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Common Foot Problems in Seniors

27 September, 2018

Foot Problems
, senior care

It is a commonly known issue that with age, many health issues come up. These are, as much because of the lifestyle, as due to the age. It is a fact that as we age, the bones, the muscles, etc. also degenerate. Hence, there is every likelihood of some issues cropping up. However, there are many examples in front of us to prove that, with a healthy lifestyle, people can easily overcome such minor problems and live well.

Typically, vision issues, hearing issues, digestion problems, sleep issues, and bone and joint issues are seen as we age. The foot is also one of the commonly affected parts of the body. Certain foot issues are seen since the foot has been taking the weight of the body throughout. However, as the muscles weaken, and joints start creaking foot issues crop up. Here is a list of some common issues and tips to tide through them.

Arthritis

This happens to be one of the most common causes of foot issues in seniors in India. Did you know that roughly 15% of Indians suffer from this disease and that it is more than other diseases like cancer, AIDS, or diabetes, etc.? It is said that 45% of women over the age of 65 years have these symptoms. One study has said that India will become the osteoarthritis capital by 2025. Another arthritis that is common is rheumatoid arthritis. The most common symptoms of this disease are the pain, swelling or stiffness, especially worsening at night.

There are about 30 joints in our foot, and hence, arthritis can easily affect parts of your foot. The only way to counter this is by being active through a regular exercise that will help improve the muscle flexibility and joint movements. Few simple yoga poses, including pranayama practice, can also help, as does massage with castor oil. Immersing foot in warm salt water can provide significant relief. Including spices like turmeric and ginger in the diet is also said to help decrease the pain.

Heel pain

Heel pain is another common issue that is seen in the older people. One may not be able to even walk without feeling the pain, at times. This could be due to spurs, which are excessive calcium deposits in the heel. It may also be due to flat foot and arched foot leading to inflammation, due to strenuous activities. The cause needs to be established with medical help. Supportive pads can be bought to reduce the pain and provide comfort.

The footwear needs to be one that can provide proper comfort and support, and tight ones or heeled ones should be avoided. The doctor may also suggest some foot exercises in a few cases. Dipping your heel in water with Epsom Salt and gently massaging with some oils, like coconut or olive that has anti-inflammatory properties, can help as well. Even soaking the foot in warm water with a few drops of Apple Cider vinegar can help. Ice packs may be used if the pain is excessive and the diet should be changed to include anti-oxidant foods such as ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and cumin seeds.

Hammertoes

These are foot deformities that are caused due to excessive stress on the foot muscles, joints, and tendons over the years. The toe joints lose their flexibility, leading to mild pain, and eventually, people may also develop conditions called corns and calluses.

In such conditions, it is important to wear the right shoes with broader toe space, and use padding if necessary to support and reduce the pain. One may also soak the foot in warm water with two pinches of baking soda for relief. When the foot is thus softened, you may also use a wet pumice stone to scrub the area lightly.

Prevention is always better than cure, and hence, it is important to have regular exercise, maintain a healthy diet and also try to detox once in a while. These can help a lot in keeping such issues at bay.

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