Do you regularly maintain your car? Wash it? Change the oil? Replace the brake pads and tires? Fix the body when it gets dinged up? If you want your car to continue looking good and working efficiently, you need to care and maintain it frequently. Otherwise, your car is going to look old and beat up – and eventually stop running. When you think about it, aging feet are a lot like cars. They need regular care and maintenance, too. Otherwise, your feet may experience painful foot conditions that can slow you down and keep you from being as mobile as you would like to be.
In a lifetime, we put a great deal of stress on our feet. The average, moderately active, person takes about 7,500 steps a day. If that average is maintained until a person reaches 80 years old, they would have walked about 216,262,500 steps or around 110,000 miles in their lifetime. That’s the equivalent of walking almost 5 times around the Earth along the equator. Furthermore, during an average day of walking, the forces on a person’s feet can add up to hundreds of tons or about the same as a fully loaded cement truck. Therefore, when you multiple these forces over a lifetime, our aging feet really do take a beating.
Additionally, our feet experience several changes as we age:
- They spread out, which may require a bigger shoe size.
- Aging feet lose the fatty padding on the bottoms of the feet.
- The skin on the feet thins and loses elasticity, which results in more frequent injury and infection.
- Tendons tighten and are harder to stretch.
- Ligaments can lengthen, causing the foot to flatten.
- Arthritis in the joints may occur.
- Circulation to the feet slows down.
- Women’s toes may curl up, especially after repeated high heel use.
- The nails become thicker and more brittle.
Consequently, these foot changes can lead to common foot problems, like plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes, pinched nerves on the balls of the feet known as Morton’s Neuroma, corns and calluses, and stress fractures. When these changes are coupled with other medical conditions like diabetes, you can develop other problems like neuropathy or a decreased sensation in the feet.
Foot Care Tips for Aging Feet
Unfortunately, just like a car, the more miles you put on your feet, the more things can go wrong or wear out. Therefore, like maintenance on your car, you must take care of your aging feet as well. Here are 10 foot care tips you should perform regularly:
- Don’t ignore foot pain. Like a weird noise in your car’s engine, you shouldn’t overlook foot pain, because foot pain is not normal. If you experience persistent foot or ankle pain, see your doctor.
- Check your feet regularly. Just like you inspect your car and tires regularly, look at your aging feet frequently, too. If you have difficulty doing this, use a mirror or ask a friend or family member to do it for you. Look for changes in skin color and temperature, cracks or cuts in the skin, and thick or discolored nails which can signal fungus. If the soles of your feet are peeling or scaling, you may have athlete’s foot. Additionally, talk to your doctor if you develop any growths on your feet. Growths are not normal.
- Wash your feet daily. While you may not wash your car as often, you should clean your feet with warm, soapy water every day, especially between the toes. Make sure you thoroughly dry your feet, too.
- Remove dead skin and moisturize dry feet. To remove calluses, gently rub the skin with a pumice stone or foot file. Don’t overdo it though. Just like you add oil and lubricants to keep your car running smoothly, keep your skin soft and smooth with lotion. Apply a moisturizing cream all over your feet, except between your toes. For especially dry feet, apply lotion to your feet, wrap them in plastic wrap, and put on cotton socks while you sleep.
- Keep your toenails trimmed. Like all the little things on a car you need to keep in tune, you should trim your toenails once a week or as needed. Carefully cut them straight across and not too short. Don’t cut your nails in the corners or on the sides. This can lead to ingrown toenails. It’s easier to trim your nails after you’ve washed your feet while the nails are softened. File the edges with an emery board or nail file. Additionally, if you have diabetes, poor circulation, or heart problems, you shouldn’t care for your feet yourself. Have your doctor trim your toenails for you to reduce your risk of infection.
- Make sure your shoes fit properly. You wouldn’t drive around on tires that are too big or too small for your car. So why would you wear shoes that are too big or too small? To help you fit your shoes correctly, follow the tips in the Shoe Fitting Guide provided by the WalkEZStore. Also, try on shoes in the afternoon or evening when your feet tend to be at their largest. Plus, look at the soles and heels of your current shoes regularly. Replace your shoes as soon as possible when the soles begin wearing down.
- Wear the right shoe for the specific sport or activity you’re participating in. Specialty shoes are made to provide your feet with the proper support and protection needed for the specific activity.
- Alternate your shoes. Don’t wear the same pair every day. Allow your shoes to air out and dry.
- Avoid walking barefooted, especially outside. Your feet are more prone to injury and infections when you don’t wear shoes. Wear flip-flops or sandals in public areas like swimming pools, hotel bathrooms, or gym showers to avoid catching Athlete’s foot and other bugs.
- Wear custom orthotics if you suffer from painful foot conditions. Custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics, can help reduce your foot pain. ezWalker® custom orthotics are bio-mechanically designed to evenly redistribute your weight across your feet. Even weight distribution helps to reduce pressure which can lead to foot pain.
ezWalker® Custom Orthotics Are the Right Tool for Greater Foot Mobility
Just like your car needs the right tools to keep it going, ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics are the best tool for your aging feet when it comes to greater stability and balance. To learn more about ezWalker® Custom Orthotics, visit the WalkEZStore.com.
You can order ezWalker® Custom Orthotics online from the convenience of your home, or you can schedule an appointment with our certified pedorthist Kathy Carandang. Our custom orthotics come with a 90-day, money-back guarantee, so you’ve got nothing to lose but your pain.
With proper care and maintenance, you can make sure your aging feet perform well throughout your lifetime.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover Photo: 123RF / nebari