Our feet carry us through life. They take us up hills and over rough terrain, and sometimes they do it wearing shoes that probably aren’t the best. It only seems natural that later in life they may become more painful due to all of the stress and trauma they have been through. However, aging feet do not necessarily have to be uncomfortable or problematic. When you take good care of them, it is possible they will last you a lifetime without giving you trouble.
Some Common Foot Problems for Older Adults
Still, as we get on in years our bodies begin to change. This includes our feet, which have seen many miles. For instance, they may begin to change shape. This happens because our arches can sometimes collapse due to ligament wear and tear. This can cause a lot of pain in the heel and arch, but it can also cause the foot to become more elongated. You may need to get them sized to make sure you are wearing shoes that fit properly.
Another common occurrence is the diminishment of natural cushioning and padding on our soles. The fatty deposits that were once there may be disappearing as time goes by. This puts the ball of your foot at risk, particularly with the sesamoid bones. Wearing foam or gel inserts can provide the cushion you need.
You may notice that your skin is also changing. It can become thinner and drier, leading to more cracking and fissures. Since your circulation is probably not what it used to be it may take more time for these cracks to heal. Additionally, diseases like diabetes and arthritis can make things even more worrisome.
Keeping Your Feet Feeling Young
It is very important to keep your lower limbs healthy and protected throughout your lifetime. This is just as true for people who are in more advanced years. Choose shoes that offer you the support you need, specifically in the arch area. If you can’t find shoes that are able to do this, consider a shoe insert or even a custom-made orthotic.
If you have a bunion or another type of foot deformity make sure your shoes are able to fit your feet comfortably. Get them measured whenever you buy new shoes, as they may have changed shape and size, and look for a style that is wide enough in the toe area.
If you are at rest make sure you elevate your feet to help with circulation. Try to limit the amount of time you spend with your legs crossed. Also, when sitting for long periods, wiggle your toes, rotate your ankles, or alternately life your toes and heels from the floor to promote blood flow.
Practicing good daily foot care is also crucial to maintaining foot health. This means washing your feet daily and patting them dry with a towel. This is the best time to apply moisturizing cream to avoid dry, cracked skin. Do not apply it between the toes as that can promote fungal infection. If you have diabetes make sure you are checking your feet daily for anything out of the ordinary. This may include wounds that won’t heal or bumps and lumps that won’t go away. If you notice anything, it is very important to get yourself to our office as soon as possible.
We all need a little help to keep our aging feet in tip-top shape. Call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, today at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in one of our three Massachusetts offices. We will help guide you through the aging process so that your lower limbs can stay healthy and you can stay happy.