gout on foot

The Link Between Foot Problems and Weight

Foot pain may have as much to do with your weight as your feet.

We’re all familiar with the health problems that excess weight can cause: hypertension, heart disease, arthritis and others. But what’s less well known is that being overweight can be linked to foot problems.

Accordinig to an article in the Harvard Medical School’s Healthbeat newsletter, being overweight contributes to common problems like heel pain.  Any foot ailment is more painful the more weight you put on it,” the article says. Additionally, being overweight increases the risk atherosclerosis, poor circulation, and diabetes. Those conditions can damage your feet.

So, the article says, “losing weight can help get more spring in your step.” (Editor’s note: Check with your doctor before making any changes in diet; additionally, ask if other methods such as medication or physical therapy can help with your pain.)

The experts from Harvard suggest a “three-pronged strategy” to help you lose weight:

Be active. The experts suggest aiming, on most days, a minimum of at least 30 minutes of strenuous exercise (fast swimming, for example) and 60 minutes of moderate activity (like fast walking).

Eat right. According to the newsletter, experts at the Harvard School of Public Health suggest limiting your intake of refined carbohydrates and added sugars (soda, candy, cookies). They advocate focusing on whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid meat as much as possible and use olive and other vegetable oils instead of butter or margarine.

Eat light. You don’t have to be a member of the clean-plate club. Instead, the Harvard experts say, get into the habit of stopping eating before you feel stuffed. If you’re dining out, steer clear of supersized meals or portions. You can share an entrée or have an appetizer and a salad. Drink water or seltzer instead of high-calorie, sugary drinks.

Learn more about taking good care of your feet. Check out Healthy Feet: Preventing and treating common foot problems, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.