I wish that I was one of those people with beautiful feet. I love the look of feet in sandals and high heel shoes. They are stylish and fun.
My feet are not stylish or fun. They are crooked and bony. I inherited my feet from my mother’s side of the family, who have a long history of foot problems. My feet are painful and I am just in my 50’s. There are days that I can barely walk after delivering a presentation. I don’t wear high heels and instead I settle for ‘old-woman’s shoes’. I wear my orthotics. However, I must admit that I am barefoot more often than not when I am at home and always when I am on the dojo floor.
Feet are not something that I take for granted like many people my age and younger.
However, as we age, our feet become more important to our mobility and overall health and happiness. Click to tweet
Did you know…
- that the first reflex to disappear as we age is the Achilles tendon
- that the human foot and ankle is a strong, mechanical structure that contains 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments
- that when you walk, the forces borne by your feet are about one and one half times your body weight. When you’re running, it can be three to four times your weight. When you jump, forces can exceed eight times your body weight.
- that 75% of us will experience foot health problems of varying degrees of severity at one time or another in our lives
- that many people have the erroneous notion that their feet are supposed to hurt, so they don’t seek medical treatment
- that the US Department of Veterans Affairs identified that painful feet are the fourth common cause of discomfort in the elderly
Healthy Feet Keep You Active
Given the projected growth of the elderly through the next 25 years and the growing concern to remain independent for as long as possible, Foot Health Month is all about increasing the awareness of foot health among the general public and other health professionals, and of the podiatrist as the practitioner of first choice for foot and ankle care.
The ability to walk and remain ambulatory is an important goal of independent living and dignity for our elderly. The measurable outcomes of immobility include body system changes such as
- impaired and sluggish blood flow,
- cardiovascular stress,
- chronic constipation,
- muscle weakness,
- weakened bone structure,
- pressure ulcers,
- increased agitation,
- decreased appetite,
- increased insomnia,
- and increased urinary infections
The quality of life changes include:
- reduced social contact,
- withdrawal from surroundings,
- loss of participation in activities,
- loss of independent or assisted mobility,
- decreased desire to eat,
- loss of independent or assisted toileting,
- loss of independent or assisted bathing and/or dressing,
- increased problems with sleep patterns,
- loss of interest in others,
- and a loss of desire to live, to discover life and/or to love
Illness and Pain
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that 9.6% of males and 18% of females, over the age of 60, are affected by osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is one of the 10 most disabling diseases in developed countries.
It is estimated that 347 million people have Diabetes Mellitus worldwide. This epidemic can be attributed to the rapid increases in obesity/overweight and physical inactivity. The WHO projects Diabetes Mellitus to be the 7th cause of death in the world by the year 2030. As our patients live longer with Diabetes Mellitus, the risk of pedal maladies increases. Ulceration and amputation tops the list of these pedal complications.
Bunions are a very common condition and an example of many kinds of issues facing our feet. Bunions mainly affect the female population due to improper footwear. If your big toe looks distorted and protrudes from the side of your foot, you may have a Bunion. A Bunion is a bony protrusion of the big toe joint that can cause friction and pain when wearing shoes. You can find other foot issues at http://www.footsolutions.com/foot-problems.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Celebrating Foot Health Month:
- Inspect your feet daily for any peculiarities or changes, especially if you are a diabetic.
- Wash your feet daily, taking special care to wash between the toes and dry thoroughly. Damp feet in shoes can lead to infections such as fungal toenails and Athlete’s foot.
- Trim toenails straight across, not down into the corners.
- Apply lotion to the tops and bottoms of both feet, but not between the toes.
- Keep blood circulating. A daily exercise routine contributes to a healthy body and mind. Walking is an ideal form of exercise. Putting your feet up when you are sitting or lying down, stretching if you’ve had to sit for a long while, having a gentle foot massage, or taking a warm foot bath.
- Avoid exposing your feet to cold temperatures.
- Wear comfortable shoes that a) fit well to prevent pressures that can lead to friction and infection, b) keep your foot structure properly aligned, and c) can accommodate the socks you usually wear. Check your foot size and shape. Feet change during the years and foot size can increase. Try on shoes in the afternoon when feet are swollen the most. There must be a minimum of 6mm, preferably 10mm, in front of the longest toe.
- Ask your podiatrist if you are a candidate for orthotics. Orthotics will improve foot function, offer arch support, and act as a shock absorber. Your podiatrist can also suggest other options to deal with your foot pain.
And because my feet are not beautiful, they might as well be funny:
Why couldn’t the two feet get along? Because they both thought they were right!
What kind of shoes do lazy people wear? Loafers
What has 12 feet and sticks on ice? A hockey team
What was the foot surgeon’s favorite Olympic event? Arch-ery
Why didn’t the kids like their mother’s foot jokes? They were too corny
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!
National Relaxation Day Infographic