Healthy Feet for Weight Loss Success
New Year's Resolutions can include many goals, from getting healthier to traveling more to running a marathon. It's always a good idea to make sure your feet are in tip top shape, and we're here to help you prep.
This blog post focuses on a top goal for many, weight loss and your feet. An estimated 70 million overweight Americans experience foot problems, like heel pain and flat feet. Sore feet make it hard to exercise and lose weight; and without exercise, those extra pounds worsen or exacerbate the progression of diabetes, heart disease and other serious health threats. Today, Orange County Foot & Ankle Surgeons urged overweight adults to seek immediate treatment for chronic, activity-limiting foot and ankle problems to foster compliance with physician-directed exercise programs.
“It’s unfortunate overweight adults get caught up in the vicious cycle of avoiding physical activity due to foot or ankle pain, thereby permitting cardiovascular disease and other life-threatening conditions to worsen as a result,” says Dr. Bennett, DPM. “For example, in many cases, chronic heel pain occurs from carrying too much weight. Left untreated, it becomes an impediment to physical activity and meaningful weight loss.”
Bennett says there’s no reason foot or ankle pain should stop patients from exercising. The first step toward breaking the cycle is an evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon.
According to the ACFAS consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org, many causes of foot pain can be relieved without surgery through stretching exercises, orthotics and athletic shoes with good shock absorption and support. If a bunion, heel pain or other condition requires surgery, patients can participate during their recovery in non-weight-bearing activities, such as riding a stationary bike, swimming or weight training.
For those moderately to severely overweight, Bennett says a thorough physical examination is mandatory before beginning an exercise program.
“Once cleared by your physician to begin exercising, don’t try to do too much too soon. Follow a gradual routine until your body adjusts to the stress of regular physical activity,” he says. “For example, I counsel overweight patients to avoid working out on treadmills or elliptical machines to minimize pounding and stress on their joints.”
Shedding excess pounds helps diabetic patients control their disease, but Bennett notes many who experience foot ulcerations and vascular problems caused by diabetes might think they shouldn’t exercise.
“Every diabetes patient needs regular foot exams to check for possible sore spots and assess nerve sensation,” says Bennett. “And with proper diabetic foot care and the right footwear, most patients can follow an exercise regimen that is safe and appropriate for them.”