Our bodies change as we grow older. Whether gaining or
losing weight, getting taller, shrinking, or developing health concerns, a
multitude of differences occur in our body as we age. Our feet are no exception
to this. Taking us everywhere we’ve gone since childhood, they’ve seen a lot of
use and experienced a lot of wear. With that wear, comes foot pain and
problems. The problems encountered often fall into five common variants.
As we age, our toenails often become thicker, fragile, and
harder to cut. This could be due to their growth slowing down from changing
hormones, poor circulation, or common fungal infections. Other conditions
common with aging can also have effects on the nails, affecting their growth
It is best to keep your toenails cut properly to prevent
them from getting to a point where they are unmanageable. Also, ensure they are
cut straight across, as nails that are cut with rounded edges are more likely
to become ingrown.
Swelling, Circulation Problems and Fluctuating Size
Often, medications, hormones, cardiovascular issues, and
problems with the veins themselves can be the root cause of swelling and circulation
problems in the feet. These are often the most common foot problems experienced
as we get older.
Occasionally, the size or shape of your foot might change
over time. This is due to changes in the tendons and ligaments in the body.
Tendons lose some of their water content, causing them to stiffen up and pull
on your foot. Ligaments however, loosen and stretch over time. This can cause
your arch to fall, making your foot flatten and increase in size. The loose
ligaments can also increase the likelihood of sprains and strains in your foot.
In order to support your arch, buy a good pair of running
shoes with plenty of stability. Make sure you have enough room in your shoe,
especially if you know your feet will swell throughout the day.
Disappearing Fat Pads
The bottom of our foot is cushioned with pads comprised of
collagen, elastin, and fatty tissue. This padding helps protect the bones of
our feet from the impact of taking steps. Unfortunately, our bodies begin to
decrease collagen production once we get older, and the pads on our feet become
thinner. This makes walking more painful, as there is less cushioning between
the bones of the foot and the surface that is being stepped on.
To help relieve some of the pain from the diminished padding,
make sure you have supportive shoes, and use insoles or padding when necessary
to help make them more comfortable.
Dry and Fragile Skin
Along with being an integral part of the padding on the
bottom of our feet, collagen also helps to keep our skin healthy and hydrated. As
the collagen levels in our body begin to decrease, our skin becomes dry, and
more likely to crack.
To bring moisture back to the skin, it is recommended to
apply a moisturizing lotion or cream frequently. Start off with once a day, and
if you don’t see improvements, increase the amount of applications to twice a
As with any other joint in the body, the feet can develop
arthritis. There are over 30 different joints in the foot alone, although the big
toe, ankle, and subtalar (between the ankle and heel) joints are the ones most
commonly affected. Having arthritis in your hip or knee joints can also have an
affect on your foot, as it may affect the way you stand or walk, misaligning
Exercise, reducing pressure and weight on the feet, and
appropriate shoe inserts can help to relieve the pain of arthritis.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs of aging in your
feet, you’re a new patient looking for a podiatrist
in Toronto, or you have any other foot care concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our foot clinic today!