FOOT AND ANKLE RESOURCE.COM
                                             Simple Solutions to Complex Problems.
Your Subtitle text

Our feet as we age...



Foot Problems and Pains as we age:

As people age there is a cumulative amount of wear and tear that occurs to every structure in our body.  Our feet are no different - the joints of the feet...  Click here for more. develop arthritis and muscle imbalances occur.  As the joints become arthritic (cartilage becomes worn out and the bones do not glide on one another as easily and become stiff and painful) we begin to walk differently which puts abnormal stress on other parts and structures of the foot.  Tendons and muscles bear an additional load and thus may become painful.  Another difficult issue that occurs as we age is that there is abnormal distribution of adipose tissue (fat) in the body.  It is obvious that we tend to carry more adipose tissue around the waist and mid-section of the body, but the foot and ankle also experience an abnormal distribution of fatty tissue.  Generally the ankles develop a build-up of fatty tissue around both the medial and lateral malleoli (inside and outsides of the ankles).  Sometimes this tissue forms in a concentrated location and feels like a mass of some sort.  This is generally a benign lipoma (fatty mass or tumor).  Additionally, the forefoot (under the toes) and the heels less commonly can have a loss of fat.  This is called fat pad atrophy.  For additional information on these topics, click here.

 



General Changes to the Foot and Ankle as we age:

If style is the main objective when you select shoes, your feet may suffer, especially as you age. Over time, your feet become wider and longer and the natural padding under your heel and forefoot thins. Years of use also flatten your arches and stiffen your feet and ankles. Aging boomers and senior citizens need to match their shoes to these changes.

If you often wear shoes that are too short or too narrow, you may develop foot deformities such as bunions, calluses or corns, hammertoes or pinched nerves between your toes. Wearing better-fitting shoes reduces your chances of developing deformities or making them worse.


Arthritic Changes:

As people age there is a cumulative amount of wear and tear that occurs to every structure in our body.  Our feet are no different - the joints of the feet develop arthritis and muscle imbalances occur.  As the joints become arthritic (cartilage becomes worn out and the bones do not glide on one another as easily and become stiff and painful) we begin to walk differently which puts abnormal stress on other parts and structures of the foot.  Tendons and muscles bear an additional load and thus may become painful.  Over the counter orthotics may provide significant relief for these types of issues.  Click here to view different types of orthotics that are recommended. 

If your foot is extremely arthritic or is a very abnormal shape, custom molded orthotics may be your best option. 
In these situations, prefabricated orthotics generally do not provide enough relief.  Custom molded orthotics are specific for each individual foot shape and type.  These devices are created in a lab from a mold or a digital scan.  In contrast to prefabricated orthotics which have a limited lifespan, custom orthotics may last 15-20 years depending upon the materials they are constructed out of.  Generally a firm control layer is the foundation for these devices, and this part holds up for many years.  The top-cover(the part that is against your foot) and the associated cushioning will need to be refurbished from time to time.  For long term control and treatment, custom molded orthotics will provide the best relief.  Over time, the foot may change shape and a new orthotic will need to be fabricated.

Additionally, a tight calf muscle is often seen as we get older and stretching exercises are highly recommended.  A tight calf muscle is one of the biggest deforming forces seen in all foot and ankle problems.

Home stretching excercises which target a tight calf muscle complex will often help out a great deal.  These should be performed 3-4 times daily  for maximum relief




Additionally, certain products can help with stretching such as the Prostretch pictured here.  This device is designed to provide a controlled stretch that is reproducible each time.  This specific device is often used by athletes and by physical therapy departments.
To read more about Prostretch, click here.


Changes in fat distribution:
Another difficult issue that occurs as we age is that there is abnormal distribution of adipose tissue (fat) in the body.  It is obvious that we tend to carry more adipose tissue around the waist and mid-section of the body, but the foot and ankle also experience an abnormal distribution of fatty tissue.  Generally the ankles develop a build-up of fatty tissue around both the medial and lateral malleoli (inside and outsides of the ankles).  Sometimes this tissue forms in a concentrated location and feels like a mass of some sort.  This is generally a benign lipoma (fatty mass or tumor).  Additionally, the forefoot (under the toes) and the heels less commonly can have a loss of fat.  This is called fat pad atrophy.
 

Often times gel offloading pads will provide valuable relief.  Jill's Gel's as seen below are reusable for several months.  Fat pad atrophy is a very difficult issue with very few options other than conservative care. 




Foot Health Tips:
  • Properly fitted shoes are essential; an astonishing number of people wear shoes that don't fit right, and cause serious foot problems.

  • A shoe with a firm sole and soft upper is best for daily activities.

  • Shop for shoes in the afternoon; feet tend to swell during the day.

  • Walking is the best exercise for your feet.

  • Pantyhose or stockings should be of the correct size and preferably free of seams.

  • Do not wear constricting garters or tie your stockings in knots.

  • Never cut corns and calluses with a razor, pocket knife, or other such instrument; use over-the-counter foot products only with the advice of a podiatrist.

  • Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm (not hot) water, using a mild soap, preferably one containing moisturizers, or use a moisturizer separately. Test the water temperature with your hand.

  • Trim or file your toenails straight across.

  • Inspect your feet every day or have someone do this for you. If you notice any redness, swelling, cracks in the skin, or sores, consult your podiatrist.

  • Have your feet examined by a DPM at least twice a year.


Website Builder