Aging is a natural and beautiful part of life, but we may see some changes in our bodies. Our feet and ankles are no exception to this as wear and tear in these joints is expected. But with proper foot and ankle care, aging can be an extremely graceful process.
First, let’s discuss the common foot and ankle conditions that come with aging. Arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, is one of the most prevalent issues in the foot and ankle joints as we age. This condition is caused by normal wear and tear to the cartilage surrounding these joints causing pain, stiffness, and immobility. Another common problem that comes with age is balance issues. As our bodies age, the joints and muscles that help stabilize us become weaker. This imbalance can result in falls which can cause even further injury. Finally, foot deformities such as bunions, corns, and hammertoes become more common with age. These deformities are not only unsightly but also can be painful and affect mobility.
While all these conditions do become more prevalent with age, that doesn’t mean they aren’t preventable. Proper foot and ankle care can drastically improve your chances of aging gracefully. Here are some tips to keep your feet and ankles feeling great:
- Choose Proper Footwear: Electing a comfortable and supportive shoe is probably one of the most important steps you can take for your foot and ankle health. Make sure your daily footwear fits properly, supports your arch, and is cushioned to ensure the longevity of your foot health. Avoid high-heeled or flat shoes as these can put a strain on your foot and cause issues down the road.
- Don’t Skip Regular Check-ups: Scheduling yearly appointments with your trusted foot and ankle specialist is a great way to stay on top of any developing foot or ankle conditions. The earlier you can identify a foot or ankle condition, the quicker it can be treated.
- Engage in Targeted Exercises: Targeted therapy exercises are an excellent way to improve your flexibility and strength in your feet and ankles. There are many simple exercises like toe curls, ankle circles, calf raises, and more that are quick and effective.
- Try Balance Training: Improving balance as we age is essential to avoid falls. So don’t be afraid to incorporate balance training into your workout routine. Exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and certain targeted poses can greatly improve your stability.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Because our feet and ankles support our entire body, excess weight can put extra strain on these joints. In order to avoid this, try to maintain a healthy weight through exercise and a healthy diet.
- Consider Ankle Replacement: While the previous tips are extremely helpful when started early on, some of us are just now realizing the importance of our foot and ankle health. If this is the case and you are suffering from severe pain or mobility issues in your foot or ankle, ankle replacement may be right for you!
Don’t let painful foot conditions take away your youth. Following these tips will ensure that you can age gracefully! If you are concerned with your foot or ankle health, Dr. Daniel Dean is an expert at treating various foot and ankle conditions. Contact him today for amazing orthopedic care!
Dr. Daniel Dean is a board-certified and fellowship-trained foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon. He treats all musculoskeletal pathologies of the foot and ankle in adolescent and adult patients. He has specialized training in total ankle arthroplasty, sports injuries, flatfoot, complex fractures, and minimally invasive techniques in bunion correction.