Foot issues can affect anyone from any walk of life: male, female, young, or old - all of us are susceptible to some sort of foot issue. That said, women more commonly have issues with their feet. A dominant factor is the onset of menopause, which typically occurs between 45 and 55. Menopause comes with considerable physical, mental, and hormonal changes. Unfortunately, this change can also come with numerous foot issues!
We see menopausal women regularly in our office who often wonder about the connection between their feet and what their bodies are going through. We’ve put together a list of some common links and issues that occur in the feet of menopausal women.
What changes are linked to foot issues?
Estrogen plays a large role in women’s health, contributing to nail, skin, and hair health, maintaining bone density, and keeping women energized. During menopause, this hormone drops dramatically, bringing about considerable changes and effects.
Dropped collagen levels
Estrogen also produces collagen - an essential protein that provides strength and support throughout your body. Your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments all contain collagen.
Collagen helps organ functionality and promotes quick healing. Low levels of collagen have great effects throughout your body, including your feet.
Weight Gain and posture change
Hormonal changes can lead to weight gain. If there’s more weight, there’s more pressure on your lower limbs and your feet. Muscle mass also tends to drop during menopause, which can shift your posture, forcing you to stand in a less natural way. These changes are felt all throughout the body - in the neck, shoulders, lower back, hips, ankles, and feet.
What do these changes do to my feet?
There are thick pads of tissues cushioning the balls and soles of your feet. This tissue protects your bones and joints as you stand, walk, run, jump or move in any way. Lower collagen levels cause your skin and joints to lose elasticity. Together, this lack of padding and elasticity can cause you to walk on your bones, which can be very painful.
A thick ligament called the plantar fascia connects your toes and heel bone. As this loses elasticity, it puts strain on the ligament and causes inflammation called plantar fasciitis. A similar issue can happen in your Achilles tendon, leading to Achilles tendonitis.
Corns and bunions
Pressure on your feet in all of these new, unnatural places can lead to corns, bunions, and blisters - none of which are comfortable!
More women than men are affected by osteoporosis because estrogen is essential for bone strength and density. As estrogen levels lower, it makes bones weaker and more prone to fractures. Since there are numerous bones in your feet and ankles, it’s not shocking how easy it is to break a bone during menopause.
Our podiatrists can help!
Changes like menopause that affect your whole body can be overwhelming. Considering it affects so many areas of your body, it’s not surprising that you can experience a host of foot and ankle issues. Whether it’s during this transition or other periods of your life, if you are experiencing pain or discomfort, reach out to our podiatrists for help! At Kentucky/Indiana Foot and Ankle Specialists, our team of dedicated podiatrists are here to support your feet through every transition of your life!