Can Being Overweight Cause Foot Pain?

As an overweight and obese guy weighing close to 300 lbs, I never really understood how obesity could cause foot pain. I always thought it was due to poor shoe choices. However, once I found the best shoes for obese people and even after adding a high-quality insole to my shoes, I realized that my feet still hurt at the end of the days. 

This concern led to me spending months researching weight gain and foot pain. In this article, I’ll go over everything I’ve found out and how you can go ahead and address this issue. So to the main question:

Can being overweight cause foot pain?

Yes, being overweight causes an increase in the pressure on your feet, contributing to foot pain. Moreover, since the bones, tendons, and muscles in your feet aren’t meant to handle the excess weight, it often leads to collapsed arches, swelling, pain, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and a general change in the way you walk

Understanding Overweight Foot Pain

Obesity causing pain in your feet is a debilitating issue that puts excess strain on your entire body. However, since your feet have to bear the brunt of the weight, this cycle leads to reduced stamina and difficulty standing for long periods. As a result, you end up feeling pain whenever you stand or try to move around.


While weight gain and foot pain seem minor at the start, it keeps you fat as you’ll feel pain in your feet whenever you try to move around or exercise. And while you keep putting on more weight, you put yourself at a greater risk as you will develop additional issues such as:

General Foot Problems

 In the beginning stages, you may experience the following general foot pain:

  • Changes in the Size of your Feet
  • Plantar Fasciitis 
  • Heel Pain
  • Pressure Ulcers
  • Stress Fractures

With every 10-20 pounds of additional weight you put on, these issues will worsen as you add more stress to your feet. So you’ll want to start resolving them by consulting your doctor and by making lifestyle changes to reduce your weight.

Ankle Pain

Your ankles are a crucial component of enabling you to walk, and with the impairment caused by too much weight gain, you put immense strain on your ankles’ structure. As such, you could end up with obesity-related conditions such as:

  • Deteriorated or weakened tendons
  • Frequent ankle sprains.
  • Changes in the way you walk due to damage to tendons and ligaments. 

Health Conditions – New or Worsening

Being overweight with foot pain can subtly lead to worsening of your health and developing conditions like:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Tendonitis
  • Osteoarthritis

Final Thoughts

Any of these issues caused by being overweight can result in a direct downturn in the quality of your life. So will want to start making the right lifestyle adjustments to get rid of the pain. You can start by getting the right shoes for obese people or getting better mobility aids that assist in losing weight, such as a walking cane, bariatric walker, or knee braces.

These lifestyle changes take some time to resolve all the foot pain you feel. But they do play an important role in getting you more active and on the path to losing weight. And take it from me, any amount of weight loss is a great improvement to reducing the pain in your feet. 

Related Questions

Will losing weight help foot pain?

A few studies have shown that losing weight, even in small amounts can offer a tremendous improvement in alleviating the pressure and pain in your feet. 

How much pressure is taken off your feet when you lose weight?

In principle, losing just a single pound of weight can reduce up to 5 pounds of pressure from your feet, ankles, and knees. As such, if you lost 30 pounds of weight, you could reduce up to 150 pounds of force applied from your feet with each step you take. 

How do you lose weight when your feet hurt?

You can lose weight when your feet hurt by performing low-impact exercises that don’t necessarily require you to stand, such as indoor cycling, water aerobics, using a rowing machine, or taking a light walk on a treadmill for overweight people<span data-preserver-spaces=”true”>. You may also lose weight while your feet are hurting by dieting for a few months until you’ve lost enough weight, so the pain is reduced.

Can being overweight cause ingrown toenails?

Yes, being overweight can cause increase the likelihood of developing an ingrown toenail. This is because of structural changes in how an overweight person walks when they have pain in their heels or ankles. Most obese people with foot pain tend to apply more pressure to their toes while walking. And if you combine the increased pressure and wearing the wrong type and size of shoe, you put yourself at greater risk for developing an ingrown toenail. 

Does being overweight cause wide feet?

Yes, obesity does cause you to have wide feet due to the swelling that the excessive pressure induces. 

Can feet shrink if you lose weight?

If you lose weight, your foot swelling will reduce, so you will feel like your feet shrank. However, the length and structure of your feet will remain the same, so if you wore a size nine shoe after losing weight, you’d still wear a size 9. But you won’t need to wear a wide shoe any longer since and your existing shoes may end up feeling large.