- The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine (ISSN:00408727)
- vol.237, no.3, pp.219-226, 2015 (Released:2015-11-03)
One of the sexual hormones, estrogen, increases elasticity of human connective tissue such as the anterior cruciate ligament during the menstrual cycle in women. In the present investigation, the plantar fascia was investigated to see if there is a difference in elasticity with the menstrual cycle. Fifteen young healthy females in the age range of 18-35 years old with a regular menstrual cycle were tested twice throughout one full menstrual cycle; once during the early follicular phases and once at ovulation. Foot length, while standing on both feet and one foot were used to assess plantar fascia elasticity, ultrasound measured plantar fascia thickness while lying and standing, and posture sway and tremor using a balance platform during 8 different balance tests were assessed to see the impact of elasticity changes. Foot length increased significantly at ovulation compared to menstruation when standing on two feet (p = 0.03) and standing on one foot (p < 0.001). There was also a significant increase in plantar fascia in thinning per kilogram weight applied to the foot at ovulation compared to menstruation (p = 0.014). Associated with this increase in elasticity at ovulation, there was a reduction in balance in the most difficult balance tasks and an increase in tremor during ovulation (p < 0.05). Plantar fascia elasticity change during the menstrual cycle might have effects on posture sway and tremor, which could have a potential risk of falling. Therefore, healthy professionals working with young female adults should recognize these physiological effects.