We all go through lots of changes as we get older. Our tastes and interests evolve. Maybe we turn out more like our parents than we expected! Aches and pains begin to creep into daily life, though hopefully we’re a little wiser and more mature, too.
Your feet go through lots of changes, too, and not just the growth of the “flexible flatfoot” of the toddler stage to a fully formed adult foot. Understanding and anticipating these changes can help you take better care of your feet as you grow older—and if you take care of your feet, they’ll take care of you, allowing more independence and mobility in your twilight years.
Some age-related foot changes that are considered “normal” (i.e., not pathological) include the following:
- Feet tend to get wider, flatter, and longer with age, due to gravity and years of wear and tear on your joints and soft tissues. You should always measure your feet before buying a new pair of footwear—you may find you’ve gained a size!
- The fatty pads on the bottom of your feet thin out; you may need some extra cushioning in your shoes to compensate.
- Skin gets drier, too, making you more susceptible to rashes, cracked heels, calluses, and other issues. Regular moisturizing becomes increasingly important.
- Toenails become both thicker and more brittle as their growth rate slows. Cutting them may be harder, and they may be more susceptible to fungal infections.
- Joints, particularly the ankle, may become stiffer or lose range of motion. Regular exercise can help you maintain balance, stability, and flexibility.
Unfortunately, many foot conditions are positively correlated with age—peripheral arterial disease, diabetes, neuropathy, fungal toenail infections, bunions, and many more become increasingly likely as you get older. However, while they may be “common,” this does not mean they are “normal”! Such problems are usually preventable with attentive foot care and should be treated if encountered.
At Family Foot & Ankle Center, we are dedicated to helping you develop and maintain healthy feet at every age. To set an appointment at one of our six Greater Cincinnati offices, please use our online contact form or call toll free at 888-689-3317.