If you’re getting close to retirement age, you’re probably starting to think about all the fun things you’ll be able to do instead of working 40 hours a week. Reaching retirement is a goal for most Americans, but what’s the point of reaching this milestone if your body is worn down and pain cripples any experiences you might have? Today, we’re going to share some tips for making sure your feet and ankles are still healthy and thriving by the time you reach retirement.
Protecting Your Feet and Ankles As Retirement Nears
If you want to keep your feet and ankles healthy long into retirement, keep these tips in mind:
1. Regular Exercise – Exercise is what keeps our muscles strong and helps combat issues like foot and ankle arthritis. Not only can it help to strengthen key muscle groups in the feet, but it can also help to keep off extra weight, which in turn takes stress off your feet. Make it a point to carve out 30-45 minutes for exercise 3-5 times a week, no matter whether you’re in your twenties or sixties.
2. Diet – A healthy diet is also very important as we age. Poor dietary choices can lead to weight gain and extra stress on your feet, but it can also contribute to the onset of gout. Gout is a painful inflammatory condition that affects the joints in your toes, and it can really inhibit normal movement. It’s treatable, but it’s not something you want to deal with if you can avoid it. You can indulge in snacks or sweets once in a while, but make healthy choices for the bulk of your meals.
3. Address Small Problems – One of the biggest reasons why someone ends up needing foot or ankle surgery near retirement age is because they didn’t take care of a problem when it was small. If you begin to notice the development of a bunion, or you’re losing range of motion in your big toe, bring these concerns to the attention of your primary care physician or foot specialist. Most conditions can be treated conservatively if addressed early enough. It’s when we ignore problems and let them snowball that we run into issues.
4. Don’t Overdo It – You have to find a balance between pushing yourself and not overdoing it. If you’ve just retired, maybe you want to walk 5 miles a day or hike a new trail every weekend. Just because you have the time, doesn’t mean you should be excessively active to the point where you’re overstressing your body. Slowly build up your duration and distance to avoid foot issues.
5. Yoga or Similar Activities – Speaking of finding a balance, a lot of older individuals can greatly improve their balance and strengthen their feet by partaking in activities like yoga, tai chi or meditation. Find an activity that safely tests your balance or pushes you to build your muscles without it actually feeling like a traditional workout.
How are you getting ready for retirement? Drop us a line, or ask Dr. Silverman your foot-related questions in the comments section, and he’ll get back to each of you!