The Hormonal Scope of Foot Health
One of the things Silvia say to her patients, specifically female seniors, is that foot pain or aches comes and goes without any particular reason.
Now we all wonder "Why is that?". Let's dive into the case of menopause.
Menopause is when a female individual stops having menstrual cycles ("periods") between the age of 50 to 60. What happens is that the level of estrogen hormone, as known as female sex hormone, will greatly fluctuate until it ultimately decreases to a minimum. Estrogen is what promotes growth in reproductive cells and regulating reproductive organs; thus when there is not enough estrogen, the reproductive system becomes inactive and the periods will stop occurring.
What does hormones have to do with our feet? The soft tissues that support and maintain our muscles and tendons called ligaments is responsible for our awareness of the physical environment and balance. Hormones directly influences the tissue repair and receptors in ligaments, which affects the ligament's ability to function. In areas that consist of many ligaments, such as the foot, wrist and knee, they provide a clear indication of ligament health as well as hormonal health.
Let's look into certain specific hormones:
Estrogen and sex hormones - estrogen influences the production of collagen, the protein that makes up our muscles and soft tissues. This will cause a greater risk of injury as the ligaments becomes weakened.
All sex hormones, including estrogen, have the ability to cause water retention, which promotes swelling within the synovial membrane, the outer layer that covers a joint.
During premenstrual syndrome (PMS), this is when the general symptoms of periods occur. Females at this time is unable to "detoxify" the estrogen. Due to this estrogen imbalance, women are more at risk of ligament injuries during this time in the menstrual cycle.
Everyone, including men, will have negative side effects when they have high estrogen levels. When you have more estrogen, you will gain more fat; and since you have more fat, more estrogen will be produced.
Other symptoms in men with high estrogen levels include erectile dysfunction, low energy and libido.
Key ideas: Estrogen influence ligament health by affecting the collagen levels, causing water retention, and adding excessive weight to your body.
Stress hormones - when we are experiencing long-term stress, our cortisol levels (stress hormone) will drop, so the system will take nutrients that is used to produce other hormones to make more cortisol. The hormone also promote break down of proteins to be used for glucose. As a result, This will affect the production of other hormones that repair soft tissue, and cause blood sugar issues.
Another hormone called aldosterone control the electrolyte (sodium and potassium) levels in our body. With long-term stress, aldosterone levels will also drop like cortisol and cause sodium levels to drop. To compensate the lack of aldosterone, the cells will take sodium from outside the cell, which causes swelling.
Key ideas: Chronic stress restricts the repairing of soft tissues, and promotes swelling.
What to do about it? Hormonal health can be maintained with a balanced diet with sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals, and remaining active.
Note: This should not be taken as a form of treatment. If anything about your feet bothers you, please feel free to call us for an appointment!
Our purpose is to help you with your foot pain!