Sole Purpose Foot Health

We have been talking about menopause lately. I am going through it myself and as a Foot Health Practitioner I am interested to find out if and how much it can affect my feet.

I was amazed, that menopause does actually cause quite a few changes, so here is a summary to help you look after your feet!

The biggest change as you enter the menopause is the drop in levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate a variety of functions within the body, so as these become less efficient, the functions become less effective.

  1. Connective tissue. These include tendons and ligaments. Let’s bear in mind that there are over 100 of these in the foot alone! They affect the shape and movement of the foot, so stiffness and foot pain can become a common hazard. In order to keep your feet flexible, make sure that you exercise them. An easy way to ease stiffness is with a tennis ball. Roll it from the base of your toes, all the way to your heel. Do this slowly and with medium pressure. Then roll it from the outside of your foot to the inside. Do this for about 10 minutes at least 3 times a week. There are many different kinds of foot pain and each should be investigated by a Foot Health Practitioner or a Podiatrist to ensure that the correct advice and treatment is given.
  2. Dry skin. A drop in these hormones means your tissues decrease in elasticity and constricts your capillaries, leading to a drop in oxygen and fluid to your extremities. The skin dries out and can cause callus and cracked heels and an increase in the likelihood of infections. To combat this, moisturise your feet regularly and inspect your feet to ensure that there are no strange discolourations or changes that shouldn’t be there!
  3. Weight gain. This increases the load on the foot, which can lead to an increase in callus (hard skin) and corns. This is a tough one for us ladies and a chat with a nutritionist is always worth it! Again, regular checks of your feet can prevent problems getting out of hand.
  4. Size. The foot size actually does change and can increase up to 1 and a half sizes during menopause! The ligaments spread out, so your feet will get longer and wider. You may have found that some shoes you have had for a long time are feeling slightly tight, well this is why! So, ladies, make sure that you get your feet measured when you are buying any new shoes. Wearing shoes that are too small can and will lead to corns, callus, ingrowing toenails, hammer toes, bunionettes and can make any possible bunions a lot worse!
  5. Bone density. A drop in oestrogen affects the strength of our bones and will affect the feet too, by weakening them, making you more liable to stress fractures and unsteadiness.  Go and see your GP for a bone density test and advice on foods to eat and avoid to boost your bones!

Come and see me at Holcombe if you have any of the above problems or you would just like an MOT. I am always happy to advise and I can treat callus, corns, thick nails and advise on infections and verrucae.

One of the effects of menopause is the decrease in production of oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones regulate the development and maturation of our connective tissues including ligaments, muscles and tendons. With the decrease in these hormones the function of the soft tissues throughout the body decreases.

We have over 100 ligaments, tendons and muscles that create the shape function of our foot, so it is simple to see how the foot is affected by hormonal changes in menopause.

Unfortunately, weight gain is another side effect of menopause (how fun is being a female!). Weight gain increases the load on the feet. The combination of these two create a huge range of problems.

Some of the simpler problems we see are ingrowing nails and corns and callous. This is usually due to poor fitting footwear. We usually see an increase in shoe size up to 1.5 sizes at this stage of life, so a lot of our ladies are wearing shoes MUCH too small for their feet. A little reminder to always get your feet measured every single time you buy new shoes (men and women). The creation of hammer toes, bunions and bunionettes are also commonplace.

Osteoporosis and osteopenia are often developed at this time which can lead to stress fractures and general poor foot health.

Biomechanical problems are rife in this patient group. Most commonly Plantar Fasciitis, Tibilais Posterior Dysfunction and forefoot problems such as neuromas and intermetatarsal bursae. We also see a lot of knee pain that is foot related and even back pain.

Please take a look at my page for my information about my practice and how I may be able to help you.

With kindness

Emma Thorpe, DipFH MCFHP MAFHP