Women's Foot Health Problems
Women undergo various hormonal changes throughout their lives, from puberty and menstruation to pregnancy and menopause. While these hormonal shifts are natural and essential for the female body, they can sometimes lead to unexpected health issues, including problems related to foot health. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the common foot health problems that women may experience during hormonal changes and provide tips on how to manage and prevent them.
Swollen Feet and Ankles
During hormonal changes like pregnancy and menstruation, many women experience fluid retention, leading to swollen feet and ankles. This condition, known as oedema, occurs when excess fluid accumulates in the tissues. The pressure from the growing uterus during pregnancy can also compress blood vessels in the pelvis, making it harder for blood to return from the legs, contributing to swelling.
To manage swollen feet and ankles during hormonal changes:
- Elevate your feet when sitting or lying down to encourage fluid drainage.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
- Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods.
- Stay hydrated and reduce sodium intake.
Hormonal fluctuations can affect the ligaments and tendons in the body, making them more prone to injury and causing joint pain. Some women may experience joint pain during menstruation or menopause. This discomfort can extend to the feet, leading to conditions like plantar fasciitis or arthritis.
To alleviate joint pain in the feet:
- Choose footwear with proper arch support.
- Engage in low-impact exercises like swimming or yoga to maintain joint flexibility.
- Consider over-the-counter pain relievers under medical supervision.
- Consult a podiatrist for specific treatments and recommendations.
Changes in Foot Size
Pregnancy is known for causing a woman's feet to change in size and shape. This is due to the hormone relaxin, which relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis to prepare the body for childbirth. However, it can also affect the ligaments and bones in the feet, leading to a permanent increase in shoe size.
To manage changes in foot size:
- Invest in comfortable, supportive shoes that accommodate your new foot size.
- Avoid wearing high heels during pregnancy, as they can exacerbate discomfort.
- Consult a podiatrist if you experience severe changes in foot size or shape for professional guidance.
Osteoporosis and Foot Health
Menopause is a time when women experience a significant drop in oestrogen levels, which can lead to bone density loss and an increased risk of osteoporosis. This condition can affect the bones in the feet, making them more prone to fractures and stress fractures.
To protect your feet during menopause:
- Ensure a calcium-rich diet or consider supplements.
- Engage in weight-bearing exercises to maintain bone density.
- Regularly consult your healthcare provider for bone density assessments.
Hormonal changes are an inevitable part of a woman's life, but they can impact various aspects of health, including foot health. It's essential to be aware of these potential issues and take proactive steps to manage and prevent them. By practicing proper foot care, wearing comfortable shoes, and seeking medical advice when needed, women can enjoy better foot health throughout their hormonal journey. Remember, your feet carry you through life, so take care of them, especially during times of hormonal change.
Our Podiatrist Sarah Newman has a special interest in women's foot conditions particularly in the context of hormonal change. To make an appointment with Sarah, please phone the clinic on 02 9887 2270