Before you begin an exercise routine have your feet evaluated
The 2012 STEPS survey showed that Bahamians are getting bigger and heavier. The average BMI (body mass index) is 30.5 (males 29.9 and females 31.2). There are 79.6 percent (males 78.9, females 80.4) overweight and 49.2 percent (males 47.7, females 50.7) obese. Obesity increases one’s risk of chronic non-communicable diseases including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and strokes. There are also increasing numbers of persons with diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure. About 50 percent of Bahamians participate in low intensity physical activity per week (males 36.7 percent, and female 63.2 percent). The average time spent physically active was 34.3 minutes (males at 85.7 minutes, and females 17.1 minutes).
A survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association found foot problems, especially pain, is a major deterrent to exercise, contributing to our alarming rates of physical inactivity, overweight and obesity. In the study, as much as 72 percent of respondents say they do not exercise because foot pain prevents them from doing so. The results also showed that respondents view their feet as the least important body part in terms for their health and well being, however, they reported the feet as the number one body part to experience pain even more than the teeth or skin.
In addition, nearly one in three children are overweight or obese and combating childhood obesity has become a major public health concern for all Bahamians. Parents must be aware that proper foot health plays a vital role in keeping children active and healthy.
Foot pain contributes to a variety of negative health consequences including decreasing exercising, standing and walking. There are many causes for foot pain. Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly is one of the most common reasons why people (especially women) get foot pain. Heel pain is the most common cause of foot pain and the reason why most people see the podiatrist. Other common causes of foot pain may include foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoes, arthritis, gout, trauma and other injuries such as fractures. There can also be pain from overuse injury.
It is common for an individual who was not exercising regularly to decide to exercise vigorously. This is not the best way to start an exercise program and can lead to injury and foot pain.
It is important for all Bahamians to see a podiatrist immediately if foot problems arise, especially now, as many persons have losing weight and exercise on their list of New Year’s resolution. To make that a reality and stick with it, it is best to have the reason for foot pain evaluated and treated before starting any exercise program.
It is critical that everyone pay attention to their feet and seek expert treatment for any foot problems that may arise. The podiatrist can not only help ensure Bahamians are able to exercise safely and pain free, but also help catch signs of diabetes, arthritis, nerve and circulatory disorders, which can all be detected in the feet. Today’s podiatrist also plays an integral role in helping children live healthy by keeping their feet pain-free, which encourages them to stay active and fit.
Exercise is a major strategy to help combat the obesity epidemic we are experiencing in The Bahamas. However, if adults and children have foot pain they will not exercise or will not do so regularly. The type and style of sneakers worn for exercise can also affect the feet — causing or relieving foot pain. If you want to join the recently launched Bahamas 100,000 pound weight loss challenge it is best to have your feet checked before you begin. Foot pain is not normal; it can stop or derail your exercise program. If you are having foot pain, pause your exercise routine and see your local podiatrist. We recommend that before starting any exercise program that you see your primary care physician for a complete physical exam and your podiatrist to have a foot check-up. Putting your healthy, good foot forward, you can stick with your resolution and achieve your goal.
• For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.apma.org. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996, or Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre, Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820, or Lucayan Medical Centre on East Sunrise Highway, Freeport, Grand Bahama, telephone 373-7400.