Podiatrist in San Leandro, CA
Foot Doctor of the East Bay
1300 Bancroft Ave
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 483-3390
(510) 394-6402 fax
Podiatrist  in San Leandro, CA Call For Pricing Options!

Foot Doctor of the East Bay Blog Foot Doctor of the East Bay Facebook Foot Doctor of the East Bay Twitter Foot Doctor of the East Bay Google Plus Foot Doctor of the East Bay YouTube Foot Doctor of the East Bay Pinterest

How Obesity and Diabetes Impacts Your FeetObesity has become an epidemic in the United States. As tasks become more convenient and our lives, jobs, and hobbies become more sedentary, we have to make time for dedicated exercise in order to stay healthy and trim. Unfortunately, not all of us do.

Everyone knows that being overweight, or obese, greatly increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Both of these conditions can affect your feet, especially diabetes, which damages nerves, decreases circulation, and puts your lower extremities in danger of infections and ulcers that, if unnoticed and untreated, can require lengthy recovery or even amputation.

Other Common Complications

That isn’t the only way obesity and your feet are linked, however. With each step we take, we apply more than just our own body weight in force to our feet, ankles, knees, and hips. There’s a downward force applied from taking that step, and that force is applied over the area in contact with the ground. That’s why even 1 extra pound on your frame can roughly equal about 5 extra pounds of force on your knees, ankles, and feet. Losing 20 pounds can mean sparing your feet from an extra 100 pounds of force with every stride.

Excess weight puts a lot of extra stress on your joints, too, putting those who are heavy at greater risk of developing or worsening osteoarthritis pain. Weight-bearing joints such as your ankles and hips are, logically, especially affected.

Osteoarthritis isn’t the only form of joint pain that obesity can magnify. As active tissue, fat also releases inflammatory chemicals that can have an adverse effect on joint functioning and immunity. These chemicals can help usher in rheumatoid arthritis. Obesity is closely linked to gout as well; excess weight prohibits proper kidney functioning and can lead to a build-up of uric acid in the body, triggering painful gout attacks.

Carrying all those extra pounds is bad for the arches of your feet, too. This portion of your foot acts as a natural shock-absorber, defending bones from traumatic impacts. If you’re obese, the extra stress can cause the tendons and ligaments in the bottom of your feet to weaken and stretch, collapsing the arch. Without that natural protection, you will become much more susceptible to conditions such as heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, shin splints, stress fractures, and general pain in your feet, and eventually, knees, hips, and lower back.

Getting Out of the Obesity Trap

The foot and joint problems caused by being overweight can create a vicious cycle: constant pain makes exercise more difficult, which leads to less exercise and more weight gain. The extra pounds also makes some conservative treatment therapies less effective—for example, a lighter person who runs might be able to “rest” simply by not running for a few days or weeks; a larger person, however, may be putting more force on their feet simply by walking than a lighter person does when running.

Obviously weight loss is the best remedy, but before you start any program, check with your primary physician to determine that it’s safe to start. It may be helpful at first to try a lot of lower-impact (or so-called “no-impact”) exercises, such as cycling, swimming, or step aerobics, to reduce strain on your overloaded joints. These activities are good for your obesity and your feet.

If you’re already dealing with foot and ankle pain as a result of your size, call Foot Doctor of the East Bay. We can examine the extent of any foot deformities or damage, and devise necessary treatment options. We can also fit you for custom orthotics that help support your feet and ankles, cushion the impact of your steps, and redistribute your weight more evenly. Although it won’t solve the underlying problem, it can relieve symptoms and make it easier for you to get on your feet and reach your goals. Call us today at (510) 483-3390 to set up an appointment at our San Leandro, Los Gatos, or Pleasanton office. We are here to help!

Feetured Article of the Week

Online Store

Foot Doctor of the East Bay Blog Foot Doctor of the East Bay Facebook Foot Doctor of the East Bay Twitter
Foot Doctor of the East Bay Google Plus Foot Doctor of the East Bay YouTube Foot Doctor of the East Bay Pinterest