Last Updated on September 16, 2023 by Martina McKeough
Menopause and indeed the peri-menopause are a time for fluctuating hormone levels which create symptoms including issues with pain. Whilst most people may be aware of the increased risk of osteoporosis as your get old menopause aching feet issues are generally overlooked.
The reality is however that as we get old menopausal symptoms can cause a host of problems relating to our feet including foot and ankle issues, heel pain and inflammation. Let’s discuss some of the most common menopause aching feet problems and what you can do about them.
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What Causes Foot Pain During Menopause? – Hormones and Foot Pain
There are a number of reasons why you might be more likely to experience foot pain during menopause. One of the major problems is hormones. As you reach your 40’s and 50’s your levels of oestrogen and progesterone start to fluctuate which can create problems as these hormones impact your tissues such as muscles and ligaments.
Inevitably as you get older your body will have also experience more wear and tear. By the time menopause hits you will have been stood on your feet for years, sometimes in high heels, and that can inevitably lead to foot pain over time especially if you haven’t taken care of your feet.
Whilst your body is changing and your skin may not be quite what it used to be there are steps that you can take as a woman to alter some of the common problems with feet that occur. Here are some of the most common and what you can do about them.
Swollen Feet Menopause
One of the most common problems that women experience is swollen feet and ankles (oedema) due to a combination of problems caused by menopause.
Firstly there is water retention caused by the hormone level changes. Too much fluid can lead to ankle and foot tissue swelling. This can feel uncomfortable and painful and is very similar to what you may experience after a long haul flight.
Also if you have a sedentary job you may be sitting for a good part of the day and that starts to impact your circulation. Getting regular exercise and walking every day is not just good at helping boost your circulation but it also helps your bones.
So what can you do to help? Well apart from walking there are simple steps you can take to help your feet. Firstly drink more water rather than less. If you are dehydrated your body is more likely to cling to any fluid. You can also take steps to lower your intake of sodium.
In addition, think about wearing support tights to help leg compression helping your blood circulation. At the end of a long day, you can also think about elevating your feet above your heart with a leg elevation pillow to help assist your body to drain the fluid.
You can also help the discomfort by wearing compression boots to help improve your circulation.
Menopause Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain
As you get older and enter menopause your chances of getting plantar fasciitis also increase. There are a number of reasons for an increased risk of plantar fasciitis and one of the ones we have already talked about is hormones changing.
Lower levels of hormones impact collagen production and that can lead to the pad of tissue underneath your sole (plantar) starting to become thinner. When that occurs you may experience heel pain and inflammation.
In addition, menopausal weight gain can add to the problems of plantar fasciitis because of the additional pounds adding strain on the body.
You also need to be aware that if you have spent a life wearing inappropriate footwear such as high heels or flip flops they can take a toll on your feet as well.
Good solutions to help plantar fasciitis include wearing orthotics to support the foot. Taking steps to lose weight as well as to stretch the foot properly to help with the heel pain. The Vive Foot Rocker is a great tool to help stretch the lower leg muscles and tendons.
We are also big fans of wearing hoes that can help specifically with heel pain and support the arch of your foot. Our favourites are Vionic shoes who have a huge range of different style shoes for men and women including sports shoes.
Cracked Heels Menopause
Menopause aching feet problems can also include cracked heels. Those plummeting hormone levels can be responsible for this all too common problem where the skin on the heel becomes dry, callused or starts to get heel fissures.
Being overweight won’t help either as those extra pounds start to put pressure on those heels. If you are wearing uncomfortable shoes or heels they need to be looked at as well as inappropriate footwear can exacerbate the problem.
This is definitely an issue you want to nip in the bud because heel fissures can not only create pain but they can also become infected.
To deal with cracked heels try and moisturise your feet twice a day with a great foot lotion to help keep the skin on your feet in good condition. O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet Foot Cream is one of the best sellers on the market to help with the problem and it is also a great price.
Don’t forget that you should also soak your feet twice a week and then use a foot file to remove any dead skin as that can help as well. If your feet are in a worse state then visit a podiatrist to get more specialized help.
Menopause Aching Feet – Bunions, Corns and Calluses
Menopause aching feet problems also include the dreaded bunions, corns and calluses that we can get as we become older. Yet again hormones and the reduction in the soft tissues and collagen in the footpad don’t help. As we lose that support in our feet and arches it can impact the way we walk which in turn can cause painful feet.
One of the main ways to help avoid these problems is by wearing the right shoes. Yes as a woman you may love the idea of slender heels and the latest trendy footwear but the reality is you need something more supportive to prevent your feet from getting worse.
Try and wear shoes with arch support and cushioning to help. Bunion correctors may also help if your problem is still at an early stage. If the problem persists you really have no other choice but to see a doctor or podiatrist to help.
Menopause and Ankle Pain
Another problem with the menopause is that it can also cause aching feet and ankles. Once again low oestrogen levels can cause joint pain not just in the foot and ankle but in other parts of the body as well.
As we have already discussed trying to lose weight will help to reduce the pressure that is on your feet and the rest of your body. The right shoes can also help to prevent ankle pain.
Many women also start taking supplements to improve their joint health. Two of the major supplements for joint health are Calcium and Vitamin D which are usually taken together. This combination is great for bone health and may help to prevent osteoporosis.
Magnesium is also a great supplement for ankle pain. This can be taken in tablet/capsule form or you can use a magnesium spray and use it directly on the ankle.
Don’t forget that what you eat can help as well. Consuming more oily fish such as salmon or tuna is great for joint health. Try and add some to your diet at least two or three times a week.
Menopause and Arthritis of the Foot
Menopause aching feet caused by arthritis also becomes more common as you age. You may feel pain in the foot joints such as the big toe that are sore and painful.
If you are diagnosed with arthritis there are some things you can do to help other than taking anti-inflammatory drugs. Firstly if you are exercising regularly and it is high impact training you might want to switch to low impact exercises such as cycling or swimming.
Once again the right footwear is important so think about getting supports for your shoe to cushion your feet. Dr Scholl’s Arthritis Pain Relief Orthotics can be a big help.
Also, think about bathing your feet in an Epsom salt bath. The hot water combined with the mineral is a great way of helping muscle relaxation and assisting with any pain. Invest in an Epsom salt safe foot bath and start using it regularly to soothe your feet.
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