Being overweight should be something to fight against. It is not about how you look, but the impact of the excess weight on your health. Studies show that excess weight increases your risk for chronic diseases. Not only that, but it also causes overload on your joints, which can lead to joint pain.
Excess weight places significant stress on the joints in the lower body, including the feet. The feet bear the brunt of your body weight with every step you take, and when extra pounds are added to the equation, the impact on these joints becomes amplified.
This extra pressure can lead to accelerated wear and tear on joint cartilage, which acts as a cushion between bones. It can also worsen arthritis symptoms. That is why weight management is prescribed by doctors for patients with arthritis in the feet.
Losing Weight Safely for Arthritis
Safe and sustainable weight loss is a crucial aspect of managing arthritis in the foot. Shedding excess pounds not only relieves stress on the affected joints but also contributes to reducing pain and inflammation in the body and improving joint health.
There is a strong association between joint pain and excess weight. According to the Arthritis Foundation, losing just 10 percent of your body weight can reduce arthritis pain in half – that is 15 pounds for someone who weighs 150 pounds and 20 pounds for someone weighing 200 pounds. Furthermore, fat cells also produce protein that causes inflammation in the body, which is the source of pain for a lot of people. All in all, excess fat can accelerate the progression of arthritis and the breakdown of the protective cartilage injoints.
Unfortunately, losing weight on your own can be challenging. However, with the right support and guidance, you can do it. Here are some tips:
Consult a Healthcare Professional
Before embarking on a weight loss journey, consult a healthcare provider, such as an orthopedic doctor who can guide you on joint care along with weight loss. They can provide personalized guidance based on important factors, such as your medical history, arthritis severity, and lifestyle.
Set Realistic Goals
Aim for gradual and realistic weight loss. Losing 1-2 pounds per week is a safe and sustainable rate that reduces the chances of you gaining all the weight back and more.
Adopt a Balanced Diet
Eat a balanced diet rich in whole foods, including lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Avoid junk food, fast food, and other highly processed foods that contain a lot of sugar and sodium. If needed, work with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to develop a personalized meal plan that meets your specific needs for anti-inflammatory foods, while also supporting your weight loss goals.
Control Your Portion Sizes
Pay attention to portion sizes to prevent overeating. Use smaller plates and practice mindful eating to become more attuned to hunger and fullness cues.
Drink Water Throughout the Day
Drinking water can aid in weight loss by promoting a feeling of fullness and supporting metabolism. It’s also essential for joint lubrication as it stimulates the production of synovial fluid, which helps with a smooth, gliding movement of the joints.
Do Stretches and Low-Impact Exercises
Stretching exercises not only prevent stiff muscles and reduce stress on the joints, but it can also support weight loss, as it burns calories. In addition, engaging in low-impact exercises that are gentle on the joints, such as swimming, walking, cycling, or tai chi, also further boost your efforts. Consult a healthcare professional such as a physical therapist for the right exercise program for you.
Avoid Crash Diets
Extreme diets for rapid weight loss can lead to muscle loss, nutrient deficiencies, and potential health risks. Focus on making changes that you can maintain in the long term that are better for your health and result in sustainable weight loss.
Treatment for Arthritis in the Feet
For a highly individualized treatment plan for foot or ankle arthritis, consult our foot and ankle surgeons or podiatrists at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care. We provide compassionate medical care backed by proven, science-backed techniques to relieve your arthritis symptoms and restore mobility.