As we get older, we need to become more proactive in how we work to prevent health problems from developing. The same can be said for your feet. As we get older, we’re more likely to suffer from a variety of foot conditions, like bunions, flat feet or arthritis. However, the good news is that all these conditions can be prevented if we make some smart decisions. Below, we share four ways older adults can help prevent problematic foot conditions and pain.
Preventing Foot Pain As You Get Older
Here are four proactive steps older adults can take to help prevent the most common foot problems that tend to affect their demographic.
- Smart Footwear Choices – The most common factor that leads to the development of bunions is ill-fitting shoes. Don’t assume that because you’ve worn the same size shoe for decades that sizes and fits will be the same across all brands. Try on shoes in-store and make sure they feel comfortable before purchasing. Avoid narrow toe boxes or extended periods in high heels, which will put extra stress on your toes. This stress can shift your big toe joint, leading to bunion onset. Supportive shoes can also help to prevent fallen arches and conditions like plantar fasciitis.
- Exercise – Staying active is one of the best things you can do for your feet. It helps to improve muscle strength and balance, and it helps get blood pumping to your extremities. If normal exercise like running is too painful, consider some non-weight bearing exercises like cycling or swimming. Regular exercise is great for your feet and your whole body, so strive to stay active long into your golden years.
- Regular Examinations – You should get in the habit of performing regular foot checks. Develop a routine of examining your feet when you get out of the shower or every day before you put on socks, especially if you’re diabetic. Blood flow to the extremities can slow down as you age or with diabetes, which can make it harder for foot injuries to heal. If you notice that cuts or wounds are taking a long time to heal, or you’re having sensation issues in your feet, head to a foot specialist’s office.
- Don’t Overdo It – Young or old, one of the leading causes of foot injuries is overstress. If you spend too much time on your feet or you are repeatedly stressing your feet throughout the day, this pressure can lead to structure breakdown and soft tissue injury. Be smart about your activity amount throughout the day, because although exercise is a great way to keep your feet healthy, too much of a good thing can lead to injury. Listen to your body, and if you notice that pain is increasing with activity, stop what you’re doing and consider setting up an appointment with a specialist.
If you strive to stay active, perform regular foot checks and you don’t overstress your foot with too much activity or poorly fitted shoes, we’re confident you’ll be putting yourself in a good position to have excellent foot health long into retirement.