Get up and Go!
Healthy feet: Foundation of your life!
Your feet work hard.
The foot is a complex structure, containing 26 small bones (one-quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet!), 33 joints, and a system of more than 100 tendons, muscles, nerves and ligaments working together in concert.
The average person takes approximately 10,000 steps per day, which can add up more than 3 million steps per year! Each step can place two to three times of body weight forces on the feet. With time, this extensive recurring use leads to a certain amount of normal changes as we get older:
- The foot becomes wider and longer.
- There is flattening of the foot, a mild settling of the arch.
- The fat pad on the bottom of the heel becomes thinner, causing loss of natural padding and bounce in the step.
- The foot and ankle become stiffer by losing some of their normal range of motion.
- There can be some loss of balance while walking, potentially leading to a fall.
Make sure your feet are comfortable.
Most people are born with healthy feet, but three out of four people develop serious foot problems as they age. Some of the foot changes that occur are abnormal or pathological. When your feet hurt or bother you, it can affect your whole body and you can't fully engage. It can feel like you are being held back and missing out.
Foot health can be a clue to overall health. For example, joint stiffness could mean arthritis. A doctor can treat many of the foot problems that are caused by arthritis as well as suggest medicine to relieve the pain. Tingling or numbness could be a sign of diabetes. Swelling might indicate kidney disease, heart disease or high blood pressure.
Changes in your feet tend to occur in association with prolonged use of poor fitting shoes and their incidence increases between 40 to 60 years of age. Modifying the shoes that are worn can prevent abnormalities such as: bunions, hammering and clawing of the toes, calluses or corns, arthritis of the joints. It is believed that because of their choice in footwear (narrow toes and high heels), women suffer from four times as many problems than men!
It's now time to take good care of your feet.
Healthy feet contribute to safety and health:
- Examine your feet regularly
- Wear comfortable shoes that fit properly
- Wash your feet daily with soap and lukewarm water
- Trim your toenails straight across and not too short
Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, once claimed "When our feet hurt, we hurt all over". Good foot care and regular foot checks are an important part of your health care. Seniors should pay particular attention to their feet, as healthy and pain-free feet help with balance, which can prevent falls and support an active lifestyle.