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Fix Feet for Weight Loss Success

Updated: May 20

An estimated 70 million obese Americans are trapped in a life-threatening vicious cycle: Obesity aggravates foot problems, like heel pain and flat feet; sore feet make it hard to exercise and lose weight; and without exercise, obesity worsens and exacerbates progression of diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health threats.

If you’re struggling with your weight and your feet hurt, don’t wait to get treatment for chronic, activity-limiting foot and ankle problems that make it harder to stick with physician-directed exercise programs.

Avoiding physical activity due to foot or ankle pain can cause cardiovascular disease and other life-threatening conditions to worsen as a result. 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.

There’s no reason foot or ankle pain should stop obese patients from exercising. The first step toward breaking that vicious cycle is an evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon. That's what we do here at Mendoza Podiatry.

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.

If you’re moderately to severely overweight, it’s important to get a thorough physical examination 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. I counsel overweight patients to avoid working out on treadmills or elliptical machines to minimize pounding and stress on their joints.

Diabetes creates a unique set of challenges for people with weight issues. Shedding excess pounds can help diabetic patients control their disease. However, some diabetics who experience foot ulcerations and vascular problems caused by diabetes might shy away from exercise. That’s why every diabetes patient needs regular foot exams to check for possible sore spots and assess nerve sensation. With proper diabetic foot care and the right footwear, most patients can follow an exercise regimen that is safe and appropriate for them.

Questions about dealing with foot or ankle pain as you work to shed excess pounds? Mendoza Podiatry can help. Give us a call at 615.826.0941.

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