Many of today’s seniors are defying aging by staying active long into their “golden years.” Staying active means taking good care of your body, especially legs and feet. After all, those same two feet that you were born with will take you about 115,000 miles in your lifetime – enough to loop around the world four times! But aging changes our feet in certain ways.
Effects of Aging on Feet
Ankle and Feet Swelling – this common problem may be due to leg vein issues, hormonal changes, cardiovascular disease or some medications.
Arthritis – wear and tear piles up on joints leading to osteoarthritis or joint inflammation. Those most often involved are the mid-foot, big toe and ankle joints and can also cause bunion and hammertoe symptoms to worsen as well as gout.
Skin Problems – As we age the fatty layer beneath the skin on the sole of the foot shrinks, causing pain. Dry skin can cause cracked heels, calluses and corns. Skin requires extra moisturizing to prevent rashes and cracks.
Skin lesions are more likely to appear on ankles and feet. Some abnormalities are benign like seborrheic and stucco keratosis, but deadly melanoma cancers can also develop. Because of this possibility, any skin lesions should be evaluated by a foot doctor.
Balance Issues – peripheral neuropathy or nerve disease can cause loss of feeling, weakness and lack of coordination. Neuropathy is caused by many diseases and conditions including diabetes and the risk of diabetes increases with age.
Toenail Changes – toenails thicken with age and become brittle and difficult to trim properly.
Tackle Aging Feet Issues Head-On
It is possible to slow the effects of aging on your feet and the first thing to do is to call Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM, board certified podiatrist, for a complete foot examination. We will assess your foot and ankle health from structure to skin to toenails. We’ll discuss the results with you and recommend treatments or lifestyle changes that can relieve any foot problems.
Foot care is especially important for patients with diabetes. If you have neuropathy you may not even feel any skin problem or foot injury which can lead to infection and ulcers.
How you can care for your aging feet:
- Exercise including aerobic movement that improves circulation. Don’t sit for long periods and elevate the feet while resting.
- Keep feet clean and dry. Wash regularly, dry carefully especially between the toes and apply moisturizer. Always trim nails straight across rather than rounded.
- When purchasing shoes, have your feet measured each time and look for sturdy shoes with extra padding and a wide toe box.
Call Dr. Alexopoulos at 773-561-8100 for an appointment in our Chicago office or contact us via our website. Your feet have many more miles to take you and we’ll work to keep them in tip top shape!