If you’re approaching 50 and start to notice changes in your feet, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Our feet change throughout our lives, but as we get into our 50s and 60s, it’s particularly noticeable. For one thing, we lose some of the fat padding on our soles, which can make it painful to walk barefoot. It also makes the bones in our feet more prominent and at risk for injury.
Foot problems can occur at any age, of course, but as you get older, you’re more prone to develop aches and pains.
“A common foot issue seen in women is stress fractures from post-menopausal osteoporosis,” said J. Randolph Clements, D.P.M., chief of Podiatry at Carilion Clinic. “An important way women can protect their feet is by preventing or controlling osteoporosis and making bone health a priority.”
Eating a healthy diet is important, as is staying active, when it comes to preventing osteoporosis. Dr. Clements also recommends taking vitamin D, which helps us absorb calcium. Arthritis is another concern as we age.
“The joints of the foot are no different than those of the knees, hips and hands,” said Dr. Clements. “Your feet undergo degenerative changes after years of walking and daily activities. The cartilage can wear down and arthritis develops. You’d probably notice the most discomfort in the shower or on tile or hardwood floors, where the surface is not cushioned. I recommend people add a mat in the shower and wear thick slippers around the house instead of walking in bare feet for better protection.”
Here are other potential foot problems often associated with age:
- Bunion - a bony bump on the joint of the big toe
- Hammer toe - a deformity that causes a bend in the middle of a toe
- Plantar fasciitis - inflammation of the tissue on the heel of the foot
- A deformity in the foot or ankle due to nerve damage or stroke
- Diabetic foot issues
The type of shoe you wear can sometimes help you correct, or live with, a problem. Or your physician might recommend wearing an orthotic device or surgery.
It’s like they say: Aging isn’t for sissies. But with care and attention, you can stay active for many more years than you may have thought possible.
Learn more about foot care and how to avoid foot pain.