Feet change with age, but discomfort and pain don’t necessarily have to be part of growing older. Caring for feet both personally and with a podiatrist can help to minimize age-related issues. Here are some common foot problems that occur with aging and what to do about them
There is a natural, built-in insole of elastin cushions and collagen on the bottom of the foot. As collagen production decreases through the years, these fat pads become thinner. After walking all day, older feet are more likely to feel sore. The best solution is to wear cushioned shoes reinforced with gel soles or insoles.
Each foot has 28 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments, all of which degenerate with age. Using shoe inserts, along with dieting and exercising to lose weight, can help reduce the risk of arthritis. Be sure also to visit a podiatrist to determine that arthritis is truly the issue.
Wearing high heels elevates the risks of permanent bends in the smaller toes. What may start as mild discomfort may become more painful and unsightly with the emergence of calluses and corns. To prevent hammertoes, use padding to cover calluses and corns and replace pointed-toe shoes with wider soles.
Vein disease, diabetes, and other conditions related to age can impede blood flow to the feet, leaving blisters. Nerve damage from aging can also result in ulcers. Speaking with a podiatrist is the best course of action when circulation issues arise.
As the water content in tendons declines with age, the cords of ankles and elsewhere stiffen, leaving the risk of ruptures and tears. Consistent physical activity can help hold off these risks. Staying active can help counteract prolonged effects.
As foot ligaments stretch through the years, the arch of the foot flattens. This may create aching or pain. As sensors to the brain decline, balance is affected and the possibility of ankle injuries increases. Podiatrists recommend ankle exercises, like circles and toe raises, as well as an ankle brace, to reduce discomfort.
Aging doesn’t mean that individuals have to live with foot pain. Speak with a podiatrist to learn more about foot care options.