Of course, our entire body ages as we age. But some parts of the body take a harder hit than others. It’s not uncommon to have foot issues as we get older; we’ve been bearing weight on them and abusing them since we learned to walk!
.Because foot issues can impact our daily lives greatly, let’s take a look at some of the more common foot issues that can arise as we age.
Common Foot Issues
Of course, age doesn’t mandate that we have to have cracked heels. Or that we have to be older to have them. But they are one of the most common issues that we run across as we age. The danger in letting our heels go and getting to the point that they start to crack, is that the skin can break, bleed and become infected much more easily than healthy heels.
Treatment: Treat cracked heels with a foot soak, a gentle rub with a loofah or foot pad and add extra thick moisterizer (like Cetophil) when you’re done.
Toenail growth slows down as we age, but the nail also become more brittle and thicker. This can make them more challenging to maintain ourselves, which can lead to some disregard. Ingrown toenails can happen because of a foot injury or even poor fitting shoes.
Treatment: Although they can heal up on their own, have a doctor look at your toenail to be sure that it doesn’t present an infection risk or need to be removed by a medical professional. Sensible and comfortable foot wear will also go a long way towards prevention.
Gout is a version of arthritis in which uric acid collects as crystals in the feet. It commonly affects the big toe and most commonly affects men middle aged and older. As with other types of arthritis, this is prone to flare-ups and in this time, anti-inflammatories and pain management is critical.
Treatment: After confirming with your doctor that you have gout, take a look at lifestyle changes that can help prevent flare-ups. These changes might include, eating less red meat, drinking more water and less alcohol and adding more plant based foods to your diet.
Osteoarthritis is generally a condition that affects people over 50. It’s sometimes referred to as the “wear-and-tear” disease. The ankle joint and the big toe joint are commonly affected and can cause pain and this pain can cause you to be unstedy on your feet, increasing fall risk.
Treatment: See your doctor for any chronic pain you have. Treatments may include medications, losing weight or arlternative therapies.
Bunions are formed when the bone on the inside of the foot shifts outward, causing a painful, bony bump. They aren’t due to age alone and as many as 33% of people have them. They can be genetic or can also be caused by improper footwear, such as high heels.
Treatment: Often times, bunion treatment is pain management. See your doctor for managing the pain or in other cases, what the surgical options ight be.
Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition in which the band of tissue that connects the toes to the heel becomes inflamed. It is most common in people who are overweight or in regular runners. It stereotypically causes pain through the heel and you may change how you walk to avoid the pain. Changing your gait can cause yet other foot issues.
Treatment: Speaking with your medical provider will help determine if you need physiotherapy, mild anti-inflammatory medication or in extreme cases surgery.
While your medical professional can certainly help you to manage these common foot issues, one of the most important steps to take is to do what you can towards prevention. Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes, orthotics if necessary. Eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining an appropriate weight and taking good care of yourself will go far in helping your feet to last as long as you do.
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