Every New Year brings a change at a new beginning. We take advantage of this fresh start to make new resolutions and goals. The single most common New Year’s resolution has to be to lose weight. With that in mind, here is how simply shedding a few Holiday pounds can improve the health of your feet.
Increase in body weight = increase in foot pain:
General foot pains and fatigue can be caused from either rapid or slowly progressive weight gain. As your body weight increases your base of gait (the distance between your feet in a standing position) increases. This occurs as the body attempts to support the weight and to literally keep from falling over. The angle of your standing position also increases with an increase in body weight. In a “normal” or ideal body weight the feet should be externally rotated (pointed outward) less than 15 degrees. With the increase in body weight the feet not only take a wider stance but also rotate outward. This wider more angled stance causes a decrease in the arch of the foot (thus it is more common to have problems with flat feet in the obese population).
Losing body weight can help relieve the stress and strain on all body joints. The knees take the majority of the beating with increased body weight but the small joints of the feet can also feel the aches and pains. The ankle joint (due to the changes mentioned in the previous paragraph) begins to stretch and strain with the increased load. The cartilage of the knees, ankle and all joints are less prone to wear and tear with decreased body weight. Think of the life of a tug boat. If the tug boat carries lighter loads it will more than likely last longer. If the tug boat is bogged down carrying massive amounts of extra weight it will need more repairs more often and eventually be outlived by the lighter-toting tug.
Many New Year’s goals involve getting more exercise. While more running and training can initially be hard on the feet, the reward of weight loss out-weighs the risk of work out injury. Increasing exercise increases the blood flow to the heart and the organs, as well as the extremities. Increasing blood flow to the feet can help with minor aches and pains and injury.
Exercise is ALWAYS a good thing! However, a change in exercise habits can lead to more foot pains. An increase or change in work outs can cause excess stresses on the feet. It is very important to gradually work in to new workouts and always stretch and warm up before beginning.
The best part of losing weight is enjoying a healthier lifestyle. Diabetes and heart disease (ever increasing in Americans) can be overcome by making lifestyle changes. Avoiding diabetes and heart disease helps avoid foot pathologies.
As you make your New Year’s resolutions, be intelligent about your lifestyle changes. Avoid dramatic dieting or exercise regimens. Always consult with your health care professional before making any drastic lifestyle changes.
At Foot and Ankle Specialists of The Woodlands we can help diagnose and treat many sports related injuries involving the feet and ankles. We have treatment plans that are proven to work for many injuries, aches and pains. Dr. Vaclaw can help guide your new lifestyle changes and answer questions regarding weight loss to shoe selection. For more information please contact us at:
Foot and Ankle Specialists of The Woodlands
9191 Pinecroft Dr suite 225
The Woodlands, TX 77380