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Heel Pain and Weight Loss

Losing weight can feel like an uphill battle for anyone, especially as we age. Add in heel pain and discomfort from Plantar Fasciitis or other foot related issues, and losing weight can seem all but impossible. Heel pain from Plantar Fasciitis can make it difficult to lose weight with exercise because it only provokes the pain – especially for runners; getting active and losing weight while experiencing heel pain adds complex challenges to an already challenging task. The arch of the foot is primarily responsible for distributing weight and absorbing the impact from daily activities. Carrying extra body weight dramatically increases the impact and stress on the heel, which can lead to flattening, trauma, micro-injuries, and eventual Plantar Fasciitis in the arch of the foot. Though rest is often an effective solution for Plantar Fasciitis, for individuals who are overweight and are turning to exercise for weight loss, these contrasting treatment paths can feel like an impossible hurdle. You want to lose weight by exercising, but this only heightens your heel pain, meaning that weight loss and heel pain can become a vicious cycle. The good news, however, is that losing weight while suffering from Plantar Fasciitis is completely possible if you are diligent about incorporating the following changes into your lifestyle. By incorporating low-impact cardio activities like water aerobics, swimming, or cycling as well as low-impact strength training like yoga and pilates, you can avoid stressing your injured heel while strengthening your body and losing weight. Wearing orthotic inserts whenever you’re on your feet is one of the best ways to reduce your pain, stay active, and allow the arch to heal. Additionally, diet is just as important as exercise in losing weight, if not more, and it can also play a role in reducing the inflammation in your fascia and promoting healing. Try to add as many healthy inflammation-fighting foods to your diet as possible, reduce your calorie intake, limit sugar (which can cause inflammation in the body), and make sure your diet is filled with plenty of fiber, fruits and vegetables, and protein.  We often recommend that you track what you eat with the myfitnesspal app and learn your habits and try to figure out where you may need to cut calories, fat, carbs, and sugar. Using an app such as this, you can learn how you respond to different foods and develop better eating patterns.

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