With age, many people experience changes in their feet. This may include a change in their shape, a loss of the fatty pads that cushion the bottom of the feet, thinner, drier skin, and brittle nails. You may even develop arthritis.
As the feet change, they naturally develop more problems. But aching feet are not a natural part of growing old, or something to be tolerated. You can do many things now to help relieve pain, improve comfort and keep the spring in your step.
Taking good care of your feet has many benefits, including increasing your comfort, limiting the possibility of additional health issues, and keeping you active and mobile. The following tips can help keep feet feeling and looking their best into the golden years:
- Choose proper-fitting shoes with adequate support, a firm sole and a soft upper for your everyday activities.
- Walk—it’s the best exercise for your feet.
- Avoid going barefoot.
- Never cut corns or calluses on your own.
- Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm water with a mild soap.
- Moisturize daily.
- Trim and file toenails straight across.
- Inspect your feet daily. If you notice redness, cracks in the skin or strange sores, consult our office.
- Have your feet examined at least once a year.
There are literally hundreds of different foot ailments. Some are inherited, but for older people most foot conditions stem from the impact of years of wear and tear. The good news is that even among people in their retirement years, many foot problems can be treated successfully.
Never ignore the natural changes that aging brings. Since feet are referred to as the “mirror of health,” podiatrists are often the first to identify signs of systemic diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. Regular visits can help prevent foot problems and alleviate pain to keep you active for life.
Looking for a safe, easy and inexpensive way to stay healthy, increase your energy level and improve your figure? Start walking! Walking is one of the easiest and most popular forms of exercise, and, when done properly, it can significantly improve your health.
The most basic kind of walking for exercise, often called healthwalking, can be done almost anywhere and at any time, year around. And for individuals with a long history of inactivity or problems with obesity, walking is an excellent way to begin an exercise program.
If the Shoe Fits - Get Walking!
Footwear plays a vital role in the duration of your walking routine, and shoes that don't fit properly or that lack support can lead to foot pain or injuries, such as blisters, corns, calluses, nail fungus and plantar fasciitis. These problems can, in turn, discourage you from exercising, thus achieving the opposite of what you wanted!
Not sure which shoe will offer you the most support? Come into our office for an examination. We can help determine the best shoe for your feet based on your arch, walking experience and foot mechanics. Your shoes should be well-cushioned and stable, offering you comfort and fit that enables you to walk smoothly and without discomfort.
Keep Your Feet Healthy
To gain the most health benefit from walking, it's important to pay close attention to your feet. Trim your nails regularly, keep your feet clean and dry, and inspect your feet for signs of sores, blisters, corns, calluses or other infections. Serious foot ailments, such as bunions or hammertoes, should be checked by our office before you begin your exercise regimen.
Once you're ready to hit the road, set appropriate goals based on your overall health and walking experience. Start slow and build up your distance gradually. And don't forget to stretch in order to prevent injury and keep muscles loose.
Walking is meant to be safe, easy, and fun, but in order to do so, you must have healthy feet. Experiencing foot pain and discomfort isn't normal. Talk with a podiatrist if you encounter any problems while walking.
Every step you take is one step closer to a healthier lifestyle. So what are you waiting for? Take a stroll in the mall, walk your dog in the park, or grab a friend and go for a leisurely walk around your neighborhood. It's easy and fun, and, when done regularly, can lead to a healthier you!
Is your ankle swollen and painful? It may be sprained. Podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Babol shares a few signs that might indicate that you've sprained your ankle. Dr. Babol treats sprains and other foot and ankle conditions at Foot and Ankle Clinic in Spokane Valley, WA, and Hayden, Sandpoint and Kellogg, ID.
Why do sprains occur?
Tears in the ligaments that hold the bones in your ankle joint together are the cause of sprains. Sprains tend to happen when you quickly roll or twist your foot. Walking on uneven surfaces, stepping off a curb you didn't realize was there or falling during a touch football game can all create tears in your ligaments.
How can I tell if I sprained my ankle?
One or more of these signs and symptoms may occur if you have a sprained ankle:
- Pain: Standing or putting any pressure on your ankle will probably be painful if you have a sprain.
- An Awful Sound: Did you hear a loud pop when you hurt your ankle? The sound may have occurred at the moment a ligament tore.
- Swelling: Damage to your ligaments triggers an inflammatory response. Once your body recognizes that damage has occurred, it sends white blood cells to the site of your injury via your bloodstream. In order to accommodate the increased blood flow, your blood vessels dilate temporarily, triggering swelling.
- Difficulty Moving the Joint: Bending and moving your ankle and foot may be a little difficult if you have a sprain.
- Bruising: Increased blood flow to your ankle can also cause bruising at the site of your injury.
How are sprained ankles treated?
