When a new patient comes to my office, it's more likely to be a woman than a man. What could possibly be the reason for this difference? Let's delve into some significant differences than can cause women to have more foot problems than men.
Differences in the structure of women's feet can put them at greater risk for foot injuries. Some of those differences include a greater tendency to have lax or loose ligaments, a wider forefoot, shorter arch length, shorter metatarsals, greater plantar flexion and range of motion than men.
Jobs That Require Standing
While it's true that more men than women work in construction, highway work, and perform manual labor, more women than men have jobs where they need to stand. According the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 75% of teachers and 90% of nurses are women. Other jobs dominated by women are those who work in retail, hairdressers, servers, and house cleaners. Standing for long periods of time is very hard on feet due to the amount of pressure the feet have to withstand.
Shoes play a role in the type of problems women experience. Women who wear high heels are highly prone to developing bunions, hammertoes, and neuromas. To prevent these problems from occurring or getting worse women should wear shoes with heels one inch or lower with a toe box that doesn't squish their toes together.
According to the National Institutes of Health women and men have about the same prevalence of obesity, but women were more likely to be very obese. The more someone weighs the more pressure on the feet placing people with obesity at greater risk for plantar fasciitis.
Weight gain during pregnancy can put women at greater risk for heel pain, just like women who are already overweight. In addition, pregnancy triggers a release of hormones that loosens ligaments, which can contribute to foot strain and increased foot size.
Pregnant women should wear shoes that accommodate swelling and increased foot size. Shoes should be supportive and have a wide toe box. Women should never wear high heels when pregnant. Added weight and pressure on the ball of the foot and toes make women more vulnerable than ever to foot problems. In addition, pregnancy alters the center of gravity for women. Adding high heels increases the chance for falls.
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain".
In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly. You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.