Detrimental Effects of Obesity on Lower Limbs

Almost every one is concerned about Obesity and consider as “National Health Crisis”, as it affects heart, liver, kidney, lymphatic system, lead to diabetes, etc. However, hardly anyone is concerned about the harmful effect of obesity on lower limb causing severe complications and deformities that affect the mobility for healthy and independent aging.

Obesity causes:

– The chances of developing deformity in the lower limb by putting extra stress, for every kilo gained, 5 kilos of extra pressure is exerted and even more pressure is added to the hips. In middle age, weight gain adds to the likelihood of developing OA in the next decade.

– “Malaligned” bones, conditions such as having knock-knee or being bowlegged increase the chances for wear and tear in the joint as well as causing imbalance gait and posture.

– Lower limb musculoskeletal stiffness and tightness, which lead to Lower Limb pain, strain, sprain and stress fractures.

– Foot and lower limb complications and deformities such as swelling, flatten medial and transverse arches, heel, shin, calf, knee, hip and lower back pain, painful corn and calluses etc.

On load bearing (standing & walking) the normal foot alignment functions as a shock absorber for the body, the misaligned and collapsed foot by far is the most significant problem in obesity. It is a medical condition in which the arch of the foot collapses, with the entire sole of the foot coming in complete or near-complete contact with the ground.

Overweight people must be most concerned with the additional load and stress that applies on misaligned foot, ankle and lower limb. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments that hold up the lower limb structure become stretched and weaker, painful and in worst case ultimately lead to breakdown resulting into immobility.

The Solution:

– Life Style Changes: Your habits as a youth, translates to your overall health as adults. The very first step is to treat the root cause i.e. Obesity. Make modification in your diet with healthy eating habits, exercise and physical activities.

– Stay Active: Choose physical activity of your choice and make a commitment to engage yourself in it for at least 60 minutes. Overexertion can cause more pain, listen to your body if not possible at one go then break it number of times during the day.

– Exercise: It is the best treatment, helps you lose weight, increases flexibility, strengthen muscles, eases pain, boosts your mood, strengthens your heart, and improves blood flow.

– Orthotic: It is important to realign your feet to neutral position provide adequate shock absorption for the body and in turn to improve gait and posture. This will help to prevent and alleviate pain in the foot, ankle, leg, knee, hip, and lower back.

Use Assistive Devices. If you feel unstable and having joint pain, use assistive device such as knee and ankle brace and back support. Assistive devices help take weight off the joint and decrease pain, in addition to making you feel more stable on your feet.

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