How Does Obesity Affect Your Feet?

foot arches

For a campfire, you need a healthy stack of lumber to keep it blazing. Easy to say, but have you ever had to be the one carrying and stacking all that wood? It can get pretty heavy! When you’re overweight, that’s the type of weight you carry around all the time. Although it happens more gradually, that weight can add up, which puts a lot of stress on each foot. So, how does obesity affect your feet?

For starters, there’s just more pressure on your feet altogether. They absorb more force with each extra pound that you gain. With an increase in weight comes an increase in toe, arch, and heel problems.

Heels

Obesity puts you at a higher risk of developing heel pain, with the most common condition known as plantar fasciitis. The tissue that runs from your heel to your toes along the arch, known as the plantar fascia, develops tiny tears. Pain is often the result when you try to stand after waking up in the morning or sitting down for a long time.

Arches

Over time, your arches can flatten too—the direct result of excess weight on your arch’s tendons. When they’re no longer able to provide support, they can turn into flat feet and may become chronically inflamed, which is also known as tendinitis.

Toes

If you’ve never heard of gout, consider this your warning. This arthritic condition can cause your big toe joint to suddenly come under fiery pain from an excess buildup of uric acid that your body fails to expel. Your risk for getting this condition is doubled when you’re obese. Watch out for gout!

Prevention

Weight loss is an obvious option to avoid these foot problems. We understand that it can’t happen overnight, though. As you exercise and try to improve your overall health, be extra cautious so you can treat pain as soon as it strikes.

Another good way to keep your pain away is with daily foot care. Check the nails, skin, and soles regularly for any changes or abnormalities. Don’t ignore foot pain. See a podiatrist like Harvey R. Danciger, DPM, if the pain doesn’t go away. Washing the feet frequently and trimming toenails straight across are easy ways to prevent against fungal infections and ingrown toenails.

Shoes are important. Make sure you have a well-fitting pair that matches the activity you’re doing. Change what pair you’re wearing each day. This might increase the lifespan of your footgear. Also, avoid going barefoot, even if you’re on the beach. If your skin is dry, extra weight can cause it to split, opening your foot to infection.

How does obesity affect your feet? All of the above ways and more. The future of your foot health will improve if you practice daily foot care and schedule an appointment for a foot exam with Harvey R. Danciger, DPM. Call (760) 568-0108 to set up a visit to our Palm Desert, CA, office. If you have foot pain, we can help you with your arch, toe, or heel problems. You can also schedule an appointment online, and keep in touch with our office on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest!

Photo Credit: Artur84 via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dr. Harvey Danciger
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle