Your feet have carried you from one place to another for decades, and as we get older, they start to show signs of wear and tear. But what exactly happens to your feet as you age? Today, we take a look at five things you can expect to happen in your feet as you get into your wonder years.
As Your Feet Get Older
Here’s a look at five things that commonly affect the feet of older individuals:
1. Loss Of Fat Pad – Losing fat sounds great, but those fatty cushions actually help to support your feet as your walk. They are like natural gel inserts for your feet! As you get older, collagen production decreases, which thins these fat pads. This means your feet might feel fine in the morning, but after a few hours you may notice some pain and discomfort. Combat the loss of your fat pad by wearing comfortable, supportive shoes.
2. Arthritis Development – There are more than 30 joints in your feet, all which can degenerate and wear down as you get older. Oftentimes arthritis develops in the big toe or in the midfoot on the top of your foot. Exercise, range of motion stretches and joint replacement surgery can all help deal with the onset of foot arthritis.
3. Curling Toes (Hammertoes) – After years of pressure from your shoes and arthritic degeneration, odds are you’re going to notice that your toes aren’t exactly the straightest. You may develop a bend in the joint, and this is known as a hammertoe. These can be asymptomatic or downright painful, so wearing proper-fitting shoes and talking with your doctor about your hammertoes can help treat the condition and prevent it from worsening.
4. Tight Tendons – Your tendons tend to get tighter as you age. That’s because the water content in your tendons declines as you get older, which leads to stiff and tight tendons. Staying hydrated and stretching before exercise can help prevent ruptures and tears, which you’re at a greater risk for as you age.
5. Lengthening Ligaments – While your tendons may tighten, your ligaments will actually stretch out as you age. This will cause your arch to naturally flatten as you age, which can throw off your balance a bit. You’re also more prone to rolled ankles and ankle sprains as your ligaments lengthen and get looser. Dr. Silverman can help address these issues with conservative care or ankle instability surgery.