High BMI Tied to Non-Specific Foot Pain, Plantar Heel Pain

Limited evidence suggesting reduced symptoms after weight-loss surgery; warrants further study

MONDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Increased body mass index (BMI) correlates with non-specific foot pain in the general population, and with chronic plantar heel pain in a non-athletic population, according to a meta-analysis published online April 13 in Obesity Reviews.

To investigate the association between BMI and musculoskeletal foot disorders, Paul A. Butterworth, of La Trobe University in Bundoora, Australia, and associates conducted a systematic review of the literature and analysis of 25 papers. They also investigated the effectiveness of weight loss for reduction of foot pain.

The researchers found increased BMI to be strongly associated with non-specific foot pain in the general population, and with chronic plantar heel pain in a non-athletic population. Inconclusive evidence was found for the association between BMI and hallux valgus, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, and flat foot. Two studies were found that reported a reduction in foot symptoms following weight-loss surgery.

"Increased BMI is strongly associated with chronic plantar heel pain and non-specific foot pain," the authors conclude. "Considering that the prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide, the incidence of musculoskeletal foot disorders is also likely to increase. Therefore, the potential role of weight loss in addition to existing treatments for foot disorders warrants further investigation."

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