It’s common knowledge that as we age, we’re more likely to experience several health conditions, and foot conditions are no exception. Certain types of foot pain are associated with foot conditions that are more common among older feet. The foot conditions we will be discussing in this article can worsen as we age, or typically present themselves after age 40. Don’t worry, however, we will also discuss your treatment options, as well as lifestyle changes you can make. These changes include things you can do from home that will help manage your foot pain.
Common Types Of Foot Pain Among Older Feet Include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune condition that can have an adverse effect on your feet. It is an inflammatory condition that attacks the surrounding bone of our synovial cells, which eventually harms our joints, tendons and ligaments and can lead to muscle atrophy. While it can occur at any age, rheumatoid arthritis typically affects older feet and presents itself between the ages of 50-75. For women, anywhere between age 55-64 would be the common onset age, with the common onset age for men being between 65-75. The joints in your feet will consistently feel painful, regardless of physical activity.
While there is no known cure that completely eradicates this debilitating condition, pain management is absolutely possible. The focus should be on managing mobility, and ensuring you have the tools to prevent or manage the deformity associated with rheumatoid arthritis. You should see a qualified Chiropodist, as you may need Custom made shoes and Custom made orthotics to accommodate the abnormal width and length of your feet, not to mention they will also make walking less painful. Furthermore, a chiropodist can work with you and curate a plan to help manage:
- Toenail maintenance
Gout is actually a form of arthritis that occurs when there is too much uric acid excretion in the blood. The high levels of uric acid create crystals that congregate around the joints of the feet. It rarely occurs in younger adults and children, and will usually occur in women after menopause, and in men during middle age. Gout can seemingly come out of nowhere and is quite concerning. The pain may wake you up suddenly or startle you during the day. Symptoms of gout include:
- Severe swelling
- Acute, severe pain in the joints in your big toe
- Dull, lingering pain after onset of severe pain
There are ways you can manage gout from home, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can help tackle the pain in the early stages. You should also speak with a chiropodist about the later stages of gout, or when it becomes a chronic condition and a part of your everyday life. They can recommend certain medications aimed at lowering levels of uric acid, pain management and preventing further complications.
Osteoarthritis in the feet is caused by the breaking down of cartilage in the joints. It presents itself as stiff pain, often feeling worse in the mornings or after periods of inactivity. One of the most common types of foot pain, it occurs most often in older feet, and is most prevalent among women over 50. It is also the most common form of arthritis, affecting countless people.
The good news is that it’s manageable! Staying active and sticking to a healthy diet will go a long way. Visits with a chiropodist, who will perform foot pain treatment, will also enhance your mobility and greatly improve the condition.
Hammertoes are a foot condition that affect the second, third or fourth toe, with one or more toes being affected. An abnormality in the middle joint of the toe will cause the toe to bend downward and potentially overlap other toes. The bend in the toe will progressively worsen over time, hence having more of an impact on older people. Hammertoes are more prevalent in women than in men, and the risk increases as we age. Symptoms include corns and calluses that are caused by the friction between ill-fitting footwear and the deformed toe. There is also a good chance that the afflicted toe will be painful. Severity depends on whether the toe is still flexible, or fixed in one position.
A chiropodist will likely recommend an overhaul of your footwear, especially if they become aware that the bent toe is rubbing against your shoes. Shoes with more room for your toes will greatly improve your daily life, as well as orthotics aimed at shifting the hammertoe in a more comfortable position. At-home stretches that Focus on the toes may also be beneficial.
If these lifestyle changes do little to improve your condition, or if the condition worsens, your medical doctor may suggest a minor surgery that either targets the joint, or removes a piece of bone from the toe.
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