The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SOCAP) annually runs the Feet for Life Campaign in the month of June. This campaign is aimed at raising awareness that good foot health is essential to an individual’s quality of life and highlights podiatry as an integral component of preventative medicine. Every year SOCAP selects a theme/ condition/ risk factor to focus on for Feet for Life with previous years seeing the spotlight put on pregnancy, arthritis, diabetes and even embarrassing feet. This year the Society is focussing on obesity.

Obesity is a very troubling and increasingly prevalent phenomenon in recent years which is now starting to get deserved media coverage. Just this morning the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence published guidelines suggesting that even minimal weight-loss (3%) in some patient groups could greatly reduce the incidence of life threatening diseases such as cardiovascular disease in the future. Cardiovascular disease can have an effect on the lower limbs and feet resulting in cramps, claudication and a dampened healing response in the worst cases.

As well as the above mentioned condition, obesity also has other effects on one’s foot health. It is sighted as a risk factor for the development of Diabetes Mellitus which can cause damage to nerves and blood vessels leaving patients susceptible to ulceration, infection and ultimately amputation if care of one’s feet is not taken.

Apart from the above mentioned serious and life threatening diseases, obesity has a role to play in an individual’s general foot comfort. It’s physics, the more we weigh the more force is put on our feet.

Our feet are incredible mechanical structures and are well developed to distribute force but if we are heavier than we should be a number of structures can fatigue and suffer from overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis and posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.

Footwear and orthoses can play a big part in helping feet to cope but essentially the benefits of getting down to a healthy weight cannot be stressed enough. Much is being done at the moment to make it easier for us to understand nutrition and the role exercise should play in our lives.

The Footcare Centre is entering into the spirit of Feet for Life Month by giving away packs containing information on various foot related topics, foot cream samples and a pedometer to count off the recommended 10 000 steps a day we should all be obtaining. For more information on the above subject access this link: http://www.scpod.org/foot-health/feet-for-life-month/feet-and-weight/



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