Overweight and obese people are at a higher risk of many different conditions causing foot pain. Our feet absorb our weight when we are standing or walking, and the extra weight contributes extra pressure. Not only does extra weight make you prone to overuse injuries like tendinitis but it also puts you at a higher risk for more serious injuries such as stress fractures and bone spurs. Here we will cover some of the possible conditions your feet may experience.
The arch of the foot, located on the inner part of the foot, is slightly raised off the ground. This provides spring, and helps distribute our body weight across our feet and legs. One of the risks of carrying extra weight is weakened tendons and ligaments, resulting in flat feet or fallen arches. This can contribute to pain when standing or walking because of the added stress to the already strained tendons and ligaments. There are fitted insoles and special shoes you can get to help the arch form, but losing weight is the best way to see considerable improvement in the arches of your feet.
Your plantar fascia is the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. It runs from the heel bone to the bones of the mid-foot and the bones that go between each toe. Extra weight places pressure on this connective tissue and results in swelling of the plantar fascia, causing stabbing pain in the heel, particularly first thing in the morning or after you have been seated for a long time.
Similar to plantar fasciitis, tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon. Tendinitis is common in the Achilles tendon, particularly in obese people. This is because the flattening of the feet that is caused by the extra weight puts additional strain on the Achilles tendon resulting in pain and inflammation.
Stress fractures can happen when the lower body is overburdened, as in the case of people carrying extra weight. This is because the feet are under an excess amount of pressure while we are walking. Having flat feet, which commonly occurs with extra weight, increases your risk of suffering from a stress fracture.
Also known as an osteophyte, bone spurs are more likely to occur in someone who is overweight because of the additional stress on their joints from the extra weight. Caused by the gradual breakdown of the cartilage around joints, a bone spur is a bone growth that the body creates to minimize the friction caused by two bones grinding against one another. When a bone spur develops in a joint it can cause localized pain, nerve pain, stiffness, numbness, and tingling. Losing weight won’t cure the bone spur, but it will reduce the amount of stress on the affected joint. Less stress on the joint gives natural stress relief.