Men’s and women’s foot anatomy is largely the same: despite some size differences on average, both men’s and women’s feet have 26 bones and over 100 muscles. Yet, habit and lifestyle differences result in some disparities between the podiatric conditions that most commonly affect men and those that most commonly affect women.
To understand why women’s feet are more vulnerable to specific foot conditions than men’s, we need to think about footwear. Women’s shoes tend to be narrower and often more pointed than men’s shoes. Plus, high heels aren’t so friendly for your feet and are almost exclusively worn by women. Features like high heels and narrow soles can cramp your feet and cause imbalances in the bones and muscles, leading to chronic and acute foot problems that require a podiatrist’s care.
Board-certified podiatrist Michael V. Tran, DPM, provides the communities of Arlington and Dallas, Texas, with comprehensive podiatry and wound care at AllCare Foot & Ankle Center. He and the team have the necessary training and experience to treat even the most severe and prolonged cases of common foot and ankle conditions and can even give you tips on how to protect your feet in the future.
If a beautiful pair of pumps tends to leave you speechless, or if you simply have trouble finding shoes that fit your feet comfortably, be aware of these top foot problems in women and visit us for top-of-the-line care:
Many women develop bunions, which happen when your big toe points toward your other toes on the same foot and causes the joint at the base to jut outward. You’re already at an increased risk of getting a bunion if you have arthritis, but narrow-toed shoes can force the joint into this position too.
For people with bunions, the main concern is often the pain or discomfort they bring. You can treat the discomfort and perhaps make some improvements to the bunion through physical therapy, taping or strapping, or using custom orthotics. Severe bunions may require bunionectomy, a surgery to re-align the toe joint.
Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain and is an inflammatory condition of a ligament on the sole of your foot. Unlike other podiatric conditions common in women, plantar fasciitis doesn’t tend to come from high heels or narrow toes. Instead, flat-footed shoes without much arch support leave you at risk for this condition.
Dr. Tran treats plantar fasciitis conservatively to reduce inflammation and pain, relying on gentle interventions like rest, ice, physical therapy, and therapeutic injections.
Morton’s neuroma happens when the nerve tissue in the ball of your foot becomes thickened and compressed, leading to burning and tingling sensations. Often caused by prolonged wear of tight and narrow shoes, the condition is manageable with cushioned, roomy, and supportive footwear as well as clinical interventions like custom orthotics and therapeutic injections.
Can’t straighten one or more of your toes without using your hands? You’ve got hammertoes, a muscular imbalance that arises from wearing shoes with too little space in the toe area. Pointed shoes can lead to this issue, as can shoes that are a size or two too small. Wearing shoes that give your toes ample room is the key to avoiding hammertoes, but treating them once they occur can be challenging.
Hammertoes are simplest to treat when the issue first starts. To train your toes out of the imbalance, Dr. Tran may recommend:
- An immediate change in footwear
- Custom orthotics
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Splints or straps
If your hammertoes come with discomfort, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications should suffice. Rigid hammertoes you’ve had for a long time may require surgery if you want to correct their imbalances.
Treat your feet to less discomfort
If you experience any of the above foot and ankle conditions, improvement is possible with professional care. Call AllCare Foot & Ankle Center or schedule an appointment online right away.