The article began with the facts that about 24% of people over 45 suffer from foot pain; by age 70, that number is closer to 50%. That’s half the adult population living with foot pain! Yikes!
According to the authors, here are some of the reasons:
* As we age blood flow to the feet diminishes, which can worsen any foot issue. As an example, they cited less blood flow to a tendon as contributing to tendonitis.
* Slower nail growth along with a weaker immune system can lead to stubborn nail fungus, athlete’s foot and/or cracked skin. By the time we hit our late 60s and 70s, the skin thins out and the fat pads on the bottom of the feet also thin.
* If you are dealing with mobility issues, such as being able to reach your feet, it makes more difficult to keep up proper foot hygiene, which can exacerbate other problems.
* By the time we reach 70 years of age, our feet need twice as much stimulation for the brain to sense it. REFLEXOLOGY ANYONE?
Some advice from the AARP authors:
* Check your shoe size. Up to 72% of people wear shoes that don’t fit, linked with the development of corns, bunions, contracted toes and pain.
The reason for this is that people often erroneously think that their shoe size is determined and fixed once they have reached adulthood. Wrong! As we age, gravity causes our arches to drop, lengthening the foot. Check every time you head out to make your next shoe purchase.
* Before getting out of bed in the morning, raise one (or both) of your legs in the air and make 20 ankle circles in one direction and then the other. Repeat with the other leg. Make your circles as big as you can, and do slowly. I do this every morning before getting up.
* Go barefoot as often as you can – especially on the earth’s surfaces. Stuffing your feet in shoes all day deprives them of the sensory stimulation they need to help your body move. Barefoot exercises such as Pilates and yoga count.
* Roll the bottom of your feet over a tennis or golf ball every evening. Sit around wearing toe separators while watching television.
Simple things that can make a BIG difference!