Many of the 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.
It is unfortunate obese 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. 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.
There is no reason foot or ankle pain should stop obese patients from exercising. The first step toward breaking that vicious cycle is to be evaluated by a podiatrist.
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, a thorough physical examination is mandatory by their primary care doctor and/or internist before beginning an exercise program. Once cleared by this physician, don’t try to do too much too soon. Follow a gradual routine until your body adjusts to the stress of regular physical activity.
Shedding excess pounds helps diabetic patients control their disease. Every diabetic patient needs regular foot exams to check for possible sore spots and assess nerve sensation. And with proper diabetic foot care and the right footwear, most patients can follow an exercise regimen that is safe and appropriate for them.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a condition preventing them from working out, please give one of Our Offices a call to schedule a consultation. We can help you shed those unwanted pounds!