As we age, the human body will show many signs of aging, such as hair turning gray, wrinkles increasing, muscle relaxation, poor sleep quality, etc. In addition, our feet will also appear “old”. Today, we will summarize 17 foot problems that often come to your doorstep as you get older, and give you solutions to them.
fat pad atrophy
Aging often brings with it extra weight and fat, but it’s possible to lose fat pads in the feet. Without the fat pad, there is no cushioning layer to protect the foot from impact, and the elderly will experience pain in the soles and heels of the feet.
Countermeasures Wearing cushioned shoes or custom foam insoles can help. In addition, doctors may recommend other treatments, such as filler injections to replace the fat pad.
This is a very common foot disease, with an incidence rate of up to 1/3 in the elderly. It refers to the bone compressing the nerve between the third and fourth metatarsal heads, causing abnormal foot function. Symptoms of the condition include pain in the front of the foot or a feeling like you are walking on marble or rocks. This condition occurs more commonly in older women and people who wear high heels or shoes that are particularly tight in the toe area.
Countermeasures: Changing to shoes that fit well, using insoles, and getting a massage can help. If the pain becomes severe, doctors may give patients steroid injections or surgery.
Mature skin has less oil and elastin, making it drier and less supple. Without proper care, older adults’ heels can become hard, cracked, or injured. Being overweight can worsen this problem.
Countermeasures Apply a special lotion called a keratolytic agent to help remove hard epidermis. You can also use a pumice stone to remove dead skin, or apply moisturizing lotion to the heel area every day.
Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of pain at the bottom of the heel. The plantar fascia is a long ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot and supports the arch. Repeated stress (such as jogging) or strain can irritate the plantar fascia, causing it to become painful and stiff. This problem is more likely to occur if you have high arches or are overweight.
Rest, ice, over-the-counter pain relievers, and stretching the calf muscles can all help.
Sometimes, one side of the nail (usually on the big toe) grows into the skin. Although it can occur at any age, it is more common in older adults. The patient’s toes are swollen, painful, and infected. Having sweaty feet, being overweight, and having diabetes can all increase the likelihood of ingrown toenails.
To prevent ingrown toenails, avoid cutting your toenails too short or wearing tight shoes. In severe cases, doctors have to remove the patient’s nail roots.
By the time you are 50, you may have traveled 120,000 kilometers or more. All wear and tear and previous injuries can lead to osteoarthritis. This occurs when cartilage, a flexible tissue that prevents friction, breaks down, causing bones to rub against each other. Most patients are over 65 years old.
Countermeasures such as losing weight and using walking aids can help reduce the burden on joints, and drug treatment can also be used.
Many babies are born with flat feet, but more than 80% resolve on their own as they age. Some adults develop flat feet due to injury or obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The patient has damage to the tendons that support the arch of the foot, flattening the foot and causing pain.
Countermeasures: Orthopedics, physical therapy, and surgery can all help.
The Achilles tendon is the tendon that people use to flex their feet when they climb stairs or stand on tiptoes. Aging and reduced blood supply can weaken the Achilles tendon. The patient may experience pain in the back of the heel or ankle.
Countermeasures Rest, ice, and medication can help reduce swelling. Don’t ignore this problem; severe tears may require surgery.
diabetic foot ulcer
Diabetes can cause damage to nerves, and patients can’t feel small cuts and have tingling and numbness in their feet. Foot ulcers start as a small problem like a blister and then become larger and infected. It is the leading cause of amputation in people with diabetes.
Countermeasures Patients should control their blood sugar levels and check their feet frequently.
gout in toes
Gout, a form of arthritis that causes pain, is most common in middle-aged men. This occurs when a waste product called uric acid collects as crystals on the big toe. It causes swelling, pain, and stiffness in the feet. Doctors will prescribe medications to relieve swelling.
Countermeasures: Exercise more, eat less red meat and shellfish, avoid alcoholic beverages, eat less sweets, and drink plenty of fluids to help prevent future flare-ups.
Bunions are inflammation of the joint capsule of the first metatarsophalangeal joint in the foot, which is characterized by pain, redness, and swelling. Bunions begin to grow slowly when the big toe tilts inward. Wearing tight shoes like high heels can make the condition worse, which is why bunions are more common in women and can also run in families.
Countermeasures: Ice, using special insoles, and wearing loose-fitting shoes can help. Doctors may recommend surgery for patients with severe conditions.
Fluid-filled sacs called bursae cushion joints, bones and tendons. Repeated movements or friction from shoes can cause the bursa to swell. The patient will experience redness, swelling, and pain in the toes or heels.
Countermeasures Ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen) can help. Severe cases may require corticosteroid injections or even surgery.
It refers to an abnormal curvature of the joint in the middle of the toe. Although this condition often occurs in the second toe next to the big toe, it can affect other toes as well. Patients will notice an unusual shape, pain when moving it, and corns and calluses caused by toes rubbing against shoes.
Countermeasures Doctors recommend special shoes, pain medication, and sometimes surgery.
This deformity is similar to hammertoe. However, claw toe affects not only the middle joint, but also the joint closest to the tip of the toe. It is also called supine toe deformity. Under normal circumstances, the second toe occurs more often than other toes. The incidence rate in women is higher than that in men. This may be related to their shoe wearing habits and the common occurrence of hallux valgus. Claw toes can become harder with age.
Countermeasures If the person can move them, try to pick up a small stone or piece of paper with their toes.
This degenerative condition can easily be mistaken for a bunion. Bone spurs grow on the edges of the foot bones, usually on the heel or big toe. If they grow large enough, they can pinch nearby nerves and tissue, causing pain. Osteoarthritis or a strained tendon (ligament) can cause bone spurs to grow, which is more common as we age, especially after age 60.
Countermeasures In elderly patients, occlusive injections can quickly reduce inflammation and pain. At the same time, rest more and avoid activities such as standing for long periods of time, strenuous exercise, and climbing.
In women, hormonal changes caused by menopause can reduce bone density, making their bones more susceptible to fractures, including in their feet. As men age, their bones also become fragile. Stress fractures require several weeks of rest to heal.
Countermeasures: Exercise more, eat a calcium-rich diet, and take medications to strengthen your bones.
Weakened skin elasticity and reduced immunity make the elderly more susceptible to fungal infections. Patients will have scaly skin on the soles of their feet and feel itchy. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the toenail.
Treatments include antifungal creams and sometimes antifungal medications. Since fungi are difficult to kill, a sufficient course of medication is required. Be careful not to apply cortisone-containing creams to the rash, as it can weaken the skin’s defense system and worsen the infection.