Life Event 1: Age
One-third of all adults over the age of 65 will have foot aches, pains and stiffness. The reasons are that as we get older:
- Tissue degeneration occurs
- Arches flatten
- Fat in the heel pad declines
- Skin elasticity declines
These changes can have chain effects. With more pain, decreased power when walking, less shock absorption, and inflexible ankle and foot joints comes decreased mobility. These conditions make pulling back from activities more likely, which can lead to weight gain and related health issues. It becomes a cycle.
Life Event 2: Weight
An Australian study revealed than nearly 1 in 4 adults over the age of 30 who had high body mass indices (BMIs) reported having foot pain. In general, the weight causes extra force on the ankles and feet, a flattening of the foot, changes in gait, and foot turnout.
Life Event 3: Taking Up A New Activity
Fast starting of a new physical activity is a hazard of foot injury. This is because of a lack of physical conditioning or sport-specific training by the party in question. Another reason, specifically for adults over 40, is that age-related tissue degeneration makes this group more vulnerable to injury when starting a new sport or exercise.
But Wait, There’s More!
If you find yourself in any of these situations, look out for certain conditions that increase your chances of injury even more. These are:
- High cholesterol
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ankle stiffness/high arch
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Abnormal ankle
- Reduced range of motion
- Reduced calf strength
Likewise, external factors such as running and work-related weight bearing activities also make injury more likely.
Don’t Make This Mistake
Self-care for for foot pain ranges from stretching for minor pains to RICE and anti-inflammatory meds for swelling.
An emergency room visit may be necessary when there is an inability to bear weight on the foot immediately following an injury. A doctor’s visit may be necessary if, after 48 hours, the pain and swelling don’t respond to self-care.
But the worst thing that can be done is to ignore pain. Addressing foot pain is key to maintaining foot flexibility and mobility, balance, and independence. If left untreated, the underlying causes can lead to problems in the hip, back, or knee, as well as more serious injury.
If you have foot pains that you want checked out, come to our Day of Free Exams on June 14, 2018, where we can assess your foot pain and make recommendations. Call (630) 964-4008 if you would like to attend this event for a free physical therapy pain assessment.