Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
Being overweight or overweight can exert extreme force on your feet
This can lead to heel, arch, toe, ankle and knee pain. As well, this pain can make exercise more difficult, leading to more weight gain. In addition, the force exerted on your feet when you are overweight can cause long-term foot and ankle damage, including arthritis.
Orthotics can be a very effective treatment for these problems, and generally eliminate foot pain caused by being overweight. In many cases, however, the high forces exerted on an orthosis by an overweight person can make the orthosis ineffective and/or uncomfortable. This can make it difficult for obese or overweight people who are looking for orthotics that work well for them.
More than any other group, overweight people can benefit greatly from well-made foot orthotics. Orthotics can counteract the forces that damage the feet and ankles, helping to relieve pain and prevent long-term damage. By relieving pain, it is easier to exercise and lose weight, which is also beneficial. Protect your feet now by making an appointment and coming to see us at our podiatry clinic in Montreal.
Orthotics for obese or overweight patients must be prescribed very precisely :
- They must be firm enough to counteract the forces exerted on the feet, ankles and legs.
- They should be slightly wider than most foot orthotics in order to distribute the force over a larger area.
- They should be as wide as the foot so that the inside edge of the brace does not dig into your foot.
- They must adhere tightly to the arch of the foot to prevent the arch from collapsing. In fact, the orthosis must adhere to your arch in an almost watertight manner. This type of orthosis is called a “strong adherence orthosis“.
- There is a critical need for additional cushioning to decrease excessive force on cartilage in the joints and help prevent arthritis. This means that although the brace itself is fairly firm, there is often a layer of soft padding on top.
- Orthotics must be 100% comfortable
Why don’t orthotics often work in overweight people?
Many people who have tried orthotics have found that they do not provide the relief they need or that they are uncomfortable. This is especially common among overweight people. The most common cause of this is that the orthotics are not prescribed properly and are too narrow for the patient. When an orthosis is too narrow, the bottom of the foot spills over the inside edge of the orthosis.
This causes excessive tension in the lower part of the foot leading to pain and irritation. Since overweight people exert more force on their feet, these patients are more likely to experience pain if they have orthoses that are too narrow. Orthoses for overweight people should be made so that the orthosis supports the entire bottom of the foot.
Plantar arch disorders in overweight people
Your arch is a shock absorber for your entire body. With each step we take, we exert a force on our feet that is up to five times our body weight, depending on our level of activity. Without this cushioning function of the arch of the foot, we would eventually suffer a fracture or injury to the bones of our lower limbs.
When the arch is more flattened than it should be, or if it has collapsed, it is not able to absorb forces effectively. Without protection, this will lead to further flattening of the arch and reduction of the cushioning function. This reduction in cushioning causes pain in the feet, ankles, legs, knees, hips and back. Over time, this can lead to arthritis.
How does excess weight cause the arch of the foot to collapse?
A normal arch is made up of bones and joints that are held together tightly and precisely. When the arch is forced to flatten, the ligaments and tendons that connect the bones and joints become stretched, leading to the collapse of the arch. Overweight is the most common cause of flat feet (arch collapse) in adults and children today!
If the arches of the foot are not protected from the forces that lead to their flattening, or if they are already flattened and not treated, overweight people can expect to experience one (or more) of the following painful and debilitating conditions:
- la surpronation
- plantar fasciitis (characterized by pain in the heel and arch of the foot)
- frequent ankle sprains.
- Tibial periostitis (characterized by pain in the front or sides of the lower leg).
- knee, hip and lower back pain
If you are overweight and have a very flat foot, you have a problem that is particularly difficult to treat. But we can help you. With the help of the orthotic modifications listed above, we will also be able to adapt your orthotics to better treat your flat foot.
Overall, maintaining a healthy body weight is essential for your health. Don’t let foot pain keep you from exercising and losing weight. With proper orthotics and footwear, we can almost always provide you with the means to walk and exercise without causing foot pain. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our podiatric clinic in Montreal.2021