As we age, our feet can naturally develop more problems, however pain and discomfort in the feet can often be successfully treated simply and effectively. There are hundreds of different conditions that can affect our feet, and while some may be inherited or as a result of injury, for older people, foot problems often arise due to many years of impact and use. At the Walking Clinic, we are widely regarded as the best podiatrist Canberra seniors trust to treat and relive painful and uncomfortable foot conditions. Here’s some helpful information on common podiatry issues in older people and the different treatment options that are available.
The Most Common Foot Conditions Experienced by Seniors
From mild concerns to severe and debilitating pain, there are many conditions that can become more common as we get older. Some of the most common ones include:
The result of years of stress on the joints, Osteoarthritis affects around 10% of men and 13% of women over 60, and commonly affects the ankle joint, subtalar joint, and the big toe. Osteoarthritis can progressively become worse over time, and can result in mobility issues and debilitating pain. Gouty arthritis, or Gout as it is often known, also commonly affects older people. This is an inflammatory disorder which causes acute pain, most often in the big toe. To help relieve symptoms of arthritis, a podiatrist might recommend medication, orthotic inserts, steroid injections or physical therapy.
Resulting from inflammation of the thick strand of tissue running along the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes, Plantar Fasciitis usually starts off painful in the morning but then eases as the body warms up. Sufferers may experience mild pain or severe pain where every step can be excruciating. Treatment options may include anti-inflammatory medication, stretching, physical therapy, steroid injections, orthotic inserts, or orthotic shoes. Persistent pain or swelling in the heel and foot should be looked at by an experienced podiatrist.
A deformity of the toe in which the muscle or ligament surrounding the toe joint is imbalanced, this condition causes the middle joint of the toe to bend into a claw-like position. Without proper treatment, hammertoe will worse over time and might require surgery to fix it. Treatment options can range from simple stretching exercises and specialised footwear to cortisone injections for pain relief. Surgery is the last option and should only be considered when other non-surgical treatments have been exhausted.
While they can form at any age, bunions are common amongst older people as a result of years of added pressure on the balls of the feet. This forces the toes out of alignment and causes the big toe joint to protrude. For many people bunions are unattractive yet cause no issues, while for many older people they can cause chronic discomfort. Depending upon the severity of the bunion and the amount of pain it causes, treatment may include switching to wider shoes, non-medicated bunion pads, applying ice to the bunions at the end of the day or wearing padded inserts. Surgery may also be considered as a last resort.
With ages comes the increased risk of diabetes, and people who have diabetes often experience neuropathy, or decreased sensitivity to pain. This means that injuries can go undetected and result in infections and diabetic ulcers. In addition, older people often suffer from poor blood flow to the legs which can affect the healing process. It is critical for older diabetic patients to have their feet checked regularly by a podiatrist.If you have any of the above conditions, book an appointment with a podiatrist today. Ageing does not mean you have to put up with pain in the feet or other debilitating and uncomfortable foot problems. The expert podiatry services at Walking Clinic Podiatry in Canberra can help seniors to retain mobility and improve their overall health and wellbeing. For more advice on how to care for elderly feet, or to make an appointment with the best podiatrist in Canberra, contact the team at The Walking Clinic by calling one of our practises or book an appointment online now.