Foot Problems in your Elder Years, and the Types of Shoes to Avoid
As you grow older, you may start needing slightly different things from your walking shoes. An earlier habit of wearing boots or heels may not be the thing for you anymore, at least not when it comes to walking. The shoes you used to wear for ages may not perform as well like they used to in terms of comfort and support. This is because of the following changes that happen in people’s feet as they move into advanced age.
- Lengthening and Widening of the Foot: This is a normal thing. The foot also becomes flatter than it used to be, due to loosening up of the tendons and ligaments that lose their former elasticity and strength. These can be injured more easily with each passing year, and you start noticing that your shoe size has gone up by at least half a size.
- The Foot Swelling: Your foot or ankle may swell because of issues with circulation, or as a result of a health condition or medication intake. This would call for getting larger shoes to wear, especially for the days when the swelling really acts up. Compression socks, or even an arch support insert, should only be used after making sure it is not too tight for comfort.
- Thinning Natural Cushioning: Your foot has a natural fat pad that cushions it during every step and stand. If that has been replaced by discomfort for the most part, then you know that your natural padding has disappeared. In such cases, cushioned back pain insoles can be a great help.
- Skin Changes: Your skin generally gets dryer as you age, and the loss of regular moisture can lead to calluses forming. A lot of elders have to deal with cracked skin on a daily basis. Frequent and generous moisturization can mitigate the problems this causes. Just make sure you use something that works in your favor, and to that end, consult a skin specialist.
- Gait Changes: Many medical conditions can affect your gait, including neuropathy, arthritis, and others. You may become slow in your strides, or even start limping. This affects how you place each foot during a walk, and if that it was done wrongly, discomfort would ensue. Gait changes are almost a given for people over 70.
- A loss in Bone Density: Your bones thin with the advancing of the years, and that includes the bones in the foot as well. You run a greater risk of fracturing the latter, or even having them weaken.
- Inability to Touch the Feet: A lot of people find it hard to reach their feet due to loss of flexibility. This mainly shows when they put on their socks and shoes. Assistive devices, such as a sock aid, may be needed, and you may even have to switch to non-laced shoes.
- Foot Problems Caused by Diabetes: More than one person in five gets diagnosed with diabetes after turning 65. A lot of the time, this causes problems with blood circulation, and loss of sensation in the feet. If you have either problem, it is vital to make sure your shoes are not tight enough to cause blisters, and consequently, infection.
- Issues with your Balance: With age, you lose the ability to balance yourself on two feet the way you once used to. If you have medication that is making you dizzy, this effect is compounded. The best basic remedy for this is wearing a pair of shoes with non-slip soles, along with sufficient support.
Footwear you Should Avoid
For someone in their advanced years, the following types of footwear are best stayed away from.
- The Pointy-Toed Variety: If you have a love for cowboy boots, giving them up can be hard. However, shoes made in such styles are highly constrictive, and can rub so hard on your feet that they end up carrying sores. Take a better route by buying a square or round toed version, which comes with plenty of wiggle room.
- Shoes with Overly Tall Heels: The more elevated your shoe heel, the higher the risk you run of turning your ankle when walking, and of causing even more damage immediately after. Wider heels are just as bad in this respect, as are skinny ones.
- Slick-Soled Shoes: Such shoes can easily cause you to slip and fall, which is why you should closely examine the grip on the sole before buying shoes. Make sure that the grip on the one you get is strong enough to let you walk on a moderately wet floor without slipping.
- Backless Shoes, Sandals, and Flip Flops: These may seem comfortable a lot of the time, but walk down an incline in one of these, and you would quickly begin appreciating full-cover footwear.