Aging takes its toll on your feet and ankles, just as it does with the rest of your body. Natural changes in foot structure and function happen as we age, which makes it especially important to pay closer attention to your foot health as you grow older. However, we usually don't think of our feet until something goes wrong. As you grow older, those years of walking, running and standing on your feet will start to catch up with you, so it comes as no surprise that your feet will begin to show signs of wear and tear.
While everyone’s aging experience is different, some of the changes you may notice in your own or an aging loved one’s feet include:
• Changes in Shoe Size
You may find that you’ve purchased the same shoe size that you’ve always worn, only to find that you’re now suffering from pain and irritation, redness and rubbing. The size or shape of our feet often changes as we age, due to the gradual loosening of the ligaments and tendons that help provide structure to the foot. As these tissues lose their elasticity, the arch of the foot may flatten out and increase the length of the foot. Some people may notice their shoe size increase by a half-size or more as a result. This aging of the tendons and ligaments of the foot may also increase the risk of soft tissue foot injuries like tendinitis, sprains, and tears.
• Swelling and Circulation Issues
Swelling of the feet and ankles is one of the more common foot problems associated with aging. Swollen feet and ankles can have many causes, including injury or problems with circulation. Other age-related factors that may prompt swelling in the lower extremities include: cardiovascular disease, certain medications, and hormonal changes. Swelling occurs in different places; some will find more swelling around the toes, while others are dealing with swelling around the ankles.
• Arthritis and Joint problems
Arthritis, or pain and inflammation of the joints, is common in elderly people. When it comes to the foot, the joints in the toes and ankles are most likely to develop arthritis. As the arthritis in toe joints progress, symptoms for related issues like bunions and hammertoes may get worse. Older adults often tend to develop gout – a type of arthritis that often results in severe pain in the big toe joint.
• Skin Issues
Age-related moisture loss often leads to dry skin, especially on the bottoms of the feet. For this reason, older people may be more likely to develop foot calluses. If ignored, the dryness can eventually lead to cracking, redness and rashes on the soles of the feet. The decreased fatty layer beneath the skin also means reduced cushioning on the sole of the foot, which contributes to cracked heels and calluses due to extra stress on the skin. In addition, the decreased fat pad on the sole of the foot may contribute to an increased sensitivity to pain due to that loss of cushioning.
How We Can Help
At ICS, we understand the changes that you or your aging loved one are seeing in your feet. Our therapeutic shoe choices will help to ensure that your feet carry you into your golden years and beyond. Our comfort shoes feature double depth and removable insoles, customizing the footbed to the amount of swelling or shape of your feet. Velcro or bungee lace systems will help you adjust your shoes throughout the day, preventing them from becoming too tight or constricting.
Give us a call, and we’ll match your lifestyle and your foot conditions with the best shoes for you. It can be difficult to fit the new sizes and shapes of your aging feet, but we know how to help. Let’s find your shoe solution- together!