With gyms barely open, many of my women patients have taken up running outdoors. And that's great news since the health benefits of running are well known. However, many of those patients are ending up with painful foot conditions as a result. Women tend to have more painful foot problems when they run than men do.
Check out the reasons for the most common painful foot conditions in women and how we treat them.
Women runners with flat feet are more at risk for developing a neuroma. High heel wearers are even more apt to develop this painful condition which worsens over time. A neuroma most commonly develops between the third and fourth toes. Symptoms can include tingling, pain, burning, and numbness. As your Seattle podiatrist I use variety of treatments for this condition including orthotics, MLS laser, and education about proper footwear.
Women runners get a double whammy when it comes to developing heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Anyone involved in high impact sports is more at risk and women are more prone to develop it than men. If you’re a woman runner who happens to love high heels you have the trifecta of risk for heel pain. Women who wear high heels often develop a shortened achilles or calf muscle. Shortened calf muscles are often a big factor in causing heel pain. Treatment includes avoiding high heels, low-dye taping, PRP, stretching exercises before running, OTC supports, orthotics.
While stress fractures are common in both men and women runners, certain conditions put women at greater risk for developing one. Estrogen plays a significant role in bone strength. Once women begin menopause their estrogen decreases and they lose bone. Sometimes that bone loss can progress to osteoporosis. Bones can be more fragile in women who are very thin, don’t get proper nutrition to keep bones healthy, or develop amenorrhea from an eating disorder. Immediate treatment requires rest and immobilization with a walking boot. Patients with osteoporosis will require treatment to improve their bone health and patients with an eating disorder will require mental health counseling.
If you’re a woman who uses running as a way to stay fit or just for the sheer joy of it, I recommend taking the extra time to ensure that your feet and physical health are in tip top shape so you can keep doing what you love.
If you run into any foot problems along your daily path, 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.
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.