Almost everyone experiences foot pain at some point in life. Problems like bunions, cracked heels, and hammer toes are more common in older people. If you’re over 50, visit your Kelowna, BC and Victoria, BC foot doctor once a year or once every two years at the most. In between appointments, take good care of your feet, wear supportive shoes, and maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid problems and pain.
How Can You Prevent and Ease Foot Pain as You Age?
It’s always better to prevent painful conditions than to treat them. That’s why we recommend that you inspect your feet every week. By keeping them clean, dry, and moisturized, you can prevent problems like fungal infections and cracked heels.
Injuries such as bursitis and tendonitis often happen when patients make a drastic change to their exercise routines. It’s important to introduce new types of movement slowly and to do cross-training and foot-strengthening exercises regularly.
Inspect Your Feet Every Week
As people grow older, they become less mobile, and bending down to check their feet becomes more difficult. Despite this, it’s important to monitor the condition of the extremities because early intervention prevents issues from spiralling out of control. Regularly inspecting the feet is especially important for people with diabetes because they have less sensation in their extremities, so injuries often go unnoticed.
Start by looking at your toes, balls of the feet, instep, and heels to identify cuts or scrapes. Gently touch the tissue to determine whether there is any pain. Look out for ingrown toenails, calluses, bruises, and blisters. If you notice something unusual, book an appointment with a foot specialist.
Care for Your Feet
Spend time caring for your feet at least once a week. Cut or file your toenails so they don’t grow long enough to irritate you when you’re wearing shoes. If you’re no longer able to cut your nails, a friend, family member, or pedicurist can help.
Every time you wash your feet, apply moisturizing cream to prevent cracks and dry skin. Make sure you’ve thoroughly dried the skin before applying creams or ointments. Wear breathable socks made from natural fibres to prevent skin conditions. If you have limited mobility, change your position frequently. Elevate your legs and circle your feet because this improves your circulation.
Remove Dead Skin Frequently
Cracked heels are common in people over the age of 50 because the body no longer produces a lot of elastin, so the skin is less supple and drier. Unfortunately, cracked skin puts patients at risk of infections, and it can be very uncomfortable. There are several over-the-counter gels and creams available for people suffering from this condition.
If your heels don’t get better with a good foot care routine, use keratolytic agents that soften the top layer of skin. Keratolytics are available as ointments, creams, or gels. Once your skin has come loose, it can be removed with a pumice stone. Apply moisturizing cream, and keep your feet dry to prevent your heels from cracking again.
Visit a Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC Foot Doctor
People over the age of 50 are more likely to suffer from a wide range of foot conditions. Some common ones include bunions, hammer toe, ingrown toenails, plantar fasciitis, osteoarthritis, flat feet, bone spurs, and claw toe. Many of these are treatable, but they might require surgery if they are not addressed early enough.
Getting your feet checked by a specialist every year or two is one of the best ways of preventing painful conditions. Your foot specialist will examine your feet to determine whether you’re at risk. They will also perform imaging studies like MRIs or x-rays. If you have a foot condition, you might need to wear different shoes, change your exercise routine, see a physio, or take medication.
Wear the Right Shoes
Three out of four people wear the wrong kind of footwear. Shoes with a high heel and narrow toe box are particularly problematic because they cause deformities like hammer toes and bunions. However, shoes with very little support can also lead to issues because they affect a person’s balance and irritate the plantar fascia.
Most people’s feet stay healthy when they wear shoes with a low, broad heel, a flexible sole, and a secure fastening. If you’re comfortable in your shoes, they are likely good for you. If there is any pinching or pain, you might experience problems in the long run. Ask your Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC foot doctor about the best kinds of shoes for your foot type. You might need insoles or orthotics if you have flat feet or a deformity like a bunion.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
People who carry extra weight are at risk of developing foot conditions due to the pressure placed on their tissues. Some problems that are more common in obese people are gout, fallen arches, and plantar fasciitis. The best way to prevent or reduce the impact of these issues is to achieve a healthy weight.
Even losing 5-10% of your body weight can significantly reduce the pressure on your feet and ease foot pain. You can safely lose one to two pounds a week. Start by cutting out sugary and fatty snacks and reducing your consumption of high-calorie beverages like alcohol and soda.
Be Careful with New Exercise Routines
One of the most common reasons why people suffer from tendonitis, bursitis, and plantar fasciitis is that they abruptly start a new exercise routine. To lose weight or become healthier, many people begin working out every day, but this isn’t ideal. Take it slow when increasing your exercise levels. Start by incorporating twenty to thirty minutes of high-impact exercise and build up from there.
If you’ve had foot or joint problems in the past, consider opting for low-impact workouts like cycling, water aerobics, swimming, or Pilates. These types of exercise are effective, but they don’t put pressure on your legs and feet. As a result, you’re less likely to get injured.
Perform Strengthening Exercises
Some painful conditions occur because the muscles in the feet are not strong enough. Claw toe is a deformity that causes the toes to curl and dig straight into the ground instead of extending forward. It gets worse with age because the muscles become less flexible. Regularly do toe exercises if you’ve been told that you’re prone to claw toes. A foot-strengthening routine might also be necessary if you have low or flat arches.
When you search for exercises online, you’ll find many varieties. While most of them provide some benefit, it’s best to see a doctor or physio before starting a foot-strengthening program. A medical professional will be able to tell you why you’re suffering from pain and recommend exercises that are suitable for your situation. They might also give you more general exercises that help you to improve your posture and therefore reduce painful symptoms.
Foot pain is a common problem for people over the age of 50. Fortunately, many foot conditions can be prevented or treated. Inspect and take care of your feet every week, wear the right shoes, maintain a healthy weight, and visit a foot doctor at least once every two years. Call us at Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, BC and Victoria, BC to schedule your appointment.