When we are in love, we may be "swept off our feet." When we don't want to do something, we are said to have "cold feet." A sensible person "has both feet on the ground." Sometimes we even "vote with our feet."
It's important to put "your best foot forward." Be kind to your feet. Years of wear and tear can be hard on feet. So can disease, bad circulation, poorly trimmed toenails, and wearing shoes that don't fit right. Foot problems are sometimes the first sign of more serious medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and nerve or circulatory disorders.
Step in the Right Direction
Practice good foot care. Check your feet often, or have a member of your family check them. If you have a problem with your feet, your family doctor can help or you can see a podiatrist (doctor who treats feet). Sometimes, the special skills of an orthopedic surgeon or dermatologist are needed.
One easy step to take is to remember to put your feet up when you are sitting down. This helps keep blood moving to your feet. So can stretching, walking, or having a gentle foot massage. A warm foot bath is also helpful, but make sure your feet are dry before you put on your shoes. Try to avoid pressure from shoes that don't fit. Don't sit for a long time or keep your legs crossed for too long. Don't smoke.
Make Sure the Shoes Fit
Protect your feet by wearing shoes whenever you go outdoors. Wearing comfortable shoes that fit well can prevent many foot problems. Here are some tips for making sure your shoes fit:
- Shoe size may change as you age so always have your feet measured before buying shoes. The best time to measure your feet is at the end of the day when your feet are largest.
- Most of us have one foot that is larger than the other; fit your shoe to your larger foot.
- Don't buy shoes by the size without trying them on first. The size marked inside the shoe may not fit you.
- Walk in the shoes to make sure they feel right.
- Choose a shoe that is shaped like your foot. Styles like high heels or pointed toes can hurt feet.
- Stand up when trying on shoes to make sure there is about ½ inch between your toe and the end of the shoe.
- Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe.
- Don't buy shoes that feel too tight and hope that they will stretch.
- The heel of the shoe should not slide up and down on your heel when you walk.
- The upper part of the shoes should be made of a soft, bendable material to match the shape of your foot.
- Soles should give solid footing and not slip. Thick soles cushion your feet when walking on hard surfaces.
- Low-heeled shoes are more comfortable, safer, and less damaging than high-heeled shoes.
Something's Afoot: Common Problems...To read the entire article click here: Four CornersFor more information about health and aging, contact:
National Institute on Aging Information Center
P.O. Box 8057
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20898-8057
To order publications (in English or Spanish) or sign up for regular email alerts, visit www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation.
Visit NIHSeniorHealth.gov (www.nihseniorhealth.gov), a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine. This website has health information for older adults. There are also special features that make it simple to use. For example, you can click on a button to have the text read out loud or to make the type larger.
National Institute on Aging; U. S. Department of Health and Human Services; Public Health Service; National Institutes of Health; May 2007