Childhood Obesity and Foot Health

An epidemic in our country is the alarming rate of increase of obesity. In particular, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that childhood obesity affects children more than twice as much as it has in the past 30 years and about one in three children are overweight or obese. These alarming statistics are not to be easily pushed aside, since health effects that begin in childhood can continue to cause problems as they get older. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, bone and joint issues, sleep disorders, and social and mental health problems are among the many consequences of obesity.

Podiatric Problems related to Childhood Obesity

At The Podiatry Group, we care for the well being of your whole family. We know that children’s foot and ankle wellness can be the basis of leading of a healthy and active lifestyle. The following are common podiatric issues related to childhood obesity that we want you to be aware of:

  • Musculoskeletal Problems: Studies have shown that obese children more frequently experience musculoskeletal problems than normal-weight children do. Obese children experienced more neck, back, hip, knee, ankle, and foot pain than normal-weight children.
  • Flat Feet: Flat Feet tend to be a common occurrence in obese children. Because of the extra weight that the feet have to bear, arches can fall or not form properly in the first place. The weight can cause them to have flatter, wider, and longer feet, which can strain muscles and tissues and eventually cause pain or injury.
  • Blount’s Disease: Children may have bowed legs and improper ankle growth due to this disorder. The stress of the extra weight can cause this to occur starting from when children are young.
  • Fractures and Broken Bones: The constant stress on the bones makes it more likely for them to crack or break over time. If children are not eating right and exercising, bones can become brittle and suffer problems from fractures or broken bones. Fixing bone issues can also be difficult because common surgical methods (metal plates, screws) may not work with weaker bones.

Take Action Now

Because childhood obesity can have many negative outcomes, the best approach is to tackle it with immediacy. While they are short-term remedies and treatment options for foot and ankle issues, such as orthotic inserts and corrective devices, health issues will continue until the child becomes healthy and active. Contact your pediatrician sooner than later to come up with a plan to get your child to a healthy weight so that other problems like foot and ankle issues do not further complicate things for your family.

Children should eat healthy and nutritious foods and have active playtime each day. If they cannot be active due to pain or developmental issues in the feet or ankles, make an appointment today at our Jonesboro, AR office. Dr. Mark E. Reiner, Dr. Michael A. Haughey, Dr. William G. Coates, and Dr. Erik D. Rosenlof are ready to assess your child’s issues and find the optimal treatment for his or her needs.