Can the Menopause Cause Foot Problems?

January 2, 2023 • krobinson • foot carefoot conditionsfoot paingaitheel pain
Can the Menopause Cause Foot Problems?

Hot flashes aren’t the only unwelcome symptom of menopause. You may also experience foot problems.

Menopause brings many changes to a woman’s body, and not all are good. Hot flashes and trouble sleeping are perhaps the most familiar and talked about menopause symptoms. But less well-known is the fact menopause can cause foot problems. 

A 2018 study found women experience foot pain more than men. Foot problems are also seen more often among older individuals, with women entering menopause between the ages of 40 and 50 statistically experiencing foot pain. Let’s explore the reasons why menopause causes foot problems and treatment options.

How menopause affects your feet

During menopause, women lose the vital hormone estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for the production of collagen, which strengthens and gives flexibility to the bones, tendons, skin, and ligaments. As you lose collagen, your skin, bones, and tendons become thinner, more brittle, and less able to heal. 

In your foot is a thick band of tissue connecting the heel to the toes. If that band loses elasticity, an inflammatory condition known as plantar fasciitis can make walking extremely painful, especially when you take the first step in the morning. Weakened tendons can also lead to fallen arches and Achilles tendonitis.

Lower estrogen levels can sap the skin of moisture, which means you may see dry, cracked skin on your heels. Estrogen loss also leads to diminished bone density, or osteoporosis. Since the foot consists of so many large and small bones, it’s more vulnerable to fractures with osteoporosis.

Further, an unfortunate consequence of menopause is weight gain. As you add on pounds, you’re putting more pressure on your feet, and that could reduce the padding around the balls of your feet, leading to blisters and calluses. Without that cushion, you’ll feel like you’re walking on sharp stones. Lastly, years of wearing narrow-toed high heels that squeeze the toes together raise the risk of developing bunions, a painful, protruding knob at the base of the big toe. 

Taking care of your feet during menopause

Like other symptoms of menopause, foot pain can be treated. A podiatrist can work with you on a treatment plan to make walking pain-free once again:

Orthotics. Specially made inserts molded to your foot can replace the lost cushioning. If weight gain has caused your gait to go out of alignment, orthotics can correct your gait and posture.   

Platelet-rich plasma injections. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are a non-surgical method to heal weakened, torn, or damaged ligaments and tendons. 

Bunion treatment. Bunions are not only painful but unsightly, too. A bunion pad or split can force the big toe back into position, but it only works temporarily. Bunion surgery may be needed to correct the abnormality. Past bunion surgeries required a long recovery period. But current minimally invasive surgeries have a shorter recovery period.

Shockwave therapy. Another minimally invasive treatment, Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT®) therapy, or shockwave therapy, has been used successfully to treat plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis by increasing blood flow. 

Change your footwear. High heels may be stylish, but they could be the cause of your foot pain. Save the fancy footwear for special occasions, and slip on flatter, comfortable, but supportive shoes for everyday wear. And even when walking around the house, never go barefoot. Instead, wear slippers and sandals that support the arch.

Banish foot pain!

You don’t have to live with foot pain! The specialists at Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group offer the latest treatment techniques to heal foot pain from bunions to plantar fasciitis. Contact us today for a consultation.

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