Myths about Senior Foot Health
At First Coast Foot & Ankle Clinic, we treat patients of all ages. In recognition of Older Americans Month, we’d like to focus on senior foot care. It seems that there are some misconceptions about foot health as people age and the best ways to be proactive in ensuring a long and active life, free of foot pain and disability. Let’s set the record straight.
MYTH: Foot pain, joint stiffness, and decreased mobility are just a part of life when you get older.
FACT: While it’s true that the risk for some conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis increases as you age, there are no foot or ankle disorders that are inevitable. There are many ways patients can protect the health of their feet and prevent podiatric conditions that used to be considered a natural part of the aging process.
MYTH: At my age, some pain is normal, and I should wait a while before bothering the podiatrist.
FACT: Foot pain is NEVER normal! And, in older patients, many other systemic diseases that affect the rest of your body as well such as diabetes and arthritis can first manifest themselves in your feet. It’s important that you get any unusual foot symptoms evaluated by our podiatrists, Dr. Vimal A. Reddy, and Dr. Jeffrey Brimmer promptly. In addition, when foot disorders are treated in their earliest stages, the outcomes are usually better and less invasive treatment methods are more likely to be successful.
MYTH: I’ve been the same size for decades—no need to try shoes on before buying them.
FACT: Your shoe size can go up as you get older. It’s best to have your foot professionally measured to ensure that you are wearing the correct size. Good shoes are one of the best ways to protect the health of your feet. Always try them on to be sure they comfortable. Avoid shoes with cramped toe boxes that can exacerbate or encourage bunions and hammertoes.
MYTH: I don’t need to worry about calcium—I’ve never broken a bone in my life.
FACT: Unfortunately, many older patients don’t realize that they have a bone density issue until they break a bone. It’s estimated that one in two women and one in four men will break a bone due to osteoporosis, a condition where your body loses too much bone, doesn’t produce enough or both. Getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D through your diet as well as supplements can go a long way to keeping bones strong.