Women’s Foot Care Tips

Jun 21, 2021


Strong, healthy, and pain-free feet are an essential component of overall health and happiness no matter who you are or how old you may be.

That being said, it’s still fair to say that women are generally more likely to struggle with certain kinds of foot issues than men. Sometimes the reasons are cultural (such as shoe styles), and sometimes they’re biological (for example, pregnancy). Either way, if you’re a woman, it definitely helps to pay some extra attention to how you’re treating your feet—particularly if you have a history of foot and ankle pain and injury in the past.

We hope the following tips help you manage any current issues you’re experiencing and prevent future problems.

Skip the High Heels

There’s really no other way to say this: wearing high heels puts immense pressure not only on your feet, but muscles and joints throughout the entire body. Not only is all your weight thrown onto the balls of your feet, but you’re also forced to walk about with poor biomechanical posture.

If you wear this style of shoes regularly, your risk of developing (or at least exacerbating) problems such as neuromas, hammertoes, bunions, ball of foot pain, knee pain and more increase dramatically.

If you must wear high heels, our general recommendations are:

  • Wear them sparingly—only for special events, and even then bring along an extra pair of shoes you can switch into when necessary.
  • Shorter heel heights are better. Don’t go above 2 inches.
  • Wider or chunkier heels that have a wide platform of support are much better than stilettos.

Woman suffering from leg pain outdoors because of uncomfortable shoes. 

Wear Comfortable, Supportive Footwear Instead

While high heels get the majority of the bad press, there are lots of other popular shoe styles that aren’t much better for your feet or body, including ballet flats and flip flops.

As much as possible, stick to shoes that offer good arch support, good cushioning, a slightly raised heel, and fit your feet properly. Shoes should feel firm (but not tight) around the heels and balls of the feet, not slide around as you walk, and have about half an inch of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.

For sandals, skip the flimsy flip flops and choose open-toed shoes with built-in arch support that fit snugly on your feet (so you don’t have to dig in your toes or shorten your stride just to keep them from flying off). An adjustable strap for the back of the heel is often a great choice here.

If you play specific sports, you should also opt for sport-specific footwear, as they are designed with features that best support and protect your feet based on the specific challenges and stresses of the activity.

Avoid shoes with narrow toe boxes that pinch your toes, flat footbeds that don’t support your arch, or tight and hard backs that irritate your heels. 

Foot Care During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in any expectant mother’s life, but it also comes with a high risk of several foot problems. Not all of these problems go away after your child is born, either. For example, increased production of the hormone relaxin (designed to loosen joints throughout the body in preparation for birth) can also cause your feet to flatten and widen—some of which may be permanent.

Other common pregnancy-related foot problems include swollen feet and calves, overpronation, ingrown toenails, and more. These tend to be temporary symptoms, but if you notice significant discomfort—or, on a more serious note, you notice that one leg appears more swollen than the other—please contact us right away.

You can read more about common pregnancy-related foot problems from one of our previous blog posts.

Reduce Your Risk of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. Your feet, which contain about a quarter of all the bones in your body and support your weight all day, can be especially vulnerable to stress fractures (or even full fractures) under these circumstances.

Although osteoporosis can happen to men and women of any age, it’s particularly common in post-menopausal women, due to the link between estrogen and bone density. (On top of this, women naturally tend to have less bone density than men even without an osteoporosis diagnosis.)

Some of the best ways to reduce your risk of osteoporosis (and damage to the bones of the feet that it can cause) are eating a healthy diet with plenty of protein, calcium, and vitamin D; maintaining a healthy body weight; and exercising regularly (including strength training exercise).

Check Your Feet Regularly and Don’t Ignore Problems

Many women (as well as men) tend to ignore foot problems until the pain is almost unbearable. They assume that it’s just a normal part of getting older or engaging in certain activities. But this could not be further from the truth!

In fact, ignoring foot pain is very likely to only result in even more painful and longer-lasting problems down the road. But intervening early often means you can reverse and prevent problems, and are more likely to be able to do so with non-invasive measures like stretching and orthotics.

Your feet are designed to provide you with a lifetime of comfortable, pain-free locomotion. If you find that pain is keeping you from accomplishing your daily tasks, enjoying your favorite hobbies, and living your best life, please give us a call right away.

You can request an appointment at our office in Milford, CT at (203) 876-7736, or in Hamden, CT at (203) 288-4055. You can also contact us online.