Step on the scale. If it reads more than 200 pounds, maybe you should take a step back and start treating your feet right away. The foot is designed to carry maybe 200 pounds or so, according to a spokesperson from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Any more weight than that can put extra pressure on the foot, which can cause some problems. Let us explain more about how weight affects feet.
If you’re over 200 pounds, or have a higher BMI, the weight-bearing portions of your feet, along with the tendons, ligaments, and bones, may not be able to handle all the heaviness. These areas are in trouble because, as you add additional weight, your foot changes the way it functions—for the worse:
- Posterior Tibial Tendonitis - This is the inflammation of the posterior tibial tendon, which runs along the inside of the ankle. The tendon supports the arch and gives structure to the foot when walking. When you place excess pressure on the tendon, however, it may become inflamed and torn.
- Flat Feet - Flat feet can throw off the alignment in the rest of your body, which causes more pain, so it’s important to receive orthotics or bracing for this problem. Injury to the posterior tibial tendon is a main contributor to adult acquired flatfoot. If you’re overweight, you can easily inflame or tear the tendon when you take a step, causing the arch to slowly collapse over time.
- Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle - Even if your obesity hasn’t caused arthritis, the symptoms will be worse if you’re overweight. With arthritis, you may also be susceptible to fractures and sprains.
- Plantar Fasciitis - This most common type of heel pain happens when the tissue that runs from the heel to the arch becomes inflamed due to excess pressure. When the weight is too great, it can become torn.
Solutions for Foot Problems
Stay active to help curb the way your weight affects feet. We know it can be difficult, as foot pain can make exercise somewhat uncomfortable and painful. However, staying active is the only way you can achieve weight loss that will take pressure off your feet. If you cease activity, you may gain more weight that can lead to other problems.
If you’re starting a weight loss program, try consulting with a doctor, dietician, or personal trainer first. They can suggest a plethora of exercises you can do that won’t put strain on your feet and can get you on track back to health, free from foot pain. Swimming, riding your bike, practicing yoga, and using the elliptical are all low-impact ways to stay active.
A custom orthotic can really help offload the excess pressure your weight is placing on your feet. The orthotic will also absorb shocks and treat any existing foot problems you may have. It may also do a better job at treating your problem, as more standard treatments are designed for those with an average weight.
Weight affects feet in more ways than you think. Let the expertly trained team at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group guide you through a happy and healthy treatment plan. Please make an appointment by calling us at (916) 961-3434. Our office serves Carmichael, Roseville, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, Rocklin, and the greater Sacramento area.