Aging is inevitable, and it causes certain changes to our feet which we should be aware of and treat accordingly. For instance, as we age we lose some of the padding that is on the bottom of our feet. These pads are natural shock absorbers for the joints and bones. As this padding decreases over time due to constant pressure, people become at risk for pain and inflammation.
Bunions are a common foot problem that affects older individuals. These abnormal growths near the joint of the big toe can be caused by arthritis. Bunions on the big toe cause the other toes to be crowded, which in turn causes inflammation and pain. Untreated, bunions can lead to further pain and toe deformity. Footwear that has a wide toe box will help avoid crowding of the toes and therefore reduce discomfort.
Corns and calluses on the feet are another complaint of senior citizens. These rough patches of skin form on the skin’s surface (usually over bunions), and are caused by constant friction, usually from poor fitting footwear.
Dry skin is common among the elderly because the skin does not sweat or produce natural oils as effectively as it did when they were at a younger age. Also, skin becomes thinner with age, and its water content decreases, contributing to the dry skin problem. In addition to exfoliating to remove dead skin cells and applying a good quality moisturizer after a shower when your skin is still damp, older people should avoid wearing socks made from rayon and nylon.
Discolored toenails are another common complaint of the older generations. This may be due to poor circulation. As we age, the tiny blood vessels in the toes and feet narrow, limiting the amount of nutrients and infection-fighting blood cells that reach these extremities.
As a person ages, muscles, tendons, and ligaments become loose and less resilient. When these tendons and ligaments are weakened, they are unable to properly move the bones and joints, causing the ankle to roll inward and the foot to roll outward. This misalignment increases falls, sprains, and other injuries.
Other foot complaints that are common among the elderly may include: hammertoes, heel pain, foot issues related to diabetes, fallen arches, tarsal tunnel syndrome, Morton’s neuromas, and Achilles tendonitis. Foot problems affect one in every three individuals who are over the age of 65, and almost 90% of U.S. citizens have complained about foot pain at some point in their lives.
It doesn’t matter how old you are; there is no time like the present to protect your feet as much as possible. To receive advice on how to keep your feet healthy through all stages of life, be sure to visit Doctor Lefkowitz of Quality Foot Care. Call 215-230-9707 to make an appointment today.