Your weight and the health of your feet—there’s an undeniable connection. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, we see the incidence and severity of many medical disorders and conditions that affect feet and ankles has increased in patients who are overweight. A startling trend is that more children are obese now than ever before—23 million in our country between the ages of 2-19 are overweight. This greatly increases their risk of injury and chronic foot problems into adulthood.
What’s the Problem?
It’s fairly obvious that since your feet bear the weight of your entire body, the heavier the load the more strain on your feet. Studies show that patients who are overweight report a much higher rate of foot and ankle pain. They are more likely to have a foot or ankle fracture and being overweight also increases many foot conditions including plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, gout and osteoarthritis. In addition, diseases that can have a major impact on foot health such as diabetes and peripheral artery disease are more likely to occur in people who are overweight.
Put Your Child on a Healthy Path
Whether your child is overweight or you just want to make sure he or she continues to maintain a healthy weight, there are steps you can take to help:
Start with a checkup with one of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond. The foot doctor will examine your child’s foot and gait and take a medical history to look for possible inherited foot defects. The information provided by the exam can help you determine if there are any physical activities your child should avoid or if specific footwear or inserts are necessary to protect foot health.
Make physical fitness a fun, family affair: participate with your children in hikes, bike rides and walks. Encourage some type of activity on a daily basis.
Swap fruits and vegetables for some of the less healthy snacks your child may be eating.
Get your child in the habit of drinking water instead of soda, fruit drinks and even fruit juice which is high in sugar and calories.