Obesity May Cause Foot Problems

Feet and ancles can not stand too
much weight; © PixelQuelle.de

Individuals who responded to the survey and reported current foot and ankle pain, who had prior foot surgery or who had previously seen a physician about foot and ankle pain, all seemed to have a higher BMI than those who did not report pain. Furthermore, 40.8 percent of the respondents reported weight gain prior to the onset of pain.

“It is important for the public to know that obesity isn’t just an aesthetic issue, but a contributing cause of musculoskeletal health problems, specifically with the feet and ankles,” said Stuart D. Miller, M.D., Baltimore, MD, a member of the AOFAS Public Education Committee.

The survey asked 6157 respondents, with the mean age of 34.5 years and average body mass index (BMI) of 27.9 kg/m2, about foot and ankle problems. People with the BMI of 18.5 – 24.9 kg/m2 are classified as normal, 25.0 – 29.9 kg/m2 are considered overweight and above 30.0 kg/m2 are obese.

“In general, people carry approximately four to six times their body weight across the ankle joint when climbing up stairs or walking steep inclines. Obesity may significantly increase the impact,” explained Dr. Miller. Increased BMI has also been found to increase foot pressures with standing and walking, and is no doubt a precursor to foot and ankle pain.

The survey also uncovered some differences between the sexes. Among respondents, women were more likely to see a physician for foot pain and more likely to change their shoes based on physician’s advice. Similarly, more women underwent foot and ankle surgery than men. Men, however, more often claimed a specific injury as the cause of pain and were more likely to wear orthotic inserts in their shoes.

MEDICA.de; Source: American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS)