According to studies done by the American Podiatric Medical Association, by the time a person reaches age 50, they’ll have walked the equivalent of 75,000 miles.
Although we usually take them for granted, our feet are among the most vital and sensitive parts of our body, and as we get older, their health is paramount to our continued vitality and mobility, two things we want to keep intact for as long as possible.
That same study says that 75% of Americans will experience foot pain in their lives, and considering each foot has a total of 26 bones and 33 joints making it work, it’s not surprising.
A lot of foot problems come from poor blood circulation in the feet. Poor circulation is a problem for many Americans of all ages, especially those who are obese and/or live a sedentary lifestyle – meaning they sit or recline a lot more than standing up, walking around, and being active.
Poor circulation to your feet means your feet aren’t getting the right amount of red blood – the type that carries oxygen and nutrients. Poor circulation also can lead to the formation of blood clots, which are painful, and if not caught early, can be life-threatening as they break off and become pulmonary embolisms, causing difficulty breathing, strokes, or aneurysms.
If your foot pain is due to poor circulation, the solution might surprise you – walking. Yes, moving around is the sure fire way to get the blood pumping through your veins on a consistent, healthy basis; so even if your feet and legs are balking at the idea, a good walk around the block could be just the cure for you.
The No. 1 cause of foot pain in senior citizens is from wearing improper footwear. This can be as a result of finding comfortable shoes and wearing them out, without ever replacing them, or not wearing shoes while walking inside on hardwood or tile floors, without realizing the damage that can be done over time.
- Other major causes of foot pain later in life include:
- Genetics: if your parents had flat feet or high arches, it means you’re more likely to have the same.
- Obesity: it may be not be fun to talk about, but it just makes common sense. If your feet are being forced to support more weight than is healthy, they are going to take on more pressure and more stress. Like tires on a car, your feet are going to wear down, but there’s no quick trip to Discount Tire to buy replacements.
- Age: As we age, our feet naturally grow wider and the skin gets drier. The pads of our soles thin out as well, which can lead to cracked skin and other problems.
- Other medical issues: Unfortunately, most of our medical problems later in life are interrelated. Infections, diabetes, gout, and vascular issues can affect our ability to walk and affect our foot health. Taking care to stay in front of these problems and in touch with a responsible medical doctor and a podiatrist are the best cures for this.
So how to best combat foot pain and problems? As mentioned before, good shoes go a long way. Here are some qualities to look for in picking the right pair for you.
- Shoes with laces are a lot more adjustable and can conform to the specific shape of your foot better.
- Thin, hard soles, especially those made out of rubber, enhance your foot’s ability to feel and grip surfaces as you walk and negate a lot of risk of falling.
- Make sure there is a half-inch gap between your big toe and the tip of the shoe. Go up half a size in your shoe size to ensure this if necessary.
- If foot pain is a recurring issue for you, talk to a podiatrist about orthotics. Solutions as simple as inserts for your soles or more aggressive like shoes built just for people suffering from one specific type of foot problem are readily available and covered by most insurance carriers.
Of course, shoes are only part of the solution. Vigilance on our own part is the best medicine for foot problems. start by regular inspecting your feet for cracks, peeling, or discoloration. If your feet are always hot or cold, that’s plenty of reason to consult a doctor.
Avoid walking barefoot as much as possible. Find some comfortable house slippers and wear them whenever you are inside. Our forefathers might have gone everywhere barefoot, but our feet have evolved to require shoes.
Also, as mentioned earlier, make exercise a part of your routine as much as you are able. Nothing makes your feet stronger than regular use.
These simple tips can have you off and running as you enter your retirement years.
Visit Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay today to learn more about our independent senior living, assisted living, and memory care programs, or get in touch by contacting us online or calling us at 813.855.2811!