Too Hot Ta Trot: Is there a connection between menopause & foot problems?


If only the Commodores knew how hot we’d get in our dotage! Did strutting our funky stuff in inappropriate, ill-fitting footwear in the 70’s and 80’s take its toll on our feet?

We have to admit that between the two of us, Hot Flush have dreadful feet. However, for years we didn’t give much thought to our feet, other than to make sure our toenails were fit for public exposure when the sun came out! And then … all hell broke loose.

Does the following sound familiar? Your feet are killing you. You're limited to what kind of shoe you can comfortably wear and certainly can’t tolerate high heels, or any footwear sporting a narrow toe box. You can’t walk for very long without experiencing pain. What’s happened?

We used to smile at the phrase ‘practical shoes.’ Now we wear nothing but!

Is there a connection between menopause & foot problems?

In a 2008 Women’s Voices for Change article, Dr Suzanne M. Levine linked fluctuating hormones with increased swelling of the feet as surging oestrogen levels could cause fluid retention. ‘A woman’s favourite shoes no longer fit. Bunions, hammertoes, corns, Morton’s neuromas and other problems are exacerbated.’

She went on to say: ‘Osteoporosis is another problem in the peri and postmenopausal period. This predisposes one to fractures and stress fractures everywhere in the body — particularly in the spine, hips and feet. This can be lessened with a proper exercise regimen and proper diet, including vitamin D, magnesium, calcium and other essential nutrients.’

Dr Levine also sees the redistribution of the body’s fat in menopause, as a possible cause for foot pain, as we ‘now find ourselves walking on the foot bones and skin.’ Ouch!

New York Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Matthew M. Roberts, carried out a literature review and couldn’t find a direct correlation between foot deformity and menopause but conceded that there are definitely more forefoot deformities in women than men.

‘While we can place some blame on shoe wear, hormones clearly have an effect. Whether it is oestrogen or relaxin, the supportive soft tissues can become more flexible allowing deformity to occur. Genetics also play a role in the development of bunion deformities.’ Another thing to blame your parents for! The doctor said foot problems seemed more prevalent in the 40-50 year age range linking it with aging rather than menopause.

We couldn’t find many studies looking at this subject, perhaps that’s because there’s no connection or it’s a weak link? Whatever the science says, you may find it beneficial, as we do, to get your feet checked over by a registered podiatrist who can help you to manage the impact of ageing on your feet. After that you can hop down to the nail salon to get those nails painted!