A healthy weight means healthy feet
Let’s follow in the footsteps of Helen and discover how being at a good weight helps keep your feet healthy.
Helen, a 26-year old 156-lb business woman, rises early. On her first step off the bed, she felt a dull, intermittent pain on the sole of her right foot. She walked it off, completely ignoring the pain and prepares for yet another busy day. But the next day it happened again. In fact, it continued to happen on and off for years.
Today, Helen is 45 years old and weighs 245 lbs. The pain in her right foot is now severe. It is very common for her to walk with a limp.
Our feet carry the weight of our entire bodies through our daily routines. As such, they are subject to wear and tear. According to a study by Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke, American men and women take about 5200-7200 steps in a day. Imagine how much more stress our foot joints endure when we are overweight.
Excess weight will more likely predispose a person to conditions that bring foot problems. Overconsumption of food high in uric acid can lead to gouty arthritis. This commonly affects the big toe of the foot, causing pain and swelling. Obesity also elevates the risk for diabetes one side effect of diabetes can be “glove and stocking phenomenon”, a state wherein the hands and feet are numb and are less sensitive to stimulus. As a result, a small cut or bruise may less likely be noticed and eventually get infected. More frightening is the fact that foot infections are enough grounds for a limb to be surgically removed.
Overweight people also have poor circulation as accumulated plaques on arterial walls prevent the flow of blood. Peripheral vascular diseases may stem out from these instances. And for people who are considered obese, these problems are bound to multiply. Due to being overweight, posture while walking is altered. The person’s knees tend to approximate. This will concentrate the weight onto the insides of the foot. The arches of the foot might collapse, and will later develop into flat-footedness which will eventually lead to hip and back problems.
But foot problems are not just the dilemma of the excessively obese. Associate professor James Mahony, DPM points out that even an extra 25 pounds may lead to foot complications. Any kind of pain restricts an individual from performing daily activities, rendering him unproductive.
Weight-loss will certainly prevent all of these from happening. Engage in a good cardio and strength exercises using a good pair of shoes. Keep your workouts simple, fun and consistent. Have a healthy and well-balanced diet.
For people who already have foot conditions, low-impact aerobic activities may help in jump starting the weight loss. Water aerobics, hand ergometers, elliptical trainers and seated rowing machines are suitable exercises. If you already have foot pain, consult a podiatrist devoted to the disorders of the foot, ankle and lower leg.
You may also want to log on and speak to our online fitness coaches for recommendations on non-weight bearing exercises to help you lose weight without hurting your feet.