Women More Likely to Experience Hip, Knee, and Feet Pain

Many things can cause chronic pain, which is more frequent in older people. Pain can change a person's lifestyle and independence. Women seem to have more pain than men. Pain can be painful for your future retirement as well.

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Women More Likely to Experience Hip, Knee, and Feet Pain
4 Min Read July 25th, 2022

Talking to friends, you probably have heard someone say, perhaps yourself, about their pain. People suffer from pain all over their bodies at some point, but ongoing pain and discomfort become more common as we age.  

Pain in your hips and knees is widespread. The National Institute on Aging reports that chronic pain is caused by a health condition such as arthritis for some people. It may also follow acute pain from an injury, surgery, or other ongoing health condition. 

Key findings from a recent CDC National Health Interview Survey show some painful facts. 

  • 39.0% of adults had back pain, 36.5% had lower limb pain, and 30.7% had upper limb pain in the past three months.

  • Adults aged 65 and over, women, non-Hispanic white adults, and those with income below 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL) were most likely to experience back pain.

  • Adults aged 18–29 (21.0%), men (33.5%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (20.6%), and those with income 200% of FPL or above (35.2%) were least likely to experience lower limb pain.

  • Adults aged 65 and over, women, non-Hispanic white adults, and those with income below 100% of FPL were most likely to experience upper limb pain.

Women More Than Men

For centuries, people have believed women are the more sensitive gender. There appears to be some truth in that assumption. Women (39.2%) are more likely to experience pain in their hips, knees, or feet than men (33.5%). 

Recent research shows that women are more sensitive to pain. According to a report published in October's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), women have more nerve receptors, which cause them to feel pain more intensely than men.

According to Bradon Wilhelmi, MD, author of the study, there are real-life implications to how the genders perceive and handle pain.

Dr. Bradon Wilhelmi

This study has serious implications about how we treat women after surgery as well as women who experience chronic pain. Because women have more nerve receptors, they may experience pain more powerfully than men, requiring different surgical techniques, treatments, or medicine dosages to help manage their pain and make them feel comfortable.

Dr. Bradon Wilhelmi

Health Related Pain Issues

Living with any pain can be challenging, no matter the cause of the pain. Pain creates a new set of health-related issues. For instance, pain can:

  • Get in the way of your daily activities

  • Disturb your sleep and eating habits

  • Make it difficult to continue working

  • Be related to depression or anxiety

  • Keep you from spending time with friends and family

Richard W. Rosenquist, MD, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic's Department of Pain Management, says multiple factors play a role in how we experience pain. These factors include genetics, social status, exercise, and information processing in the brain. And for women, hormones, puberty, reproductive status, and menstrual cycle also affect pain threshold and perception.

It's essential to find the source of the pain so that it can be treated effectively. Dr. John Paggioli, a pain specialist and medical director at Eastern Connecticut Pain Treatment Center in Norwich, says there are many treatment options for chronic pain depending on the cause.

While medication can be an important part of a pain management plan, it's not the only thing that can help. There are many other options available, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and interventional techniques which include steroid injections, radiofrequency ablation of sensory nerves to joints and the spine, and spinal cord stimulation often used for failed back surgery syndrome.

Dr. John Paggioli

Pain Can Limit Independence and Mobility

Pain and discomfort can impair a person's ability to perform routine daily activities that we take for granted, especially when we are younger. As a result of pain, a person may also experience mobility problems. It has become a common reason people require long-term health care.

Longer lifespans are contributing to more chronic conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over two-thirds of older Americans suffer from multiple chronic conditions, and long-term health care costs are increasing rapidly.

Research shows that 60% to 75% of people over 65 years of age report having persistent pain, and the prevalence of pain increases with age, with women being more likely than men to report persistent pain.

People with ongoing pain also report higher rates of depression. People with pain are four times more likely to have depression or anxiety than those who are pain-free.

Some pain is hard to define and treat, like those who have Fibromyalgia. Many studies link Fibromyalgia and depression. There seems to be a link between Fibromyalgia and depression, with an individual being three times more likely to have depression at the time of their diagnosis than someone without Fibromyalgia. 

Be Proactive

Most experts suggest being proactive and getting the correct diagnosis and treatment for their pain. Otherwise, the problem will progress, and the need for future long-term care when you are older increases. 

While it appears that women suffer more pain than men, pain is still a significant factor for anyone as they age. A plan for the future costs and burdens of aging and declining health should be part of a retirement plan before your health starts changing and you get too old.

Long-Term Care Insurance is often used as a way to provide access to quality care services without draining assets or placing a burden on loved ones. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s when they still have reasonably good health and premiums are affordable.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

Mobility problems as you get older will lead to your need for help with everyday living activities. People require long-term health care due to declining health, aging, and dementia. The cost of this care is exploding nationwide and will significantly impact your family and your finances.

Long-term care is a woman's issue, but only because they become default caregivers for their husbands or fathers. By the time a woman needs long-term health care, they have less family support since women live longer. Man or woman, being prepared for the costs and burdens of aging is a key part of retirement planning.

The solution many people have found is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. Before saying it is too expensive, think again and get the facts. LTC Insurance is custom-designed, and premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. 

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s. Getting LTC Insurance younger saves you a lot of money, and you have many more choices.

Long-Term Care Insurance means access to quality care. It also means choice. You get to choose the type of care, including care in your home. LTC Insurance also means income and asset protection. Care costs are exploding nationwide - your guaranteed tax-free benefits will ease the financial stress.

Have Questions About Long-Term Care Planning?

You might have questions about long-term health care planning, and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News. Find all the resources available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Find the cost of care where you live by using the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.

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Long-term care is very specialized, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies, as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Loved Ones Need Help Now?

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

If your parent or parents need help be sure to get them quality care. LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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