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Poor foot care can threaten a senior's balance and mobility. Don’t
From the day we learn how to walk, our feet form an integral part of everyday lives. They take a lot of daily abuse from walking, running, jumping, and playing sports, so it’s no surprise that foot problems become much more common as we age. In fact, it is estimated that by the age of 50 we are likely to have walked 75,000 miles! To put this number into perspective, the distance between Miami and Los Angeles is roughly 2,700 miles, so you are likely to have walked 26 times that distance by 50.
As if walking across the contiguous United States a couple of dozen times weren’t enough, there are other significant factors that can affect our foot health as we age. Luckily, foot problems can be avoided or treated with proper care and guidance.
Here are five of the most common foot problems among seniors and how they can be treated.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to avoid joint damage in your feet or anywhere else in your body. Joint damage occurs as a result of natural wear and tear which progressively worsens with time. While there are joint supplements available on the market, they are only meant to slow down this wear and tear rather than repair it. Once joints begin to age, the damage is often irreversible. However, this doesn’t mean you have to suffer from joint pain indefinitely. Physical therapy and alternative treatments like hemp oil can help reduce the pain so you can make the most of your day.
Commonly known as Athlete’s Foot, fungal infections can be highly discomforting and irritating. Most fungal infections are contracted in public places like locker rooms, pools, saunas, and jacuzzis. Constantly wearing shoes without letting your feet ‘breathe’ can also lead to fungal infections, as fungus tends to thrive in warm, damp areas.
Fungal infections can usually be prevented by taking proactive measures such as keeping your feet clean and dry, and avoiding walking barefoot in public places. Fungal infections can also be treated and eliminated with over the counter products.
Bunions are often referred to as “hallux valgus” by doctors. They are abnormalities of the feet usually in the form of a visible bump on the big toe or the side of the foot. Bunions are not only undesirable for their appearance, but they can also be extremely painful often leading to difficulties walking.
Bunions can be prevented by wearing wider shoes more often instead of heels and narrow footwear commonly used by women. Treatments include ice packs to reduce inflammation and medication. For more severe cases, surgery might be needed.
One of the most common foot problems among people of all ages is ingrown toenails, which occurs when toenails grow into the nail groove. Ingrown toenails are usually caused by lack of proper care such as failing to routinely trim your toenails. Ingrown toenails can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. In many cases, they can also lead to serious swelling and even infections.
The easiest way to prevent ingrown toenails is by trimming them regularly. Cut your toenails preferable after a bath or shower, and avoid trimming the nails in a rounded pattern. You may also want to ditch shoes with a pointy tip.
This condition is considered to be the number one cause of heel pain among seniors. The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis are inflamed soles and pain on the bottom of the heel. Plantar fasciitis is generally more common among people who are overweight and those who have a very high arch.
Plantar fasciitis can be treated at home with ice therapy and over the counter medications. Prescription medication can also be recommended for more severe cases, as well as physical therapy.