Foot health is a concern for a surprising number of people of all ages. 72 percent of Americans say they do not exercise because foot pain prevents them from doing so, according to a recent APMA survey, and 47 percent of Americans suffer from a foot ailment. Seniors have more foot concerns than any other age group, with 87 percent of older adults having at least one foot problem.
Luckily, many foot ailments are easily preventable. Examining your feet regularly, wearing comfortable shoes that fit, washing your feet daily with soap and lukewarm water and trimming your toenails straight across and not too short can prevent blisters, cracks, ingrown nails and fungal infections.
Your foot health can also be a clue for your overall health. Stiffness in the joints of your feet might be a sign of arthritis, and tingling or numbness could mean diabetes, which often causes a loss of feeling in the feet. Swelling in the feet can be a sign of kidney disease, heart disease or high blood pressure.
Your foot health isn’t only a sign for the rest of your health. Since your feet are your mode of getting around, it’s no surprise that your foot health can also affect your health at large. For seniors, getting treatment for foot pain can improve balance, which greatly reduces the risk of falling. Healthy feet makes exercising—even short walks—easier, which can have immense benefits for your health.
For people of any age, treatment for your foot ailment is very important. See a – doctor or foot specialist right away if you notice:
- a sore on your foot that doesn’t heal or gets infected
- pain when you walk that stops when you rest
- unusual coldness, cramps, numbness or tingling
- diminished sensitivity to foot pain, hot or cold
- the skin on your feet or legs changes color
- a change in the shape or structure of your foot
Spend some time developing good habits in your foot health. Happy feet make a happier you!