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Woman with her heels next to her feet

Common Foot Problems in Women: Treatment and Prevention

Since women are more likely to experience foot pain and conditions, a significant focus of women’s health should always be foot health. According to Foot Health Facts, narrow footwear that cramps the forefoot and squeezes the toes is the primary reason women are prime targets for foot health issues. Furthermore, common foot problems in women can arise after years of wearing shoes with little arch support and unstable heels. Today’s article will discuss the most common foot problems women struggle with and prevention and treatment options.

Common Foot Problems in Women

Woman in short heels experiencing bunions, one of the most common foot problems in women

Plantar Fasciitis

Medical News Today notes women risk developing plantar fasciitis more than men. This may be due to post-pregnancy foot changes and the effects of wearing unsupportive footwear for years; both can lead to plantar fascia strain and subsequent stabbing heel pain. The best way for women to prevent and treat this painful condition is to only wear high heels on special occasions and choose comfortable heels with cushioning and a stable heel. For daily activities, opt for shoes with sufficient arch and heel support (most important) and thick soles and cushioning. But it’s also important to find shoes with that create a healthy environment for your feet (i.e.: enough room in the toe box, breathability, etc.) to prevent other conditions.

Maintaining a healthy weight can also prevent too much pressure on the plantar fascia. To help, women can stretch their feet and perform daily exercises that work the plantar fascia and calf muscles (see an example below!). And lastly, orthotics with arch support can distribute the pressure on your feet more evenly.

https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/782007922800908317/

Bunions

Again, low-quality shoes are the main culprit behind women developing bunions, but genetics may also play a role. Bunions may also be at their worst during menopause or pregnancy.

Some women may require intervention from a surgeon to eliminate severe bunions. But many can try non-invasive methods like bunion pads, inserts and orthotics, and frequent rest periods with compression and ice packs. The most worthwhile preventative measure is changing your shoes and giving your feet the support and room they deserve. Ensure all shoes have enough room in the toe box (cramped toes are a major risk factor for bunions) and are not too narrow.

Bunions protruding out of both feet, one of the most common foot problems in women

Arthritis

Research suggests post-menopausal women suffer more from osteoarthritis than men because of estrogen fluctuations. There may be a connection between pre-menopausal estrogen levels and joint and cartilage health.

Targeted exercises are one of the best ways to prevent and treat most types of arthritis (not just osteoarthritis!). Moreover, Feet First Clinic’s beginner’s guide to exercises for arthritis Part 1 and Part 2 outline beneficial exercises, the steps involved and why they’re so useful. These routines also consider that arthritis can be very limiting and ensures all movements are manageable. Other forms of treatment include braces or canes (in severe cases), anti-inflammatory pain relievers, orthotics that support the ankle and the foot (also good for prevention), physiotherapy and orthopedic footwear.

Hammertoes

Like bunions, hammertoes affect women because they are more likely to wear excessively tight and unsupportive shoes, causing the toes’ middle joints to bend more and more over time.

To avoid and manage pre-existing hammertoes, ensure your shoes have at least half an inch of room between the toes and the end of the shoe. Additionally, women should avoid high heels on most days and only wear them if the heel is a “reasonable” height. It may also be wise to buy shoes with stretchy fabrics and avoid excessive fabric layers. They can force your toes into uncomfortable positions and make it difficult to accommodate pre-existing hammertoes. Inserts and pads can also be helpful for women by positioning the toes and feet more favourably. Furthermore, a chiropodist can use a splint or some tape to fix your toe in the proper, straight position.

Medical device places toes in favourable position
Several medical devices can help with toe conditions

Are you Likely to Experience one of These Conditions?

Conditions that affect women are avoidable and highly treatable following an appointment with one of our fantastic chiropodists! But to get started on your path towards prevention, you can  swing by anytime during our business hours and our friendly foot staff will help you with a shoe fitting!

Contact us at 416-769-FEET (3338) or use our online booking form to book an appointment!

 

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.