If you are over the age of 50, you are likely familiar with foot pain. Studies indicate that 20 percent of older adults regularly experience foot pain, often attributed to factors like excess weight or poorly fitting footwear. However, foot pain also can be a sign of more significant health concerns that affect balance and foot function, and increase the risk of falls. Persistent foot pain may signal underlying health issues, such as stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, neuropathy, and gout. Stress fractures, common in older adults due to thinning bone tissue, may require rest, special shoe inserts, or braces. Plantar fasciitis, involving inflammation of the ligament connecting the heel to the front of the foot, should be examined if it persists. Neuropathy, common in individuals with diabetes, causes tingling, burning, and foot numbness. Prompt investigation is essential, as neuropathy can stem from various causes, including alcohol overuse or infections like Lyme disease and cancer. Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, is often misdiagnosed and overlooked. It typically begins in the big toe, causing severe pain, especially at night. Diagnosis involves blood work to check uric acid levels, fluid sample analysis for urate crystals, and ultrasound. If you are feeling foot pain on a continued basis, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for a complete examination and proper diagnosis. Treatment options will follow.
Proper foot care is something many older adults forget to consider. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact Nrup Tolat, DPM from Atlanta Total Foot & Ankle Care. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
The Elderly and Their Feet
As we age we start to notice many changes in our body, but the elder population may not notice them right away. Medical conditions may prevent the elderly to take notice of their foot health right away. Poor vision is a lead contributor to not taking action for the elderly.
- Neuropathy – can reduce feeling in the feet and can hide many life-threatening medical conditions.
- Reduced flexibility – prevents the ability of proper toenail trimming, and foot cleaning. If left untreated, it may lead to further medical issues.
- Foot sores – amongst the older population can be serious before they are discovered. Some of the problematic conditions they may face are:
- Gouging toenails affecting nearby toe
- Shoes that don’t fit properly
- Pressure sores
- Loss of circulation in legs & feet
- Edema & swelling of feet and ankles
Diabetes and poor circulation can cause general loss of sensitivity over the years, turning a simple cut into a serious issue.