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Relationship between obesity and foot pain and its association with fat mass, fat distribution, and muscle mass

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 11:59 authored by Tanamas, SK, Wluka, AE, Berry, P, Menz, HB, Strauss, BJ, Davies-Tuck, M, Proietto, J, Dixon, JB, Graeme JonesGraeme Jones, Cicuttini, FM

Objective: To examine the relationship between obesity, body composition, and foot pain as assessed by the Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index (MFPDI).

Methods: Subjects 25–62 years of age (n = 136) were recruited as part of a study examining the relationship between obesity and musculoskeletal health. Foot pain was defined as current foot pain and pain in the last month, and an MFPDI score of ≥ 1. Body composition (tissue mass and fat distribution) was measured using dual x-ray absorptiometry.

Results: The body mass index (BMI) in this population was normally distributed around a mean of 32.1 kg/m2. The prevalence of foot pain was 55.1%. There was a positive association between BMI and foot pain (odds ratio [OR] 1.11, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.06–1.17). Foot pain was also positively associated with fat mass (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.02–1.09) and fat mass index (FMI; OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.06–1.28) when adjusted for age, sex, and skeletal muscle mass and age, sex, and fat-free mass index (FFMI), respectively. When examining fat distribution, positive associations were observed for android/total body fat ratio (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.11–1.83) and android/gynoid fat ratio (OR 35.15, 95% CI 2.60–475.47), although gynoid/total body fat ratio was inversely related to foot pain (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.73–0.93). Skeletal muscle mass and FFMI were not associated with foot pain when adjusted for fat mass or FMI, respectively.

Conclusion: Increasing BMI, specifically android fat mass, is strongly associated with foot pain and disability. This may imply both biomechanical and metabolic mechanisms.


Publication title

Arthritis Care & Research








Menzies Institute for Medical Research


John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2012 American College of Rheumatology

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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