Staying active into your “golden years” means keeping healthy and taking good care of your body, especially feet and legs. Those two loyal feet will take you about 115,000 miles during your lifetime – equal to four times around the world!
Aging Affects our Feet
- Ankle and feet swelling – the elderly often suffer from swelling due to hormonal changes, leg vein issues, certain medications as well as cardiovascular disease.
- Arthritis – osteoarthritis, or joint inflammation, results from wear and tear on joints. Most often involved are the big toe, mid-foot and ankle joints. Arthritis can also worsen bunion, hammertoe and gout symptoms.
- Balance Issues – nerve disease called peripheral neuropathy can cause weakness, loss of feeling and lack of coordination. Diabetes can cause neuropathy and the risk of diabetes increases with age.
- Skin lesions – these abnormalities are more likely to appear on the feet and ankles. Some are benign like stucco and seborrheic keratosis, but more deadly cancers like melanoma can also form. Any skin lesion on the foot should be evaluated by a foot doctor.
- Skin problems – the fatty layer under the skin on the bottom of the foot shrinks as we age causing foot and heel pain. Dry skin may result in calluses, corns and cracked heels.
- Tendons and ligaments – aging causes tendons and ligaments to lose strength and flexibility causing tendonitis, fallen arches or muscle strains.
- Toenails – as we age, toenails become thicker and brittle and are harder to trim properly.
Address Aging Feet Problems Promptly
We can’t stop the aging process but we can help slow the effects of aging on your feet. A good first step is to contact Your Next Step for a complete foot exam. We’ll assess your foot and ankle health from skin to structure to toenails, review all results with you and recommend treatments to alleviate any problems as well as lifestyle changes that will help.
For patients with diabetes, good foot care is essential. If you have lost sensation in your feet because of neuropathy, you may not feel any injury or skin problem that can lead to infection and ulcers.
Here are more tips on caring for aging feet:
- Keep feet clean and dry. Wash every day and dry carefully, especially between the toes. Apply a soothing moisturizer daily.
- Trim nails straight across rather than rounded.
- Keep up the exercise especially aerobic movement that will improve circulation.
- Elevate the feet while resting and don’t sit for too long.
- Have both feet measured each time you go shoe shopping. Look for sturdy shoes with a wide toe box and extra padding.
Contact Us for Foot and Ankle Problems
Our board certified podiatrists Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen will be happy to examine your feet at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli and Downingtown. Contact us via the website or call us to set up an appointment. We can help delay the impact of aging on your feet.