Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Specialist) Questions Menstruation

My legs and feet become very heavy during my periods. What is the connection and how can I manage the pain better?

When I have my period, my legs feel very heavy and sore, like I was just running. My feet also become very heavy and it becomes difficult to walk or do any exercise. Are there some foot exercises I could try out?

11 Answers

This may be affected due to swelling of the legs. Speak with your doc about this.
This may need to be addressed with your primary care practitioner or your ob/gyn. I recommend you be evaluated by your primary care practitioner or ob/gyn and see if there is a condition that needs to be addressed. If they are unable to find anything, I recommend then seeing a podiatrist for an evaluation
Usually during periods, you retain water. This also affects the legs. Sometime compression stockings can help. As far as exercise, a good walking program is usually best for swelling
Walking may be helpful as the action of walking helps to reduce swelling. Also try to elevate your legs and feet as often as you can
Probably water retention. Talk to your primary physician about possible medication to address water retention.
Do your feet swell a lot during your periods? Also are you on Birth Control and any history of blood clots? If it is long standing, it may just be swelling, some woman retain water during their cycles. Light compression stockings would help.
There is a link between menstrual cycles and lower extremity pain/swelling. General foot exercises would include stretching of the bottom of the feet with the use of a frozen water bottle, stretching of the calf muscles, ankle pumps, ankle range of motion exercises (e.g drawing the alphabet with your feet), heel raises, and trying to grip marbles or a towel with your toes. Foot soaks with warm water and epsom salts also help relieve muscle tension. It may also be a good idea to incorporate a rigid arch support to better stabilize the feet.
Most women retain fluid when they are having, or just before, menstruation. This is the most likely scenario, but you should see a specialist if it persists and is a problem.
It sounds like you are retaining fluid. You can elevate your legs to reduce the heaviness. You should speak to your primary or gyn to determine the cause of swelling. If foot pain persists after resolving the swelling, see your podiatrist
There are some people that may experience foot and leg pain and swelling during menstrual cycles. Some of the pain may be secondary to pelvic region nerve network, radiating pain to the legs. Other times it may be related to increased swelling of the feet. Some foot exercises you can try include calf and hamstring stretches. Soaking feet in warm water soaks and rolling your foot arches on a tennis ball may relieve some of the tension in the deep, intrinsic musculature of the feet.
This heavy sensation that you are describing may be related to water retention. Consumption of salty foods or salt could cause the body to retain intra-cellular water. Renin, "a chemical an enzyme secreted by and stored in the kidneys that promotes the production of the protein angiotensin." Renin-->Aldosterone = "an enzyme secreted by and stored in the kidneys that promotes the production of the protein angiotensin." Angiotensin, which causes vasoconstriction of arterial blood vessels in the body, resulting in hypertension, AKA high blood pressure, and Angiotensin II salt retention, which result in swelling in the extremities. Next, the heavy sensation that you are feeling in your legs may be associated with intermittent claudication ca be spasms or cramping pain (or heaviness, or fullness sensations felt in the feet and legs on walking or exercises that is relieved on rest, and elevation of the feet above the level of the hips or heart). The online definition of intermittent claudication = "a condition in which cramping pain in the leg is induced by exercise, typically caused by obstruction of the arteries."
I don't know of any exercises that you could do to help the pain in your legs during your periods. However, wearing some over-the-counter support hoses or compression socks below the knees ("below the knee" means at the patella bone of the legs is where the hoses or socks come up to) may help with the swelling in the feet and legs. But these compression hoses or socks are not recommended for any person who has congestive heart failure, or who has an ankle-arm index value below 0.50. Therefore, the congestive heart failure and the ankle-arm index can be diagnosed by the your primary care physician or provider. Online definition congestive heart failure: "Congestive heart failure symptoms is a heart condition that causes symptoms of shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, and swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet. There are four stages of the disease. Treatments options include diet, medication, exercise, and weight loss." In closing, please schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or physician to make sure that your heart and kidneys are working properly.