Caring For Your Feet at Sixty-Plus

We have used our feet with abundance, to keep us balanced and mobile. Now that we're getting older, it's time to show them the love they deserve.
Male hands giving foot massage to himself

Aging affects every part of the human body and the feet are not excluded. Their health and well-being become even more essential as we get older, as activities we used to take for granted become labored efforts of exertion.

First, the good news! With daily care and nurturing, plus medical attention when needed, your feet can subdue and lay waste to Father Time’s wrath. By understanding potential foot health challenges now, you’ll be in the power position to take proactive steps. And taking “steps” is what foot health is all about.

Step 1: Be Proactive About Spreading

Spreading isn’t only for butter. Feet spread too as the years pass. A combination of gravity and time causes this to happen in both men and women. This widening may mean you have to go to a different size when choosing footwear.

Would you believe that some people continue to wear old shoes despite the discomfort? Don’t be a victim of habit; avoid wearing shoes that don't fit comfortably anymore. Doing so can lead to long-term foot problems that will be more troublesome and expensive than buying new shoes. Trust us.

Happy Feet Tip: Get a bigger or wider size now. Don’t wait.

Step 2: Prepare for Loss of Fat Padding

Fat pads inside the foot get thinner as people age which can often lead to atrophy. This means serious discomfort when walking or standing for long periods of time.

A change to a more comfortable type of walking shoe may be necessary. There are also many cushioning products to put inside shoes. A little preparation will go a long way to making you feel comfortable when standing and walking.

Happy Feet Tip: Get comfortable shoes…again! Use padding.

Step 3: Counter Thinning Skin

Aging creates thinning of skin all over the body. The skin of your feet is also thinning and may be more susceptible to injuries and infections. After bathing, examine feet carefully. Take daily care of small injuries with antiseptic ointment and band-aids. Stay alert to lingering skin problems that could require medical treatment.

Happy Feet Tip: Check your feet daily after bathing.

Step 4: Strengthen Tendons and Ligaments

An elderly woman with walking poles on the road in the park

As one gets older, the tendons and ligaments that provide smooth movement in the feet may weaken. This can lead to sprains or problems with gait. The solution? Get good shoes that support the feet. Practice regular exercise such as stretching, walking and yoga to help keep strength and flexibility.

Happy Feet Tip: Exercise! Walking and yoga are good for the feet. Did we mention something about good shoes?

Step 5: Prevent and Cure Nail Problems

You may also experience thickening of the nails or notice they break more easily. This problem occurs naturally with aging. Trim your toenails regularly. To prevent problems, trim with care: not too short and not too close on the sides. Take care of ingrown nails early to prevent worsening of the problem.

If you prefer, consider getting a pedicure as part of your healthy foot regime. You could meet a friend and make it a social event as well.

Happy Feet Tip: Take care of your nails.

Step 6: Know What Affects Foot Health

Medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, arthritis and circulation problems can affect the health of your feet. If you have a health problem, make sure you manage it appropriately. Talk to your doctor about any foot problems that might be related to your general health.

Happy Feet Tip: Ask if any medical conditions you have could be affecting your feet.

Happy Feet, Happy Life

Specialists in podiatry recommend a number of measures to help keep your feet healthy as you age. Check out this short list. If you notice there’s something you aren’t doing, or could do better to support your foot health—take action.

Stay Active: Stay physically active to keep muscles, tendons and ligaments strong and flexible.

Get Good Shoes: Pay careful attention to your footwear, choosing shoes that provide good support and fit the feet well.

Add Support: Use additional cushioning if you find your feet tire easily or have sensitive spots.

Be Proactive: If you have diabetes, manage your blood sugar levels and follow your physician's instructions on proper foot care.

See A Specialist: See a podiatrist immediately if you have foot or nail problems, so you can prevent more serious problems from developing

Assistance Club Summary

People depend on their feet for daily tasks and to enjoy activities in the wider world. If you take steps to ensure good foot health now, you will be able to participate fully in life, regardless of how many candles you count on your birthday cake. Happy steppin’!