The Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle: How Inactivity Affects Your Feet

sedentary lifestyle

When you think of foot issues, you often think of an athlete or a worker who is often on their feet all day, every day. However, leading a low-active, sedentary lifestyle, can also be quite dangerous and risky for someone’s feet, as well.

When someone ignores the physical necessity to just move around, leading a sedentary lifestyle can result in so many other negative side-effects other than just simply the traits that come with obesity.

Sedentary also doesn’t necessarily mean lazy, either. Elderly and disabled people are often sedentary due to no fault of their own. It can be the negative result of so many other ailments and injuries or working lifestyle that aren’t associated with laziness, at all.

Whatever the case may be, one thing is common among most of those who lead a sedentary lifestyle—they often suffer foot problems, sometimes even as often as those who are athletes and live an active lifestyle, on their feet all day.

Here are a few issues that you can encounter when leading a sedentary lifestyle:

Plantar Fasciitis

Even though a sitting, inactive lifestyle isn’t cannot really be traced as the source of your plantar fasciitis, it definitely increases the risk of the injury. Plantar fasciitis can be defined as the stretching, tearing or swelling of the tissue that is located at the arch of the foot, running between the heel and the forefoot. Patients often feel a stabbing pain that gets worse when walking or being more active, which can increase their desire to actually sit more—becoming more and more discouraged to simply walk around.

When you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are sitting quite a lot. The reason then why you are so susceptible to getting plantar fasciitis is that it comes after the first few steps of inactivity—that’s when the pain is often the worst.

Unfortunately, it can also get worse. The fascia itself can thicken and then the pain will spread to the lower back, knees, and ankles—which is all reflective of the pain in the plantar fascia. If the pain continues, it can cause disruption in work and everyday activities—no matter how inactive you are to begin with.


When not being used quite often, the feet and ankle can develop edema. This is when there is a build-up of fluid located in your feet and your ankles, which have spread to the blood vessels in the soft tissues located in your feet—causing a reaction in your body.

The sodium and water level in your body will rise, which will force your kidneys to work harder—increasing a circulation in your body of excessive fluid. So much fluid in your body is never a good thing.

Even though the lymphatic system functions and works hard to extract the extra fluid, your feet often experience malfunction and swelling due to inflammation, infection or inactivity. To simply deal with this issues, most people refer to wearing compression socks and getting up incrementally over long periods of time so your body has the opportunity for blood to flow.

Muscle Weakness and Chronic Pain

When you are leading an inactive lifestyle, not only will you lose muscle strength that you may have developed everywhere else, you’ll principally lose the strength in your feet, ankles, and lower legs.

You might experience chronic aches, pains, stiffness, and weakness. This will also discourage you to not work out even more. Pain is such a persuasive factor.

With this sort of muscle weakness located in the lower extremity of the legs and feet, you’ll also develop a larger risk in getting injured. Continually so, when you have injured your ankles, feet or lower legs, you might be even more discouraged to get up and be more active. When doing any sort of walking or exercise program to get stronger, you should look into investing in high-quality athletic shoes.

Developing Poor Circulation

Neuropathy is a numbness or tingling pain in the foot and in the ankle. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase the possibility of you developing this ailment. Even sitting 10 minutes can affect your circulation—imagine what 8 hours of sitting at work can do! When you’re sitting, your circulatory system is slowed down, denying you the flow of fresh oxygen and nutrients. Poor circulation is already a risk when it comes to those who have diabetes—however, leading an inactive lifestyle can increase this chance, as well.

Developing Blood Clots

When you have low circulation, you are putting yourself at risk for developing deep vein thrombosis. This is when there are blood clots in your lower extremities—like your lower legs, ankles, and feet.

Even though you might not think that this is a very influential problem, these clots can actually make their way into essential organs and areas of your body, like your heart, brain or lungs, meaning a simple leg or ankle blood clot can quickly turn into something completely dangerous. Statistically speaking, sitting for forty hours a week (which is the average that employees are often sitting in a normal 8-hour work day), can increase your risk of developing these clots three-fold.

Leave Your Inactive Lifestyle and See a Foot Specialist

Even though you might have goals of leading your inactive, sedentary lifestyle behind, do this first.  Check with your doctor in seeing if you there are any precautions you should be taking or which level of activity is best for you. Click here to schedule an appointment with us!

You should also see a foot specialist if you are experiencing any type of foot or ankle pain. You definitely should if foot injuries are discouraging you to get working on leading a more active lifestyle.

Before you make any major changes in your lifestyle, contact us for a program and recommendations. Let us assess you and help you on your way to a healthier, more active lifestyle. Perhaps all you simply need are some good, athletic, supportive shoes. Or maybe you need a whole activity program tailored to your body to help you ease into a more active life.