As we grow into our older years of life every part of our body changes and feet are no exception to this rule. The average person will walk around 100,000 miles in their lifetime, the equivalent of more than 4 times around the circumference of the earth. It’s not surprising then that our feet can become painful over time after such a lifetime of a journey and often with little care or attention along the way.
If you were to take a photograph of your feet in your 20’s, 40’s, 60’s and 80’s they would more than likely look quite different through the decades of walking, running, shopping, working and not to mention the unsuitable footwear that we put them through in our daily routine.
Here are just some of the changes that we can expect to happen to our feet as we age:
- Thicker Toenails- Toenails tend to become thicker and so more yellow and discoloured, this is because of reduced circulation to the toes which are the furthest extremity away from the heart. Repeated trauma from footwear also causes the nails to thicken.
- Fungal Nails- Fungus can thrive in damaged nails and so when nails become thicker they can be more susceptible, those with Diabetes are also more prone to this due to raised Glucose levels.
- Dry skin- The skin on the feet and especially over the shins thins out and becomes dry making it more likely to be easily damaged, and more difficult to heal.
- Heel Pain and Pain on Ball of foot- As we get older the fatty padding under our feet thins and our skin loses its elasticity, this can make walking more painful as our joints are not as cushioned from the ground we are walking on.
- Bunions and Hammer/Clawing toes- Osteoarthritis can affect the joints in the feet making the toes become deformed and difficult to fit into footwear.
- Corns and Calluses- The above mentioned arthritic changes can make footwear become tight and uncomfortable causing friction leading to corns and calluses developing.
- Swollen Feet- Due to cardiac (heart) problems more prevalent in older people and venous insufficiency (the blood not effectively pumping back up the legs because of varicose veins) fluid can pool in the legs and ankles making them feel tired and heavy. If the circulation is reduced the feet can also feel quite cold.
These are just some of the changes that happen to the feet, there are more. Cutting your own toenails can also become almost impossible to do. Many of our patients have told us how it feels like their ‘feet have gone further away’ or that they ‘can get down to them but then can’t see to do them properly.’
The fact is that impaired vision, arthritic joints, hips that have been replaced and nippers that just won't cut through thick toenails, make what used to be a quite simple task almost impossible.
A Podiatrist can help, by having your feet treated around every 6 weeks you do not have the toil of trying to cope yourself with this new problem. The added advantage is that your Podiatrist will not only do the things you now find difficult, but can also offer you other support, footwear advice when your usual shoe no longer fits, a referral onto a vascular consultant if your foot pulses become reduced, Insoles when your feet become painful to walk on.
By investing in your ageing feet you are reducing the chances of a fall, subsequent operations, and increasing your mobility. As Podiatrists we believe that health feet really can be your best companion as you grow older to ensure you the best quality of life.
As part of our exciting plans for 2015 we are thrilled to announce we will expanding our Biomechanics and Gait Analysis over to Tottington in Bury working alongside the Physiotherapists at Bradley Physio.
Biomechanics and Gait Analysis are the study of the body’s functions and movements and its effects on lower limbs. The assessment undertaken at the clinic allows us to identify and treat a number of complex gait issues from injury rehabilitation to improving sporting performance via the use of Orthotics in footwear.
We do this using state of the art equipment including Pressure Plate Analysis, OptoGait Optical Detection and Video Gait Analysis alongside several treadmill walking and running programmes.
Earlier this year the Mayor of Rochdale Carole wardle opened our Biomechanics Lab at our Rochdale clinic, which is the first of it’s kind in Rochdale.
The Biomechanics Assessment is suitable for sports people such as runners, walkers, golfers, and football or rugby players, and also of course anyone who has a pain or problem with their every-day walking, including older people and children.
Our new location at Tottington, Bury can be found at:
Walk Right Podiatry
80 Market Street
To book a Biomechanics Assessment at our Tottington clinic please call (01706) 655110. See you over at Tottington!
This June is Feet for Life month, and the theme for 2015 is ‘walking’, something that ideally we would all like to be able to do pain free.
A recent study by The College of Podiatry has shown that 90% of men and women experience some sort of foot problem and yet only 23% of people have sought professional help, indicating that a large number of the population are in pain and discomfort when walking at some point during their lifetime.
The most common foot problems suffered in the UK include:
- Hard, dry skin on the feet - 60%
- Blisters - 51%
- Rubbing from footwear - 40%
- Aching, sore feet - 38%
- Athletes foot - 26%
- Sore, tight calf muscles - 24%
- Ingrown toenails - 18%
- Corns and Callus - 14%
- Bunions - 10%
Brisk walking can help to reduce body fat, lower blood pressure, and increase high density lipoprotein (the good cholesterol). Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.
Before you start a walking schedule if you have any of the above foot problems don’t suffer, visit a Podiatrist in order to give yourself the best chance of success. Many foot ailments are caused by poorly fitting footwear so check that your trainers or shoes fit correctly and are not rubbing.
If you are wondering where to start The British Heart Foundation has an excellent website which includes a guide for walking training schedules including a beginners, intermediate and advanced training schedule to help you on your way.
If you have any favourite walks around the Rochdale and Manchester areas let us know in the comments below.
It’s hardly the most comfortable of topics discuss, but for those performing the surgery it’s reassuringly routine and something they do every day with few surprises. We took some time out our of own clinic to visit Mr Stuttard, a Podiatric Surgeon at The Highfield Hospital in Rochdale just around the corner from us, to study a routine Bunionectomy and provide you with some insight on a typical procedure.Read More