Put Your Best Foot Forward
Feet are there to support your weight, maintain balance, absorb shocks and keep you moving forward. They are impacted with each step, adding up to a tremendous amount of force on them by the end of each day. For this reason, foot pain is very common, especially in older feet that have been through years of wear and tear.
Over the years, fat is lost and the natural padding under your heel and the ball of your foot is diminished. Arches drop, joints become stiff, tendons tighten, ligaments lengthen and feet grow wider and longer. Common foot problems include infection, arthritis, bunions, calluses and corns, hammertoes, and heel and arch pain. You are more likely to have foot pain if you also have a chronic disorder like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or knee/hip/back pain.
For relief, try a warm foot bath. The heat helps blood flow and can relieve achy feet and reduce inflammation. To avoid infections, keep feet clean, dry and moisturized. Pure coconut oil or shea-butter-based lotions are good options, but take care to avoid greasy products that can lead to slips and falls. A gentle foot massage can get the circulation going. You can also get blood flowing by putting your feet up when sitting or lying down, moving around, and stretching every so often. If you cross your legs when sitting, reverse or uncross them regularly. Exercise your feet by walking, or try specific foot exercises to strengthen them and help with balance.
Shoes that used to be comfortable may not be comfortable anymore. Poorly fitting, narrow or high-heeled shoes are big causes of foot problems. Shoes with slippery soles, or without support may cause injury, and increase your chances of falling. Shoes and socks should not fit too tightly; have your feet measured before buying shoes, preferably at the end of the day when feet are at their largest. Don’t go by size, but by how they feel the first time you wear them.
Foot health is important and can help keep you active and independent in later years.