I see many people who are overweight and obese walking around seemingly in pain with what I assume is from sore knees and aching feet. Naturally the more you weigh, the more load is passing through your knee joints and resulting in pressure on your feet. I though for this article I would check out what effect extra weight has on our knees and our feet.
I’m around eight kilos overweight myself at present, due mostly to an inactive thyroid and medication I have been required to take for the last couple of years. I think all the time about what carrying around this weight on a daily basis is doing to my knees and my feet. You only have to pick up a five-kilo bag of potatoes to know what this amount of weight feels like and in my case it’s almost like carrying around two bags twenty-four hours a day. At least with all the strategies I have now put in place I’m no longer gaining weight and I’m finally starting to lose again even though it is at a snails pace!
For those that have BMIs over 25 or are obese the strain on your knees and feet can be massive. Naturally extra weight increases the load placed on the knees and it is estimated that a force of nearly three to six times one’s body weight is exerted across the knee just by walking and any further increase in body weight naturally increases this amount. The researchers say that even a modest amount of weight loss may significantly lighten the load on your joints. For every 1 kg of weight loss, the peak knee load is reduced by 2.2 kg.
And overweight women have nearly four times the risk of having knee osteoarthritis; and for overweight men the risk is five times greater. Osteoarthritis in the knees progressively destroys the cartilage that acts like a shock absorber in the joints and results in pain, stiffness, and in some cases loss of movement in the affected joint. Research has found that the majority of our over 65s population will show some degenerative changes in their knees. If a person already has arthritis losing weight should help with the symptoms and with function. Weight loss cannot reverse any knee damage but it can substantially reduce discomfort and can in some cases increase a person’s mobility.
As our feet bear the weight of our entire body it should be no surprise that carrying around extra weight also has a profound effect on our feet. The extra weight carried can dramatically change the way our feet function and can lead to many foot conditions. When excess weight is forced upon our feet it causes injury and inflammation to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that are the supporting structures in the feet and they can become stretched and weakened. This can lead to pain, cause over pronation and lead to problems in other parts of the body such as knees and hips. Not only does the extra weight put stress on your feet but it can also bring about changes in your posture, changes in your gait (steps may become shorter), ball of foot pain and arthritis. Having foot pain can affect your daily exercise as well because your feet just hurt too much. Low impact activities such as water walking, swimming and water aerobics can be beneficial for those starting an exercise program.
As you would know if you have feet problems footwear plays an extremely important role in keeping you on your feet and moving. It is recommended to wear as often as possible a shoe with a closed back and a secure closure, with midsole cushioning and flexibility to reduce impact on hard flat surfaces. There are loads of experts and places around that can advise or supply any arch orthotics required.
By losing just 5% of your body weight can have more than triple the effect on your ability to function. For those that already have knee problems it is a vicious cycle between knee pain and BMI, because the discomfort usually reduces your activity level that can then lead to further weight gain, which then has a negative impact on knee symptoms, and can result in even further reduction in activity levels.
Even walking can often be impossible for those with knee and feet problems due to the repetitive impact involved as it may exacerbate symptoms. This is when you must consult the experts who will develop an activity program that is right for your condition.
The best place to start with knee and feet problems is to halt the weight gain and reevaluate you’re food intake and exercise in order to reduce your BMI.
Check out your BMI if you don’t know it.
It can be calculated at: http://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/bmi-calculator
Readers who are on our support list so far are:
April 2014, Jane, BMI 30, 12 kilos to lose
April 2014, Jennifer, BMI 30+, 35 kilos to lose
April 2014, Glen, BMI 27, 12 kilos to lose
April 2014, Beverley, BMI 30+, 17 kilos to lose
April 2014, Sue T. 8kilos to lose
April 2014, Sylvia H. BMI 30.5, 8 kilos to lose
Who asked where to go now? For now determine your BMI and ensure for the next two months that you maintain your weight with NO weight gain and then try to put in place some of the strategies that I have outlined in these articles. Let us know how you are going.
So lots of positive vibes to: Jane, Jennifer, Glen, Beverley, Sue T, Sylvia H. and Rosemary C. Stay with it and take one day at a time. xxx CaroleL
If you would like to communicate with me or for me to cover any particular topic in this column please email me at [email protected]
Anyone with a BMI over 25 and over the age of 60 should really look seriously at devising an eating plan that has reduced kilojoules. You need an uncomplicated plan that can also fit in with your lifestyle, and one that you can adapt if necessary for unavoidable social events.
Please note that Carole is not a physician, dietician or nutritionist. If a reader has any issues about their weight that are medically related then a professional opinion should always be obtained before embarking on any changes or restrictions to their diets.
Do you have issues with your legs or feet? Tell us in the comments below…
Carole Lethbridge is the author of “Online Dating After Sixty: One woman’s journey of love, lust and losers”. She has been both married and single over the last few decades and she has done her own research, gathering extensive data on relationships between females and males. Online Dating After Sixty is available for purchase for $21.50 via Booktopia.