The link between Plantar Fasciitis and obesity is well established.
Carrying extra weight adds extra strain to your feet, which in turn adds stress and strain to your heel and fascia.
A study from 2007 found that individuals with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 were 1.7 times more likely to suffer from chronic heel pain, while another study concluded that individuals with a BMI of at least 30 were 2.9 times more likely to suffer from Plantar Fasciitis.
The connection between Plantar Fasciitis and obesity can be especially disheartening for individuals who are overweight and attempting to get active and shed excess pounds.
In many cases, heel pain begins as a result of adding new strain or stress on the feet through increased activity–which can discourage further attempts at exercising.
Does Plantar Fasciitis Go Away with Weight Loss?
By and large, the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis will diminish and disappear with proper treatment and fascia support. The sooner treatment begins (including weight loss) and the more consistent treatment is, the higher the success rate.
Unfortunately, getting active and losing weight while experiencing heel pain adds a few unique challenges to an already challenging task.
How to Lose Weight With Plantar Fasciitis
Losing weight can feel like an uphill battle for anyone. Add in heel pain and discomfort from Plantar Fasciitis, and losing weight can seem all but impossible. The good news is that losing weight while suffering from Plantar Fasciitis is completely possible–and can even be enjoyable–if you are diligent about incorporating the following changes into your lifestyle.
- Get active, comfortably. Getting active while dealing with heel pain is a challenge that you’ll be much more comfortable meeting if you wear the right footwear and support your arches and heels. Invest in a pair of sneakers that will support you, and fit all your footwear with cost-effective heel seats or fascia bar inserts to support, cushion, and reduce inflammation to your feet.
- Increase activity gradually. Remember, losing weight is all about incorporating lifestyle changes, not taking desperate measures. Set a goal to walk for a few minutes each day, and gradually increase the length of your exercise sessions (instead of setting out to walk a 5k after very little physical activity). By pacing yourself and making true lifestyle changes, you’ll set yourself up for success and avoid further inflaming your Plantar Fasciitis.
- Try low-impact exercises. Low-impact exercises can keep you active and help with weight loss while reducing stress to your feet. Try swimming, water aerobics, yoga, spin cycling, and rowing machines are excellent calorie burners but let your feet take it easy.
- Exercise your feet and heels. While cardio and physical activity that gets you moving is the ticket to weight loss, don’t leave your feet behind when it comes to exercise! By keeping the muscles and tendons in your feet limber and toned, you’ll make sure they’re in great shape to take you where you need to go. Try these easy and effective stretches to keep your feet in shape!
- Manage diet alongside exercise. While activity plays a critical role in weight loss, it should go hand in hand with dietary changes. As a rule of thumb, use the “double down” rule. Double the amount of water you drink, the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables you consume, and the amount of lean protein you’re eating. Limit refined foods like white flour and sugar, and be extra careful about the calories you drink (especially soda and juice).
When it comes to Plantar Fasciitis and weight loss, the most important factor of all is your attitude. Don’t get discouraged by heel pain, but do take steps to manage it and alleviate symptoms so you can get active without pain. Not only will losing weight keep heel pain at bay in the future–it’ll make staying healthy and active that much easier.