Menopausal Women and Foot Pain

Patient Expert
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Middle-age women often wish to be swept off their feet – but the reason may be due to foot pain instead of romance.  Your feet change because of decades of standing and moving, which puts pressure on the feet’s 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 120 muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. A 2012 study found that nearly 80% of adults over the age of 21 have experienced at least one problem with their feet. Seventeen percent of respondents over the age of 50 only rated their foot health as fair. A woman with a larger body mass index – which is often seen during menopause -- is more at risk for this discomfort.

Issue: Thinning fat pads on soles of the feet

The study found almost three in five participants reported experiencing thinning fat pads on their feet. Interestingly, 83% said they were unaware that the foot’s fat pads on the ball and heel wear away with age. The researchers also found that the purchase of over-the-counter shoe inserts and foot beds decline among women.

Issue: Foot fatigue

Almost 30 percent of respondents reported having foot fatigue or sore feet. One way to get rid of foot fatigue is to roll a tennis ball or a water bottle under your foot. That exercise will help loosen up your foot muscles.

Issue: Corns

Corns are thick and hardened layers of skin on areas of the toes where the skin is trying to protect itself from friction and pressure. Healthy women only need to get treatment if the corns are causing discomfort. However, women with diabetes or another condition that hampers blood flow to the feet may risk complications. In these cases, see a doctor.

Issue: Calluses

Twenty-seven percent of respondents had experienced calluses, which are thickened skin that occurs due to pressure or friction against the soles of the feet. Healthy women only need to get calluses treated if they have discomfort. However, women with diabetes or conditions hampering circulation are at greater risk of complications so they need to talk to their doctor.

Issue: Blisters

Nearly 30% of participants reported blisters, which is the foot’s quick response to friction against the skin often caused by shoes that don’t fit. Most blisters can be easily treated. Protect the area with a moleskin or water-based gel-pad dressing. Pierce the blister once it forms using clean hands and a sterilized needle. Cover the area with antibiotic ointment and gauze.

Issue: Plantar fasciitis

This condition is the most common cause of heel pain. It’s caused by pain and inflammation in the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes along the bottom of the foot. Physical therapy, specific exercises, orthotics, night splints and taking pain relievers may provide relief. Other options include steroid shots and surgery.

Issues: Hammer toe and mallet toe

These toe issues often occur in women who wear high heels or shoes with a pointy toe. These shoes force toes against the front of the shoe, causing them to bend unnaturally at either the middle joint or the joint nearest the toenail. Women can change footwear and wear shoe inserts to ease pain. Surgery may be needed in extreme cases.