Decades of walking, running, standing, dancing, and doing everything else feet are supposed to do takes a toll on even the healthiest of bodies. As we age, many of us find ourselves struggling with foot pain that we never experienced earlier in life. In fact, one in three adults aged 65 or older suffer from some sort of foot discomfort. But while foot problems are a common part of aging, this agony isn’t something you need to simply accept and power through. With proper foot care and preventative measures, many seniors are able to lessen or completely eliminate their foot pain. Read on to learn more about common sources of foot pain and the steps you can take towards healthier, happier feet.
Types of Foot Problems
Foot ailments can range anywhere from minor inconveniences to serious issues. Bunions, corns, calluses, and ingrown toenails are extremely common, especially among patients who wear ill-fitting shoes. If you suffer from arthritis or diabetes, your odds of experiencing foot pain increase, with circulatory issues, ulcers, and gout frequently manifesting as side effects. Less common foot problems include, but are not limited to, arch pain and damage to the nerves and tendons.
The different foot problems a person can experience number over 300, and while they vary in severity, even seemingly small issues should not be taken for granted. Foot pain of any kind is not a necessary part of the human condition, and it’s always worth seeking treatment to improve your quality of life.
Causes and Risk Factors
Foot problems aren’t always the result of neglect. Sometimes they’re hereditary, sometimes they’re caused by arthritis or diabetes, and sometimes they’re simply the result of a long, active life. It’s no secret that your body changes with age, and your feet are no exception to that rule. Over time, the padding on the bottoms of your feet wears down, and your feet are less capable of supporting your body, especially if you are overweight. This change in the shape of the feet, combined with a weakened immune system, may result in foot problems even if you take excellent care of your feet.
However, many factors that cause or exacerbate foot pain are entirely avoidable. One of the biggest sources of foot pain, especially among women, is improperly fitting shoes. This can be particularly debilitating if you spend a lot of time on your feet. Failure to keep your feet clean and moisturized also creates the perfect breeding ground for many foot ailments.
Taking Better Care of Your Feet
Whether you’re currently suffering from foot pain or want to prevent problems in advance, proper foot care is essential, and fortunately, it doesn’t require any major lifestyle changes. Simply washing your feet with soap and warm water and patting them dry can make a world of difference for your health. Using moisturizer can also be helpful, especially if you notice dry skin on your feet. Be sure to trim your toenails frequently as well, cutting them straight across rather than clipping at the sides. If you have difficulty reaching your feet by yourself, don’t hesitate to ask someone else to help you with these grooming activities.
As stated above, poorly fitting shoes can have a disastrous effect on the feet, so it’s important to invest in practical footwear. A good pair of shoes should have plenty of support and traction and space for you to wiggle your toes around. When in doubt, it’s usually best to go a size bigger than you think you need.
Also be aware that your feet may continue to change over time, and just because they are in good shape today doesn’t mean they will be tomorrow. Be sure to keep an eye out for any changes and seek medical attention or buy new shoes if needed.
Know When to Seek Help
Once again, while foot pain is common, you should never simply resign yourself to it. Any issues that aren’t quickly resolved with proper foot care should be addressed by a medical professional, not only because you don’t deserve to deal with discomfort, but because they may be signs of a more serious health problem.
One professional who can help answer your questions about foot pain is Dr. Stephanie Kane, DPM Certified Foot and Ankle Specialist, who will be hosting our September 2nd Thursday Thrive and Vibe: “Ouch! My Aching Feet…Learn About Common Foot Issues and How To Manage Them.” The free virtual event will take place on Zoom from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM ET.