Fat mass, but not fat-free mass, predicts increased foot pain with obesity, independent of bariatric surgery Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Foot pain is a common manifestation of obesity. OBJECTIVE:To determine if bariatric surgery is associated with a reduction in foot pain and if body mass index (BMI) or body composition predict a change in foot pain. SETTING:University hospital. METHODS:Participants with foot pain awaiting bariatric surgery were recruited for this prospective study. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine predictors of change in foot pain between baseline and 6-month follow-up using body composition (fat mass index and fat-free mass index) or BMI, adjusting for, depression, age, sex, and group (surgery versus control). RESULTS:Forty-five participants (38 female), mean ± standard deviation age of 45.7 ± 9.4 years, were recruited for this study. Twenty-nine participants mean ± standard deviation BMI of 44.8 ± 7.0 kg underwent bariatric surgery, while 16 participants mean ± standard deviation BMI of 47.9 ± 5.2 kg were on the waiting list (control). One participant was lost to follow-up. The treatment group lost a mean of 24.3 kg (95% confidence interval [CI] 21.1-27.5), while the control group gained 1.2 kg (95% CI -2.5 to 4.9), respectively. In multivariable analysis, bariatric surgery was significantly associated with reduced foot pain at 6-month follow-up -32.6 points (95% CI -43.8 to -21.4, P < .001), while fat mass index was significantly associated with increased pain at follow-up 1.5 points (95% CI .2 to 2.8, P = .027), after controlling for fat-free mass index, age, sex, and depression. CONCLUSIONS:Bariatric surgery was significantly associated with reduced foot pain. Higher baseline fat mass index, but not fat-free mass index or BMI, was predictive of increased foot pain at follow-up. Foot pain may be mediated by metabolic, rather than mechanical, factors in bariatric surgery candidates.


  • Walsh, Tom P
  • Quinn, Stephen J
  • Evans, Angela M
  • Yaxley, Alison
  • Chisholm, Jacob A
  • Kow, Lilian
  • Shanahan, E Michael

publication date

  • 2018