9 Common Age-Related Foot Problems
We often put our feet into tight, poorly fitting shoes, or precarious heels. Because of these stresses and strains, your risk of a variety of foot conditions can increase. You may not develop feet issues while you are young, but as you get older the risk increases. Foot pain affects about a half adult over 45. With age, your muscles and tendons lose elasticity, which can also contribute to foot pain.
When you get older, it is important to make your foot health a priority. A healthy foot is a key to a better quality of your life. Keep reading to learn more about common age-related foot issues.
1. Morton’s neuroma
Morton’s neuroma is one of the most common age-related foot conditions. About 30 percent of seniors develop this condition. It can cause pain or unpleasant tingling sensation in the foot when walking. Morton’s neuroma affects women twice as often because they are more likely to wear high heels or tight shoes.
To relieve discomfort caused by Morton’s neuroma you need to change footwear, shoe pads, and get massage therapy. If the condition is severe, your doctor may suggest steroid injections or surgery.
2. Ingrown toenail
An ingrown toenail is an issue when the side of your nail grows into the skin. This condition can affect you at any age, but older people are more prone to an ingrown toenail. This issue can cause swelling, pain, and increase your risk of infection. Things like diabetes, excess weight, and sweaty feet can make you more susceptible to an ingrown toenail.
If you want to prevent an ingrown toenail, avoid wearing tight shoes or cutting your toenails too short. In severe cases, the doctor may suggest removing the nail root.
3. Cracked heels
As you age, your skin loses collagen and becomes less elastic. This makes the skin on your heels hard and more likely to crack. This can cause pain when you walk and aesthetic discomfort. Being overweight can aggravate the problem.
To treat cracked heels you can use creams called keratolytics. These creams help remove dead skin cells. It is also important to moisturize heel skin properly to relieve heel cracks. You need to apply moisturizing lotion every day.
4. Flat foot
Many people around the world have congenital flat feet. Flat foot is a condition in which tendons that support your arch get damaged and flatten your feet. Adults can develop this condition because of injury or health conditions like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Flat feet can hurt and cause discomfort.
To prevent flat feet you need to avoid activities that put excessive stress on your feet and wear comfortable shoes. If you already developed flat feet, orthotics, physical therapy, braces, and surgery can help cure this condition.
5. Fat pad atrophy
Fat pad atrophy is a condition in which the protective fat that cushions around the bones of the foot thinning. This can cause pain in your foot.
To prevent this issue you need to wear shoes with cushions or custom-made foam shoes. If pain is severe you need to visit a podiatrist. The doctor can suggest other treatments like filler injections to replace the fat pad.
All that wear and tear that your feet experience until your 50th birthday can lead to osteoarthritis. The history of foot traumas also makes you prone to this condition. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in your foot breaks down. This causes the bones to rub against each other.
To prevent foot osteoarthritis you need to maintain a healthy weight. Every pound you gain, adds four pounds of stress on your joints and cartilages.
7. Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a disorder of a long ligament that runs along the sole of your foot and supports your arch. This condition causes pain and stiffness on the bottom of your heels. The main cause of plantar fasciitis is the repetitive everyday stress of plantar fascia. High arch and excess weight makes you more susceptible to plantar fasciitis.
To relieve this condition you need to scratch your feet every day and wear comfortable shoes. Another popular remedy for plantar fasciitis is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) therapy.
Gout is a type of arthritis in which uric acid collects as crystals, often in the big toe. This condition usually affects middle-aged men. It causes swelling, stiffness, and severe pain. The medications can relieve swelling, but they give a short-term result.
To treat gout symptoms you need to consume less red meat, shellfish, alcoholic beverages, and sugary foods. Proper hydration is key in preventing future episodes of gout.
Hammertoe is a condition in which the middle joints of your toe become abnormally bent. This condition usually affects the second, fourth, and fifth toe on the foot. If you have a hammertoe you can notice that your toe has an unusual shape. It can be painful when you move your toe.
To treat this condition doctors usually prescribe wearing special footwear and pain medications. If a hammertoe decreases the quality of your life, the doctor may suggest surgery.
If you suspect you have one of these foot issues or you have pain or an injury to your foot, consult a foot care specialist. Even if you don't have a problem with your feet, have a thorough foot exam every time you have a physical examination to prevent chronic conditions. Stay on top of your feet health!