Time takes its toll on our feet—our skin can lose moisture; our nails often become more brittle; the fatty padding in the balls of our feet can thin; and arthritis is more likely to settle in. Here are some common problems and potential solutions:
- Dry and Cracked Heels
More than 70% of women have dry, hard skin and cracked heels, which become even drier thanks to a decrease in collagen, a lifetime of putting pressure on our feet, and shoes that don’t fit properly. Use moisturizers especially for your feet to reduce dry and hard skin. Experts recommend that your foot cream include the ingredient urea for maximum effectiveness. Also: stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Foot Pain
The loss of collagen (fatty padding) in the balls of our feet increases the force of each step we take. With more than 30 joints that can deteriorate with age, arthritis is a greater risk. It’s important to wear supportive shoes with proper padding—and foot supports, or orthotics, can be very helpful. It’s also good to do foot exercises to keep them strong and flexible over time.
- Brittle Toenails
Nails become drier as we age, which can lead to nails that peel, split, crack or develop ridges and become less flexibility. These can be due to diet, changes in hormone levels or even medical conditions. Eating a balanced diet might help, and it’s also important to moisturize the nails using almond or tea tree oil.
- Discolored Nails
Discolored toenails can possibly be a symptom of a fungal nail infection, which impact 1 in 10 people. Elder people can be at higher risk because of weakened immune system and symptoms of menopause. Fungal nail infections aren’t caused by menopause, but some women experience sweating of the feet, which creates a moist environment in which fungus can thrive. Brittle nails can increase the risk of fungal nail infection.
- Curling Toes
Wearing the wrong shoes, especially high heels, can cause your smaller toes to bend permanently. They might start out mildly uncomfortable and become more painful over time. You might also get corns and calluses from crooked toes rubbing against your shoes. Cover your corns and callues with padding, and swap your pointy-toed pumps for shoes with wider, more comfortable toe boxes. You can indulge in high heels occasionally if you wear comfortable, supportive shoes most of the time.
- Circulation Issues
Common age-related conditions such as diabetes, vein disease, and others can slow flow of blood to our feet, making cuts and blisters slower to heal. Those same conditions increase the risk of nerve damage, which could lead to an ulcer that won’t heal or a bad infection. If you have any of these conditions, add a podiatrist to your health care team, check your feet regularly for cuts and scrapes and have them treated immediately. Use a mirror to check the bottoms of your feet if necessary.
- Tighter Tendons
Aging decreases the water content in our tendons, making them stiffer and increasing the risk of tears and ruptures. Staying active can help. And if you’ve had a past injury to your Achilles tendon, try adding strengthening exercises such as calf raises. And ankle circles can help keep this part of your body flexible.
Good news! Your Foot Solutions store is a great place to have your feet checked at least once a year for balance, gait, posture, any health conditions and pain issues, and properly-fitted shoes. We can help you defy the risks of aging feet to look and feel your very best.