Are Heel Pain and Menopause Related?

Last updated 12.05.2023 | by Sabrina Johnson | 8 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.


A friend of mine was anxious after visiting her healthcare provider. She was going through heel pain for quite some time. Upon seeking medical help, she was told that it was common at her age because of the fluctuating hormone levels. My friend was in her mid-40s then. She anxiously started telling me, “Sabrina, don’t tell me menopause gives heel pain as well”. What upset her even more was that she was asked to let go of heels and switch to flats until things improved.

I am sure this isn’t just my friend’s ordeal. Most women may find the hormones messing with their feet when they reach menopausal age. I was going through the findings of a journal the other day, which ranked foot pain as one of the top 20 causes for women over 65 to seek medical help. It’s pretty clear that the age bracket mentioned is the postmenopause phase. So, besides other reasons for the foot trouble, menopause could be cited as one.

Are you troubled with frequent heel and foot pain in menopause? Would you like to get a detailed insight into how they are connected? You will surely benefit by reading this article of mine. Here, I will deal with some key points, like the connection between menopause and heel pain. I will also mention the foot care menopausal women should resort to.

What is the Connection Between Heel Pain and Menopause?

Like many, you, too, must be wondering what menopause has to do with your heel. Right? Like most other symptoms you face while transitioning into menopause, it’s no hidden truth that low and fluctuating estrogen levels result in heel pain.

You will be amazed to know that in your premenopausal phase, you are less likely to experience soft tissue injuries than your male counterparts. However, as you near menopause, the equation changes.

The drop in estrogen will make you more susceptible to soft tissue injuries, elevating heel pain. The pain will not be confined to the heel only. It may also circulate to other parts – your ankles, hips, back, and knees. That’s why maintaining a proper diet and exercising well is essential. Now, let us elaborate on the causes that could trigger heel pain in menopause.

1. Loss of Collagen

You may come across this term while buying skincare products. Many companies adopt marketing strategies and promote their products as collagen boosters. Not all claims are true. But that is another story. Coming to the point. What is collagen? It’s an essential protein facilitating your skin’s elasticity and stretchiness. Collagen also supports and maintains the tendons, bones, ligaments, and cartilage.

Now, let’s go a step further. Estrogen helps to maintain collagen levels, preventing it from declining. So, reduced estrogen levels mean a drop in the levels of collagen. That, in turn, affects the elasticity of the skin and joints. The outcome will be thin and less elastic skin. The ligaments and tendons stiffen as well, leading to pain and inflammation.

The low collagen levels may result in several conditions, one of which is plantar fasciitis. This mostly happens when the tissues’ elasticity joining the heel bones to the toes gets damaged. Women with this condition may experience acute heel pain, mainly during the morning.

2. Loss of Bone Mineral Density

Low estrogen levels result in low bone density, putting women at an increased risk of osteoporosis. This makes the bones brittle, making women more susceptible to fractures, mainly in the spine, wrist, and hip.

Sometimes osteoporosis could affect the foot as well, leading to balance issues. My sister fractured her foot in her mid-50s while she was getting at her desk in the office. She fell just like that. It was then that her diagnosis of osteoporosis came to light.

3. Weight Gain

Menopausal weight gain because of the fluctuating hormones can trigger heel and foot pain. When there is extra pressure on your feet and heels due to the additional pounds, it could result in pain.

How to Look After Your Feet During Menopause?

Hormonal imbalances, and low collagen levels aren’t something that you can control. However, there are a few things you can do to manage the foot pain and heel pain occurring due to menopause. Keep the following tips in mind to gain some much-needed relief:

1. Consume More Collagen

The body begins to lose more collagen during the phases of perimenopause and menopause. This can be made up for by eating collagen-rich foods, such as bone broth, legumes, chicken, and citrus fruits. Sometimes, you may need collagen supplements to compensate for the loss. However, do not take them without a doctor’s consultation.

2. Manage Your Weight

Gaining weight due to menopause can affect your gait and posture, which is also one of the reasons why some women experience foot pain.

By managing your weight, you help in taking away a substantial amount of stress placed on your feet due to the added weight. Therefore, it can aid in reducing the pain in your heels. I consulted a fitness expert who recommended five hours of physical activity a week. I added brisk walking, light jogging, and swimming to my list. On Sundays, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to mow my yard. That helped to burn quite some calories.

3. Get Rid of High Heels

Doing away with high heels isn’t easy. My sister cried her eyes out before she had to do that. Then she got used to her stylish flats and didn’t feel like going back to the heels.

Foot complications are caused due to high heels. If you have heel pain and are in the menopausal stage, it’s time to switch your high heels with comfortable shoes to let your feet breathe. My advice would be not to wear heels that exceed a height of two inches. Also, when selecting shoes, ensure they aren’t too tight or big. In both cases, it could aggravate heel and foot pain.

4. Look for Softer Surfaces

Standing on hard surfaces can contribute to your heel pain. So, if you’re accustomed to going on daily runs or walks, make sure to opt for softer surfaces and save your feet from discomfort.

5. Resort to Supplements

Adding supplements to your diet is imperative as you age and even more so once you get close to menopause. Consider adding calcium, magnesium, and vitamin supplements to your daily routine.

6. Follow an Exercise Regime

During moments of intense heel pain, you should never exercise. Rest is the best medicine, then. However, when you feel better, exercising will help you a lot. Rolling your feet backward and forward serves as therapy.

You could also do the big toe stretch. Sit crossed legs. Pull your big toe near you gently and hold it for around thirty seconds. Repeat it thrice, and switch to the next toe. This will also provide relief.

FAQs

When does menopause occur?

Menopause can occur during your 40s or 50s, with 45 to 55 years being the usual age bracket during which women experience menopause.

What are the signs and symptoms of menopause?

Some signs and symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, irregular periods, night sweats, and mood swings.

Are heel pain and menopause related?

That has been the main topic of our discussion. From all the information we gatehred, we can conveniently say that heel pain and menopause are connected. The low estrogen levels are deemed as the main culprit.

Can yoga toes help with heel pain?

Yoga toes are toe stretchers used to treat conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, etc. Many podiatrists also opine that yoga toes help relieve foot and heel pain, though there isn’t proper evidence.

How do you fix foot pain in relation to menopause?

There are umpteen ways. Take care of the food you eat, exercise well, and choose your footwear correctly. Once you take care of these, you will be able to fix your foot, and heel pain to a greater extent.

Conclusion

Heel pain or foot pain need not become a reason for you to stay less active physically in menopause. Instead, if you engage in fewer physical activities, it could affect your health negatively in other ways and also aggravate your heel Therefore.

If you’ve been experiencing heel pain for quite some time, consult your doctor. If the need arises your healthcare provider may refer you to a physical therapist or podiatrist for a better assessment. A medical professional can only determine what’s happening with your foot and recommend the best possible treatment.

Reference:

Author

  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.