keep tendons and ligaments active is recommended. Chronic or acute foot problems that cannot be remedied by over-the-counter foot products need attention and you think about seeing your podiatrist. People living with diseases like diabetes should monitor foot problems closely to avoid infections.

Should you have problems with your feet or are trying to cope with obesity please see your physician or registered health professional for informed advice.

Further Reading
Dufour AB, Losina E, Menz HB, LaValley MP, Hannan MT. (2016) Obesity, foot pain and foot disorders in older men and women. Obes Res Clin Pract.
Naraghi R.,Bremner, A., Slack-Smith L., and Bryant A (2016) The relationship between foot posture index, ankle equinus, body mass index and intermetatarsal neuroma Journal of Foot and Ankle Research.

Reviewed 8/12/2016

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