Sex differences are viewed in all aspects of life, and it is no different for podiatry! Female feet commonly have a structure that is anatomically narrower and shorter. There are shape differences within female arches, as well as the outer edge and ball of the foot. As a result, there is a biomechanical effect when walking, or moving on the whole. The pressure and load on the foot is additionally significantly dissimilar!
Females also typically have greater joint range of motion within their ankles, due to increased flexibility in those key ankle ligaments that allow movement in this area. It is thought that the main female sex hormone, oestrogen, may contribute to this ligament ‘looseness’.
However, there is a downside to this. There are multiple studies that have highlighted that females are more likely to experience foot conditions in comparison to men, and often, these are more persistent with age. Due to greater flattening of the arch, and the uneven distribution of pressure, females are more susceptible to experiencing hallux valgus, also known as ‘bunions’ as well as corns and calluses, heel pain or associated plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis.
This pressure difference is highlighted below, with the shaded region highlighting the areas that are in contact directly with the floor. It is more evenly distributed in males in comparison to females.
Additionally, wearing shoes over time with that increased heel and narrow fit also contributes to deformities and foot pain on the whole, causing issues including involuted nails. Find out more by reading our past blog that is linked here!
Over time, and with increasing age, foot problems also become more widespread in females. A recent, and frequently cited study suggests that it is associated with chronic health conditions, such as obesity, and this contributes to its persistent likelihood (Hylton et al., 2011).
With mother’s day coming up, it is time to put women’s conditions at the forefront of our minds! If you think your mother would benefit from a podiatry visit, gift one for her today! Call us over the phone on 9480 4935 or drop in to our clinic to organise it today!
Additionally if you are having any issues with your feet and require some foot treatment, BOOK AN APPOINTMENT THROUGH THIS LINK today!
Menz, H. B., Barr, E. L., & Brown, W. J. (2011). Predictors and persistence of foot problems in women aged 70 years and over: a prospective study. Maturitas, 68(1), 83-87.