Happy Seniors Week! As we celebrate Seniors Week, it's the perfect opportunity to delve into the topic of how our bodies change as we age, with a particular focus on foot and postural health.
Some changes are entirely natural, while others may be attributed to various factors, including genetics, lifestyle choices, and overall health. Understanding these changes is key to maintaining good health and mobility, especially when it comes to our feet, the foundation of our mobility.
What is it?
- Often referred to as "wear and tear" arthritis as the cartilage that cushions our joints naturally wears down
- People will feel pain, stiffness and reduced motion in their joint
- In our feet, it typically occurs in our big toe joint that we use to push off when we walk
How can we manage it?
- Intrinsic foot muscle exercises are a great way to increase the strength around the joint to support it.
- Orthotics and footwear modifications are an important way to decrease the load on the joint itself and reduce the "wear and tear" occurring.
- In advanced cases, surgery is also an option
- It is important to see your podiatrist to find the cause of your osteoarthritis rather than treating the symptoms alone
Balance and Coordination Changes
Why does it happen?
- Decreasing muscle strength makes it more difficult to maintain balance and stability
- Reduced sensation in our feet can occur as we age, making it harder to feel the ground and make the necessary adjustments for balance
- Vision changes as we age can also make it more difficult to perceive the ground in front of you which can reduce your coordination
How can we manage it?
- Neurovascular examination to assess for any reduced sensations in your that indicate a loss of balance
- Muscle function testing to assess any weaknesses you may have that we can provide a personalised exercise program for
- Footwear evaluation to ensure you are wearing shoes that provide stability and minimise risks
- Balance and core strengthening exercises to improve your strength and balance ability.
- Toenails often become thicker and harder as we age due to an accumulation of keratin or nail trauma
- Thicker toenails can be more challenging to trim and can be more susceptible to fungal infections
- Thicker nails can also increase pressure on the toe when walking
- Seeing a podiatrist with purpose built equipment to manage and reduce the thickness of the nails is a great to keep your nails pain and infection free
Reduced Skin Moisture
- Urea is an important component of your skin's natural moisturising factor which is essential for maintaining a health and hydrated skin barrier
- As we age, our skin's ability to produce urea reduces so it is important to use a moisturising cream that contains urea to keep your skin hydrated
- If your skin has low levels of urea, it will result in hard skin such as calluses and corns developing quicker
- Seeing a podiatrist is recommended to get the hard skin reduced and to find the correct regime of routine maintenence and moisturising to keep your feet in tip top shape!
- Aging often leads to a natural decline in overall circulation throughout the body
- As your feet are the furthest part of you from your heart, the feet's blood supply is always affected first
- This can potentially result in slower healing of wounds and injuries, and make your feet more susceptible to temperature changes
- Our podiatrists can conduct thorough vascular assessments to assess the quality of your blood flow to your feet to determine if any further assessments are required