For various reasons, podiatrists—like our own Dr. Reister—are prone to see certain issues for women’s feet more often than others. Some of these issues are common to our male patients as well, but others are more directly linked to specific causes that only women can relate to (well, until men start giving birth…). Understanding these issues can be helpful in knowing when to contact our office for the treatment you need.
Common Causes of Women’s Foot Problems
When we look at common issues for women’s feet, a couple root causes tend to stand out as major contributors. For example, the risks entailed with choosing footwear that doesn’t fit properly. This is especially important for females, because many of the shoes considered to be stylish are actually quite bad for your feet. Now, the thought that high-heeled shoes cause bunions is a bit of a misconception, but they can certainly exacerbate an existing condition and make it more painful for you.
A physical condition that exclusively impacts women, in a variety of ways, is pregnancy. When you are carrying a child, it can have drastic effects on your feet. Given how much happens to your body during those nine months, it’s certainly easy not to even think about your feet until you experience swelling or pain down there.
This isn’t nearly as exclusive to females as pregnancy is, but physical activity can also sometimes contribute to women’s foot issues. As our society becomes more health-conscious—which is definitely a good thing—there are an increasing number of workout programs available, including ones targeted to women. Physical activity is essential for a healthy body, but it does carry the risk of foot or ankle injuries, especially if you try to do too much too soon. Remember, always ease into new exercise and running programs with a gradual increase in duration and intensity.
Frequently-Seen Conditions for Women
We frequently see a handful of different foot and ankle issues that stem from those particular root causes. Some are definitely ones that we see in men, too, but are also quite common for females. They include:
- Toe deformities. Hammertoes, claw toes, and mallet toes are three similar toe deformities more likely to be seen in female patients. They are all similar in the fact they cause abnormal bending in the toes, and the key distinction between them is the location of the abnormal bending.
- Bunions and bunionettes. These are also toe deformities that many women experience, but instead of the toe bending on a vertical plane, either the first or last toe has drifted inwards. This forces the respective joint at the base of the foot to protrude. In the case of a bunion, you will have a bump on the inner edge of your foot. With a bunionette, the bump is on the outside. Bunions and bunionettes are progressive conditions, which means they will worsen over time if they are left untreated.
- Edema. This condition often accompanies pregnancy. During this time, your body produces excess blood and fluid to ensure that your new child receives proper nutrition for healthy development. Due to gravity and pressure on veins (which circulate blood back to your heart) from the expanding womb, the excess fluids pool in your feet and ankles. Edema causes swelling and may be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but we can provide treatment to help.
- Overpronation. It only stands to reason that as the extra weight your body gains during pregnancy places additional pressure on your feet. This can cause your foot arches to collapse into a flat-footed condition. Also contributing is a hormone your body releases that relaxes soft tissues as it prepares for the birth of your child. Individuals who have flat feet tend to overpronate, which is an excessive rotation of the foot with every step. In turn, this can cause pain in the ankles, knees, hips, and even back. Arch supports or orthotic devices may be helpful.
- Plantar Fasciitis. You have a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot called the plantar fascia. When this tissue sustains damage (especially from overuse), it creates a condition causing sharp, stabbing pain with the first steps in the morning. The pain may subside as you walk around, but it will return if you have been sitting or standing in place for a while.
- Ankle sprains. When women are active, they become particularly susceptible to ankle sprains. This injury happens when a foot turns further than it is intended and the ligaments that support the joint become overly-stretched or even torn. You can sprain an ankle during exercise or athletic activity, but a heel that suddenly breaks or an awkward landing after missing a step can also cause them.
Effective Treatment for Female Foot Pain
When it comes to common female foot problems, you can find the successful treatment you need from Richardson Podiatry Center. Our Richardson, Texas office is ready to help you get past any pain so you can spend your time doing the activities you enjoy. Connect with us today by using our online contact form or calling (972) 690-5374 and scheduling your appointment.