The connection between healthy feet and waistline

For many of us, achieving healthy weight loss is a lifelong journey with many forks in the road (pun intended). It’s common knowledge that diet and exercise are the tried and true ways to keep the body (and all of its parts) healthy and functioning at optimal levels. Unfortunately, when a patient is overweight, chronically ill, or inactive, foot problems, among a host of other health issues can begin a vicious cycle of immobility that is hard to break.

Foot problems, like heel pain, flat and/or sore feet make it hard to exercise and lose weight; and without exercise, obesity worsens and exacerbates the progression of diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health threats. However, there is no reason foot or ankle pain should stop overweight patients from exercising.

The first step toward breaking that vicious cycle is an evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon.

Increased weight on the body puts excess stress on the feet and heel. This means that small changes in weight loss and weight gain will impact the feet. And, of course, this goes both ways: A small amount of weight gain can worsen foot conditions. But, weight loss, even just a few pounds, can improve foot conditions, especially plantar fasciitis (stabbing pains at the bottom of the foot).

Shedding excess pounds helps diabetic patients control their disease, but many patients who experience foot ulcerations and vascular problems caused by diabetes might think they shouldn’t exercise. Every diabetes patient needs regular foot exams to check for possible sore spots and assess nerve sensation. However, with proper diabetic foot care and the right footwear, most patients can follow an exercise regimen that is safe and appropriate for them.

Once cleared by a physician to begin exercising, a patient must use a slow, gradual routine to help the body adjust to the stress of regular physical activity. We often advise patients to avoid treadmills or elliptical machines to minimize pounding and stress on their joints.

According to, stretching exercises, orthotics, and athletic shoes with good shock absorption and support can relieve pain and improve the effectiveness of physical activity without the need for surgery. If a bunion, heel pain or other condition requires surgery, patients can participate in their recovery in non-weight-bearing activities, such as riding a stationary bike, swimming or weight training.

Will this be the spring you get out of pain and step forward in your health and wellness journey?

For more information or an exam with the physicians from Your Foot Doctors (Cleveland East & West), visit