Those who are overweight are far more likely to suffer from a variety of health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes to name a few. But can being overweight really affect your feet too?
Can Being Overweight Affect Your Feet?
In short, yes. Weight gain and foot pain are related. If you are even slightly overweight, this could improve the likelihood of developing foot pain or other related issues. Any extra weight above the healthy level puts extra pressure on the joints and structures of the feet and ankles, resulting in a higher chance of unwanted issues and pains.
The body is not designed to carry excess weight, and your joints will let you know!
Being overweight can also result in poor circulation which affects the body’s ability to heal properly and can result in ulcers in the feet and legs. Signs of poor circulation to the feet include pain or aching, heaviness, swelling, tingling or discolouration.
The Links Between Being Overweight and Foot Pain
There is undoubtedly a connection between extra weight and foot pain. If you are overweight and your feet hurt it may be because you are adding extra strain to the joints, or you could even be aggravating an underlying condition.
If you already have an existing condition such as arthritis for example, being overweight can put greater stress onto the joints and worsen the symptoms. Not only does being overweight affect the feet, it impacts the whole body too.
Studies have shown that there is, without a doubt, a connection between high BMI and foot ailments. Most worryingly, there is an increased risk of developing type ii diabetes which can be linked to many foot problems such as bunions, calluses, fungal infections and nerve damage.
There are many links between being overweight and foot pain and it has been proven that losing weight helps with foot health.
Losing Weight Can Reduce Gout
Those who carry ‘visceral fat’ (aka belly fat), are more likely to develop gout whether they are drastically overweight or not. Gout is identified by sudden attacks of pain and swelling in the joints, most frequently focused in the joint of the big toe.
To get technical, gout is caused by the condition ‘hyperuricemia’ which is caused by excess uric acid. Uric acid is created by the breakdown of purines which are found in certain foods. Purine rich foods include red meat, fructose and some kinds of seafood. Alcohol consumption is also a contributing factor in the development of gout.
Here are the main causes of gout:
- Being Overweight or Obese
- Being Male
- Heart Conditions
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption
- Purine Rich Diet (Red meats, certain sea foods etc)
There is unfortunately no doubt that being overweight can affect your feet, and gout is one of the most common conditions that can occur. Losing weight and cutting down on alcohol and rich foods will prevent the risk of gout and help keep your feet healthy.
It is important to note that, though the main symptoms of gout are manifested in the feet, the condition is a sign of inflammation throughout the body and also affects the organs too. Many patients with gout tend to have other more serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Tips for Losing Weight and Improving Foot Health
Although there are many links to weight gain and foot pain, many of these issues can be prevented or even reversed by losing weight.
Here are some top tips for losing weight to improve foot health:
- Adjust Your Diet
Keep a food diary and honestly monitor your food and drink intake across the course of a week. Look back at your observations. Are you consuming red meat on a regular basis? Do you drink alcohol three times a week or more? Do you regularly go over your recommended daily calorie intake? Be aware of what you are consuming and try to ensure you are eating a healthy balanced diet, and limiting sugar and junk food. Reducing your daily calorie intake will also help to shed the pounds quicker. Always consult with your GP before embarking on a restrictive diet.
- Exercise More
As well as burning calories, exercise such as jogging also helps to strengthen the joints, muscles and tendons in the feet and legs. Exercising for at least 30 minutes daily will ensure that your legs, feet and ankles are stretching and toning regularly. A deficit of 500-1000 calories per day is proven to assist weight loss. This can be done through a mixture of exercise and a controlled diet.
- Cut Down On Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system and result in hypertension. It also adds surplus calories that are often consumed mindlessly. Alcohol promotes appetite so cutting down will also help you to avoid snacking and binge eating too.
- Medical Intervention
If you are in the obese or morbidly obese category, your doctor may advise you to consider medical procedures such as a gastric band to help guarantee weight loss and get you moving again. This should only be considered as a last resort and you should always consult your doctor on the best route to take to lose weight.
Top Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy
In addition to following a healthy diet and exercise plan, you should take care of your feet to give them the best chance of recovery and protection from future complaints. Here are our top tips on how to keep your feet healthy:
- Visit a Podiatrist or Chiropodist such as Market Street Clinic to have your ailments accurately diagnosed by a specialist. They will then provide you with tailored advice to ensure you are taking good care of your feet.
- Choose breathable orthopaedic footwear that supports the ankles and feet during exercise.
- Wear shoes that fit properly and avoid tight or pointed shoes.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Ensure you consult your doctor if you have any other symptoms – foot pain or swelling could be a sign of an underlying condition. Treatment for this could alleviate your symptoms.
If you are struggling with weight gain and foot pain, it is always best to consult a specialist doctor or chiropodist to determine the cause of your ailments. A professional chiropodist will be able to advise you on the safest and most effective course of action to take to look after your feet.
In the meantime, losing weight will help with foot pain and improve overall health and wellbeing too. Always ensure that you consult a professional to ensure that you are following the weight loss plan that is right for you.