Category: Foot Condition Education
Menopause is not a disease or disorder. Women are expected to experience menopause at some point in time, 12 months after their last menstrual cycle. The years leading up to that point, when women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other symptoms, are called the menopausal transition or perimenopause.
While we can’t pinpoint exactly when it will occur, there are ways to prepare your body for the changes ahead. Today we will be discussing how this transition can impact the feet a lot more than most people consider.
“I think our bodies are beautiful, and I think celebrating them and being comfortable in them—no matter what age you are—is important. There shouldn’t be any kind of shame or discomfort around it.” – Jennifer Aniston
5 WAYS YOUR FEET WILL CHANGE WITH MENOPAUSE
During menopause your body is usually experiencing a decrease in estrogen levels. The estrogen hormone is the main female hormone and, in addition to influencing how lubricated or hydrated our body is, it also impacts our bone and muscle strength. Therefore, as you approach menopause or go through the menopausal transition, you will no-doubt feel your feet getting dryer and weaker, which will result in the following:
- Bunions: Up to 70% of women will develop bunions, a red and swollen knob at the base of the big toe. There is no cure for bunions, only relief methods. Females who have flat feet, wear narrow shoes often or are simply genetically predisposed, are likely to start developing these at the menopausal stage.
- Dry, Calloused Skin: Remember that during menopause your feet aren't retaining moisture. Therefore, you will need to help them stay moisturized to avoid seeing cracks, bleeds or calluses on your feet.
- Arch and Heel Pain: Weight gain in menopause and low estrogen levels can cause arches to weaken, start to flatten, or even collapse. The tendon that holds up the arch, the posterior tibial tendon, can even strain or tear. The technical term for this is: plantar fasciitis.
- Foot Fat Reduction: Although you might be gaining weight, you will be losing fat in certain areas, including the bottom of the feet. This reduces your ability to absorb shock while walking or exercises, and will result in a sharp pain in the ball of your foot called Metatarsalgia.
- Arthritis in Big Toe: This trouble tends to start between ages 30 and 60, as years of wear and tear cause the foot's protective cartilage to break down. Symptoms include pain at the joint that joins the big toe to the foot, loss of flexibility in the joint; and inflammation.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR FEET IMPACTED BY MENOPAUSE
1. Be Conscious of What Shoes You Wear: Wearing shoes with a stiff heel when standing or walking can take pressure off of the arch. Also, avoid narrow shoes as much as possible.
2. Keep Your Feet Clean and Hydrated: Moisturize your feet twice daily with lotion containing cocoa butter or urea. Reduce calluses by soaking your feet once a week in soapy lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes, then using a foot file to gently slough away built-up tissue. If Diabetic, please consult your podiatrist.
3. Get Custom Orthotics: They can provide that personalized arch support your feet needs, and help with proper weight distribution to minimize the pressure the bottom of your feet feels. They can also help provide that extra cushion your feet needs at this stage.
Your podiatrist can usually refer custom orthotics but they will be much higher than market price. We suggest looking into an online provider like StepsDirect, who can interpret your needs through an online questionnaire and pictures, and ship you a pair of custom insoles directly to your home for a fraction of the cost.
4. Ice, Rest and Over-The-Counter Anti-Inflammatories: These might seem common sense, but sometimes all you need is to stop and acknowledge that your body and feet are changing. Slow down, get some rest and help relieve the pressure your feet are feeling.
4. Consult your Doctor if Pain Persist: If you feel like the conditions mentioned above are significantly impacting your daily life and mobility, visit a doctor and ask about other more invasive options to treat your problem.
Let us know if you try one of these treatments! Best of Luck on Your Journey to a Pain-Free Life. Our Team at StepsDirect would be happy to answer any questions commented below or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.