While you might not think about it, your feet certainly do a lot for you day in and day out: They help lug your tired body up those flights of stairs to get to your apartment after a long day of work. They pound the pavement (or the treadmill) for those regular stress-relieving sweat sessions. They suffer through endless hours of dancing in high heels for a night on the town with your friends. When you think about your feet in this light, they are pretty amazing.
However, just like everything else, our feet also change over time. What your feet needed when you were an athletic teenager will be different than the thirty-something professional wearing dress shoes or an older adult who is enjoying some post-retirement travel. It’s important that our feet get the unique care they need as you get older. After all, you may be at an increased risk for developing these common foot problems:
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenails
- Fungal infections
- Plantar fasciitis (one of the most common causes of heel pain)
Your feet will change as you get older. They may get larger and even require a completely different shoe size. You’ll lose density in the fatty pads of the feet. Skin also loses its elasticity and becomes thinner, so it may be more prone to infection or injuries.
Of course, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, arthritis, nerve damage or obesity, these chronic health problems can also increase your chances of developing foot-related complications. If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these health problems it’s important that you have a podiatrist you can turn to at the first sign of an issue. It’s important that you inspect your feet every day to look for any changes or symptoms such as redness, swelling, cuts or open wounds that may require immediate care.
You’ll also want to take into account the importance of wearing the right footwear. While this is something everyone should do, as you get older your feet lose a lot of their natural cushioning and, as a result, require additional support from their shoes. It’s important that the shoes you wear provide you with the ample support and cushioning you need.
Toenail fungal infections are also more common as you get older. While this infection may not seem like a big deal, leaving this infection untreated could cause it to spread to other areas of the foot. Plus, it leaves toenails brittle, yellow and unsightly. If you are having trouble treating a toenail fungus on your own, or if you deal with persistent fungal infections, this is also a time to turn to a foot doctor for care.