As a woman approaching the menopause, you can expect some symptoms such as low mood, hot flushes and poor sleep. But what you may not realise is that menopause can cause foot problems. And there are a variety of foot problems that occur in women going through menopause. So, what happens to woman’s feet during menopause and what can be done to help them?
What happens to a woman’s body during menopause?
Menopause is a period normally between the ages of 45 and 55 when women stop having their menstrual cycle due to lower hormone levels, specifically, low oestrogen levels. Oestrogen naturally supports the production of collagen in the body and collagen is a protein that is responsible for the maintenance of tissue and muscle health. It is also responsible for the strength, flexibility and elasticity of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage.
With a woman’s whole body centred and regulated by oestrogen, a decrease in collagen in the body causes a lot of problems. When less collagen is produced, this leads to lower bone density, muscle loss, and decreased elasticity of the skin, tendons and muscle tissue. All these can lead to foot issues in women going through menopause.
How are feet different before, during and after menopause?
In peri-menopausal women, before their periods have stopped, oestrogen levels begin to decrease drastically, and women can complain of muscle, feet, and joint pain. They can also suffer from swollen feet and may have to buy bigger shoes than they normally would. They may develop smelly feet due to increased sweating and have burning feet.
Women undergoing menopause also develop skin dryness and decreased skin firmness and elasticity. There is also a loss of elasticity in their arteries and veins that causes feet to swell with an increase in blood in the legs. All these changes do not occur in pre-menopausal women but only occur once a woman gets into the menopause and can continue even after the age of 55.
What can happen to feet in the menopause?
Women going through menopause are likely to develop any or all the following foot problems.
- Hard skin and corns developing under your feet – due to increased pressure because of weight gain or due to the redistribution of their fibrofatty pad with other areas having less cushion and support.
- Dry skin – as oestrogen levels drop so does your ability to retain moisture and the skin on your feet especially dries out.
- Plantar fasciitis /Heel pain /collapse of the arch/ Fractures – With a decrease in collagen causing changes in strength flexibility and elasticity in tissue
- Burning feet – due to changes in temperature control.
What does the science say?
Menopause is part of the ageing cycle. However, it comes with a lot of changes and difficulties for a woman. There is well-documented information on depression, hot flashes, and trouble sleeping that menopausal women experience. But studies on the implication of the menopause on foot health and structure are somewhat lacking.
Changes in feet structure and function can be quick and easy to notice but at times, they are difficult to detect. Observable changes with ageing are thinning of the skin, increased skin dryness, and reduced circulation. Foot structure changes mean that more women are prone to develop conditions like posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD), plantar fasciitis and an increased risk of having fractures.
What menopause foot problems should you look out for?
Women approaching and going through the menopause should be aware of the changes their body is experiencing and its impact on their feet. In particular, foot problems they should look out for:
- Dry and hard skin
- Neuromas (a growth or tumour of nerve tissue) and bursitis (inflamed fluid-filled joint-cushioning bursa sacs)
- Foot and joint pain
- Wounds that take longer to close and heal due to loss of skins elasticity
- Muscle imbalance that leads to joint dislocation occurring more frequently. Some women start developing bunions. Their toes may gradually curl up leading to the development of hammer toes and or claw toes.
- Osteoporosis with an increased risk of fractures due to decreased bone density and mass.
How to best support your feet during the menopause
Some measures people can take at home to look after their feet during the menopause include:
- Taking supplements
- Drinking lots of water
- Wearing comfortable shoes with enough cushioning under the foot
- Washing and applying cream to your feet daily
- Booking regular appointments with a Podiatrist and when you notice a foot problem occurring.
When to see a podiatrist for menopause foot problems
If you start experiencing any changes or any of the above symptoms, it is best to visit your nearest podiatrist. It is also good to have regular six-monthly routine appointments with your podiatrist for a full podiatry assessment of your feet.
How do Randell’s Footcare podiatrists help with menopause foot problems?
Randell’s Footcare qualified and experienced podiatrists can help in a number of ways with foot problems as you go through the menopause.
They can advise and support you during this sometimes-challenging time and provide expert treatment should you need it. Guidance on footwear and exercise can help prevent some foot problems. Also, a routine podiatry appointment can help to identify any foot issues in their early stages.
Get in touch
If you are a peri-menopausal woman or you have gone through the menopause and you notice foot symptoms that may be related, call our highly trained reception team who offer a free mini-consult to discuss your foot issues.
They will help book an appointment for you with a Randell’s Footcare HCPC-qualified podiatrist who is experienced in menopausal foot problems.
Call us on 01603 737 188 or book online.