A common expression that we hear as podiatrists is - "Don't get old."
Our skin, joints, muscles & tendons all deteriorate as we age and our feet are definitely not immune to these changes.
Skin changes can include:
o A loss in moisture content (drier)
o Reduced resilience (flexibility/elasticity)
o Degeneration and displacement of our fat pad (less cushioning)
Our muscles and ligaments in each foot can become weaker with less activity, making them not as good at holding our 26 bones together as they used to. For these reasons, it becomes easier for us for develop calluses and corns on our feet as we age. This can result in your foot shape changing and consequently your actual shoe size can change - to be either longer and/or wider.
As a result, we can become more prone to injuries, pain and discomfort if we do not protect our feet from the rigours of daily life by wearing the correct footwear. For instance, it is better if we wear thick cushioned footwear instead of going barefoot, or wearing more suitable, properly fitted & more supportive footwear as we age.
Another common concern is thickened nails. Podiatrist often have to reshape & thin down nails in older patients in order to prevent painful ingrown toenails from arising.
As we age, it may also become more difficult to reach our feet and care for them appropriately and this is where podiatrists can be most useful.
It is not uncommon for podiatrists to see some patients every 6 - 8 weeks for general maintenance & care of their skin & nails.