Weekend Doctor

Excess weight can cause foot pain. However, it's tough to lose weight when your feet hurt.

Being overweight or obese changes the way your foot functions. Force on your foot increases,your steps are shorter, your feet angle out more and flattening of the foot increases.

Studies have shown that overweight patients experience more heel pain, tendonitis, arthritis, ball-of-foot pain, fractures andsprains in their feet and ankles than patients at a normal weight.

So what do you do if foot pain from excess weight prevents you from exercising?

Reducing foot pain will allow you to exercise in comfort, helping you lose weight safely and improving your health.

Foot orthotics can minimize abnormal force on the feet and are often used to treat and prevent foot problems for those carrying excess weight and/or trying to lose weight.

A firm, controlling foot orthotic can support the forces caused by extra weight and provide shock absorption to decrease the stress on your joints and prevent arthritis.

The best orthotics are those that conform closely to the arch of the foot.

Though prefabricated orthotics are available, they often do not provide enough support to adequately relieve pain.

People carrying excess weight are more likely to need custom orthotics for the best pain relief.

Other treatments for foot pain caused by excess weight include stretching, strengthening and anti-inflammatory measures.

If you are starting a weight loss program, be sure to talk to your primary care physician, a registered dietician, and personal trainer or physical therapist to create the best exercise program for your needs.

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