Background: Bariatric surgery candidates have a high prevalence of foot pain, depression and elevated plantar pressures. There is, however, limited research into how these factors interact pre- and post-surgery. The aims of this study were therefore to investigate the mechanical and non-mechanical factors associated with foot pain severity before, and the change after, surgery. Methods: Bariatric surgery candidates underwent baseline and six-month follow-up measures. Foot pain was measured with the Manchester-Oxford Foot Questionnaire. Mechanical measures included body mass index (BMI), dynamic plantar pressures, radiographic foot posture, and hindfoot range of motion. Depressive symptoms, the non-mechanical measure, were assessed by questionnaire. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine which variables were associated with foot pain at baseline and at follow-up. Multilevel repeated models assessed the associations between foot pain and plantar pressure, adjusting for the interaction between group and follow-up time. Results: Forty-five participants (84% female), with mean (SD) age of 45.7 (9.4) years were recruited. Twenty-nine participants had bariatric surgery and 16 participants remained on the waiting list (controls). Following bariatric surgery, foot pain reduced significantly by - 35.7 points (95% CI -42.2 to - 28.8), while depressive symptoms and whole foot peak pressures had a significant mean change of - 5.9 points (95% CI -10.3 to - 1.5) and - 36 kPa (95% CI -50 to - 22), respectively. In multivariable analysis, depressive symptoms were associated with foot pain at baseline β = 0.7 (95% CI 0.2 to 1.2) after controlling for age, gender, BMI, foot posture and plantar pressure. Depressive symptoms were also associated with foot pain at follow-up in those undergoing bariatric surgery, β = 1.2 (95% CI 0.8 to 1.7). Foot posture and hindfoot range of motion did not change following surgery and a change in plantar pressures was not associated with a change in foot pain. Conclusions: Foot pain severity in bariatric surgery candidates was associated with depressive symptoms at baseline. Reduced foot pain following bariatric surgery was associated with an improvement in depressive symptoms, without a significant change in foot posture or foot function. Foot pain severity in bariatric candidates may be mediated by non-mechanical or non-local factors before and following surgery.
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- Bariatric surgery