It’s a fact that your body changes as you age. Your hair, your skin’s elasticity, your weight — pretty much everything requires more attention. This is also true for your feet, and foot care for women over 40 is much more important than you may think.
According to an article from UChicago Medicine, women’s feet change during middle age because the tissues become looser, leading to a “sagging” arch and a wider foot. Getting older will also reduce your foot’s natural cushioning ability as the sole’s fat pads get thinner.
Women over 40 must also pay attention to their foot health because menopause can cause additional issues, like foot odour due to excessive perspiration and swollen feet due to high blood pressure.
Foot Care For Women Over 40
Foot checks with your chiropodist, preventative care to address common foot problems, and investing in medical products and supportive footwear are some of the best practices. But here are some simple, specific ways to execute foot care:
- Additional foot care ideas
Regular stretching and exercising can help treat and prevent several common foot problems women over 40 may struggle with, like arthritis, bunions, hammertoes and diabetes. These exercises are easy to perform and suitable for anybody with mobility issues. Gentle exercises can do the following:
- Loosen up the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the feet.
- Strengthen your feet so you can withstand everyday activities as you get older. This is especially important for the foot’s tiny intrinsic muscles (which stabilize the foot and support the arches).
- Increase your range of motion, balance and flexibility.
Check out these resources for the best exercises and stretches for women over 40:
- Feet First Clinic Stretches Pinterest Board
- A Beginner’s Guide to Exercises for Relieving Arthritis: Part 1
- A Beginner’s Guide to Exercises for Relieving Arthritis: Part 2
- The Perfect Stretching Routine
- 5 Foot Pain Stretches for Women Over 65
Footwear and Orthotics
Women in their 40s should ditch unsupportive shoes. While it may be okay to wear certain types of high heels on rare occasions (there are comfortable options!), wearing them too often can worsen pre-existing arthritis (or increase your chances of developing it) by wearing down your joints. High heels, while tempting to wear, can also force your toes into a cramped position, leaving you at risk of developing bunions (or making them worse). The unsteady nature of high heels can also pose an ankle injury risk. Flip-flops and flats with no arch support are big no-nos as well.
Instead, opt for shoes with enough arch support, and try stability shoes if you experience ankle arthritis. Choose shoes with a wide toe box to accommodate age-related foot widening, and consider looking into wide footwear.
Wearing custom orthotics with your everyday footwear also adds an extra layer of protection and comfort. They provide stability and support, correct any abnormal gait patterns you may develop due to foot changes, and protect joints and muscles from wear and tear.
Additional Foot Care Ideas for Women Over 40
- Skincare: Clean and thoroughly dry your feet, and use a moisturizer twice a day. Women over 40 are more likely to experience calluses, cracked heels, and dryer skin. This is because the foot’s fat pad cushioning diminishes with age, placing more pressure on the area and wearing down the skin. Clean, moisturized skin will also combat foot odour.
- Shoe sizing: Women over 40 (especially those who have been pregnant) have flatter arches, which increases your foot’s width. This will leave your old shoes feeling too small and increases your risk of developing bone deformities (bunions, hammertoes). Make sure you don’t buy new shoes until you try them on and know they fit properly. Remember: different brands have different sizing systems, so don’t get attached to the number – fit is what matters most.
- Medical pedicures: These pedicures help your toenails look amazing and focus on skin and callus care, as well as foot odour – so you can sit back, relax and let your foot care specialist do the work for you.