Healthy weight is not only critical to your overall wellbeing, but it is also an essential part of foot health as well. Nearly one third of Americans are clinically obese, defined as having a body mass index greater than 30. Over a period of many years, obesity causes extreme stress and deterioration to the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of your feet, ankles, and lower legs. Numerous studies have found a direct link between high BMI and painful foot conditions including plantar fasciitis.
Fallen Arches and Overpronation
The feet are built to handle stress, but obesity over-stresses them. Over time, they become physically altered to the point where even quality shoes cannot offer enough support. Connective tissues stretch out, natural fat pads on the bottom of your feet become compressed, and muscles are taxed, which can lead to fallen arches.
Obesity can also lead to overpronation, a condition in which people stand or walk with their feet rolling slightly to the inside, rather than flat on the ground. The heels are pushed closer together and the ankles move towards one another. Chronic pain can result anywhere from the feet to the hips and spine.
People who are overweight are at higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, which often causes podiatric complications including leg and foot pain. Further, uncontrolled diabetes may be accompanied by numbness or a loss of sensation in the legs and feet, leading to unhealed wounds and infection.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is the result of an accumulation of plaque in the walls of the arteries resulting in diminished blood flow through narrowed spaces. A loss of balance is often one side effect of PAD in the feet and legs. According to the American Heart Association, obesity is a preventable PAD risk factor, along with cigarette smoking. Overweight patients who smoke are at particular risk.
Proper Foot Care
It can be challenging for patients who are very overweight to reach their feet, resulting in haphazard trimming and ingrown toenails. It can also be hard for obese patients to maintain proper podiatric hygiene, making them vulnerable to athlete’s foot and fungal toenail infections.
Is excess weight making it challenging for you to take care of your feet or uncomfortable for you to stand, walk, or move? James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS can help. Call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 today or click here to schedule an appointment at our comfortable and convenient office on Solomons Island Road in Annapolis, MD. Dr. James M. McKee will thoroughly examine your feet and expertly diagnose any problems, then provide appropriate treatment and comprehensive after care.