If your sprain is mild, you may only need to apply ice packs, take over-the-counter pain relievers, wrap your ankle to reduce swelling, and stay off your feet as much as possible for a few days. More severe sprains may need to be treated in our Spokane Valley, WA, or Hayden, Sandpoint or Kellogg, ID, offices. In some cases, a walking boot and crutches may be recommended to reduce pressure on your ankle while it heals. You may also benefit from physical therapy exercises that strengthen the muscles that support the joint. If your ankle pain is severe or doesn't get better after a week or two, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment with our office.
Worried about ankle pain? Schedule an appointment with Podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Babol of Foot and Ankle Clinic by calling (866) 303-3668 for the Spokane Valley, WA, office or (208) 762-0909 for the Hayden, Sandpoint and Kellogg, ID, offices.
While high-heeled shoes may look stylish or complement your favorite outfit, they are rarely the best option for a woman's feet. According to a study by the American Podiatric Medical Association, 39 percent of women wear high heels every day; of the women who wear heels daily, three out of four reported foot problems. Despite these numbers, many women continue to underestimate the health risks associated with high heels.
High-heeled shoes disrupt the body's alignment, crowd the toes and force the body's weight onto the ball of the foot. Wearing heels can contribute to a variety of foot and ankle problems, including:
- Achilles tendonitis: The Achilles tendon and calf muscles tighten and shorten as the front of the foot moves down in relation to the heel. This causes stress and painful inflammation of the Achilles tendon.
- Bunion:. Narrow-toed shoes can cause a bony growth on the joint at the base of the big toe. The bunion forces the big toe to slant in toward the other toes, resulting in discomfort, blisters, corns and calluses.
- Hammertoes: A narrow toe box crowds the smaller toes into a bent, claw-like position at the middle joint.
- Metatarsalgia: Continued high heel wear can lead to joint pain in the ball of the foot as a result of heels forcing the body's weight to be redistributed.
- Ankle injuries: Because heels impair balance and increase the risk of falling, ankle sprains and fractures are common.
- Pump Bump: The rigid back of a pump-style shoe can cause pressure that irritates the heel bone, creating a bony enlargement known as Haglund's deformity.
- Neuromas: A narrow toe box and high heel can compress and create a thickening of tissue around a nerve between the third and fourth toes, leading to pain and numbness in the toes.
Still not willing to ditch the heels? There are ways to relieve some of the damaging effects of high heels.
- Avoid heels taller than 2 inches
- Choose thicker, more stable heels. Thicker heels are still stylish, plus they lessen the stress on your feet and provide better shock absorption.
- If you must wear heels, wear your gym shoes or flats for commuting and change into your heels once you arrive to your destination.
- Stretch and massage your calf, heel, and foot muscles. This helps relax the muscles and tendons and prevents them from tightening and shortening.
- Avoid shoes with pointed toes
High heel shoes can cause pain and foot deformities that can last a lifetime. So the next time you go to slip on your heels for a long day at work or a night out, consider the consequences and rethink your options. If foot pain persists, visit us for treatment.
Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus can be painful, irritating and embarrassing. When you experience trauma to your nail, the nail bed is lifted, allowing fungus to invade. Without treatment, this fungus can grow and spread, particularly in dark, warm, moist environments, such as socks and shoes.
Common signs and symptoms of toenail fungus include:
- Discoloring or yellowing of the nail
- Thickening or crumbling of the nail
- Swelling around the nail
- Disfigured nails
- Streaks or spots down the side of the nail
- Foul-smelling debris under the nail
- Pain and discomfort
- Complete nail loss
Prevention is Key
Fungal infections can affect the fingernails as well as the toenails, but toenail fungus is more difficult to treat because toenails grow more slowly. Because removal of the fungus is challenging, prevention plays an important role in treatment.
- Keep nails neatly trimmed.
- Practice good foot hygiene, including daily washing with soap and water, drying feet and toes, carefully, and changing shoes regularly.
- Always wear shoes in public areas, such as showers, locker rooms and pools.
- Wear comfortable shoes that aren't too tight.
- Avoid wearing nail polish for long periods, as it prevents the nail from breathing and can seal in fungus.
Treatment of Toenail Fungus
If you do develop toenail fungus, especially if the infection has become painful, visit our office. People with a chronic illness like diabetes should always see a podiatrist if they notice any changes in their nails, as it may be an indication of a more serious issue.
To eliminate the fungus, a podiatrist may remove as much of the infected nail as possible by trimming, filing or dissolving it. Oral or topical antifungal medications may also be prescribed to treat the infection. Laser treatment options are also sometimes available.
It’s only for severe, chronic infections that surgical removal of the nail might be recommended. Our office can help diagnose the cause of your toenail troubles, and make the best recommendation for treatment.
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