Even though no one enjoys talking about it, more and more people are coming to realize the serious, negative effects that being overweight can have on your health. It impacts your heart and increases your risks for serious, chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Excess weight can also cause damage to your lower limbs. Obesity and foot pain, especially heel pain, are frequently found together.
The Power of Weight
Heel and foot pain from being overweight are unfortunately common. Your feet must absorb the force of your bodyweight striking the ground every time you take a step, which strains joints, connective tissues, and even the natural protective padding in your soles. Over time, this foot stress can aggravate any problems you already have—or contribute to developing some new issues. Plantar fasciitis, heel fissures, and arthritis are particularly sensitive to the effects of obesity.
Common Connected Conditions
Plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain in adults, is significantly impacted by your weight. Excessive pressure on your plantar fascia band overstretches it and creates uncomfortable inflammation and swelling. If you struggle with obesity, even just walking around and completing day-to-day tasks can be enough to strain the band. That also means it’s much harder to relieve the pressures on your heel to allow it to recover, increasing the odds that the problem will become chronic.
Excess weight also compresses the natural fatty padding you have in the soles of your feet, contributing to both heel pain and problems like heel fissures. You have a layer of fatty tissue that helps absorb shock and protects your bones when you step. As it compresses down under your weight, it thins out and offers less protection. This also stretches your skin, which is more likely to be too dry, since excessive weight and pressure damages and inhibits the sweat glands that keep your feet moist. All of this together increases your chances of developing painful heel fissures, which also leaves you vulnerable to infections.
Heavy weight makes arthritis worse as well. Arthritis is wear and tear in your joints. The more pressure you have on your bones, the quicker their protective layers break down and grind together. Fatty tissue also releases chemicals that can contribute to inflammation. This aggravates your joints further and makes it very uncomfortable for you to use the affected bones.
The best way to reduce pressure on your feet is to lose weight. In the meantime, because obesity and foot pain are so closely linked, when you are overweight you need to take extra care of your lower limbs. Your discomfort can still be treated conservatively, but if you don’t address it right away, you’re likely to develop long-term pain and have trouble recovering. Dr. Noah Levine will work with you to diagnose the exact source of your heel and foot pain, and how much your weight contributes to it. Then our team can help you begin healing.
You may need to change your shoes to accommodate the pressure on your lower limbs. Footwear with padded, supportive soles helps reduce the strain on your heels and arches, which can help prevent or relieve discomfort. You may need custom orthotics to provide the extra cushioning or stabilization you require. Make sure you keep your feet moist, too, so you’re less likely to develop complications from dry skin. Wear thick, fitted socks and always moisturize your feet after washing them. Don’t take stretching and exercise for granted, either. The movement helps you keep your joints flexible—which is important if you have arthritis—and conditions your feet to handle your weight.
Don’t let obesity and foot pain keep you from living an active, full life. You don’t have to accept uncomfortable heels or any other type of foot pain as inevitable. You can take steps to care for your feet. Let Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas help. Call (702) 839-2010 or use our online contact form if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to address your discomfort.