The American Podiatric Medical Association estimates that the average American has walked approximately 75,000 miles by the time they reach the age of 50. While we can replace our tires when they’ve traveled that far, we can’t do the same with our feet. Feet are not immune from the changes that come with getting older. As our bodies feel the weight of aging and our lifestyles change, new problems can arise and we can become more vulnerable to common foot problems that people experience at any age. In fact, one in three people over the age of 65 has foot pain, stiffness, or aching feet.
For their health and well-being, seniors should be attentive to any changes in the feeling or appearance of their feet and ensure that they take steps which can address issues when they develop and minimize the likelihood that such problems arise in the first place.
Common Foot Problems for Seniors
Some of the most common problems seniors experience with their feet are:
• Loss of cushioning on the heels and bottom of the feet
• Pain and stiffness caused by arthritis in the midfoot joints or the big toe
• Loss of circulation caused by lack of mobility or diabetes
• Hammertoes, corns, callouses, or bunions caused by tight or high-heeled shoes. These can be particularly problematic as it can affect balance and increase the risk of falls
• Dry skin and brittle nails
Senior Foot Care Tips
Older adults can take the following simple steps to keep their feet – and themselves – healthy and happy:
• Wear comfortable shoes. Your feet can change the size and become wider as you age. Along with an increased risk of swelling, this means that shoes that once fit fine are now too small and too tight. When you buy new shoes, have your feet measured instead of just picking the size you’ve worn for decades, and avoid tight or high-heeled shoes which put undue pressure on your feet or create the friction and irritation that can lead to corns, callouses or bunions.
• Keep the blood flowing. Remaining sedentary for long periods of time due to inactivity or a lack of mobility can limit the flow of blood to your feet which can, in turn, make them more vulnerable to serious problems and obstruct the body’s ability to heal wounds and infections. To the extent possible, stand, walk, and stretch throughout the course of the day, and make sure that tight socks and shoes are not further constricting your circulation.
• Moisturize. The skin on your feet is more prone to dryness and cracking as you age, so stay hydrated by ensuring you drink plenty of water and be generous with your use of a moisturizer on the top and bottom of your feet.
• Know when to seek help. While there are plenty of ways for seniors to treat common foot problems at home, some issues are cause for serious concern and proper treatment may only be available from a podiatrist. Knowing when to see a podiatrist isn’t an exact science, but there are several symptoms which should put you on alert that a visit to a trained foot and ankle professional should be scheduled as soon as possible.
JAWSpodiatry: Hollywood, Florida Foot and Ankle Specialists
No matter what your age, the experienced and skilled podiatrists at JAWSpodiatry in Hollywood, Florida can help you keep your feet healthy, and help you get back on your feet when problems arise. We are a growing group of exceptional professionals who offer the highest degree of care in a welcoming, comfortable environment. Please contact us today at (954) 922-7333 to schedule a consultation.