One in 4 Americans over the age of 45 have foot pain- time to take the next step
As demonstrated by Joe DiMaggio’s career ending foot issues- foot pain and dysfunction is LIFE-STYLE threatening rather than a life threat. SO maybe it's time to to be aware of some things we can do to appreciate our feet and keep them healthy.
About 24% of people over age 45 have some sort of foot pain. Here are some things that may be going wrong and some ideas for self- help:
Vascular issues: Blood flow to the feet may diminish with age (and also if you are diabetic). What can you do to help this?
One reason the flow reduces is that movement tends to reduce. Something as simple as pretending to “write” the alphabet with the feet can help move the fluids
Soak the feet in Epsom Salts or better yet, use a high-quality topical Magnesium spray or lotion to provide muscle relaxing magnesium to the feet and lower legs.
Nerve receptivity may diminish with age- This is again partially due to the reduction in movement and reliance on wearing shoes all the time.
Your feet could use some stimulation. Even something as simple as walking barefoot and standing on the grass (with support of course if you need it) may help to stimulate the nerves of the feet and keep them better connected with the rest of the body.
Stimulating tools such as foot rollers and various foot massagers do help keep the sensations flowing and they have been shown to improve circulation. There are a variety of prices and functionality available.
(Below this article are some links to a few of my favorite tools.)
Food sensitivities and Diet (Sensitivities may take hours to days to show an inflammation response, this is often why we get cravings for certain foods- versus Allergy responses which will be nearly immediate.) or foods that are known to increase inflammation (like sugar and near sugar ingredients) help to increase aches and pains especially in distant regions such as the feet and hands- they are along way from both the source of newly nourished blood and the filtration areas of liver and kidney.
Keep a journal and do an elimination diet- take 4 to 6 weeks without corn, or sugar, or snacks and prepared/fast foods… better- take 4 weeks and eat only fresh or steamed veggies. Write down how you feel and changes in sleep patterns… Drink plenty of fresh water too – 1 oz per each 2 lb of body weight.
Eat foods that ease inflammation- Omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber via nuts, fish, seeds, veggies and fruits, seasonings like ginger, turmeric, etc. or even high quality supplements.
Lose weight- the less your feet have to carry around, the better they will be able to serve you and the less strain on all the joints above the feet.
Find shoes that fit! The size and shape of our feet change as we get older- sometimes the arch falls and elongates the foot, sometimes the toes need to spread out more. Sometimes, we have simply been wearing shoes that are too small for years!
When the toe-box is too narrow or pointy, the shoe itself can misshape the feet providing a forced positioning instead of a more natural support. Poorly fitting shoes can distort how the muscles must work this can lead to many foot issues, such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and knee problems. Check your shoes and how your foot fits into them.
Postural Shifts- Years of sitting can create some postural shifts that constrict various organs, but also enhance foot pain. Building strong posture- the best posture you can create for yourself- will help you minimize pain (in the feet and other areas) AND will help you live independently longer!
Become aware of the distortions you are exhibiting. The sooner they are corrected with appropriate strengthening and lengthening, the better.
Get regular massage to ease tension in the back, legs and feet, and loosen the tightness up the front that tends to keep us bowed forward.
See a posture specialist and begin an exercise program to strengthen your posture.
Keep learning- we did not come with an owner’s manual like our appliances. Studies continue to reveal that things we once accepted as part of aging are truly able to be managed at least to some degree, allowing greater ease of movement and longer independent years.
This article was inspired by Cassie Shortsleeve's May 2019 article in AARP
Knowledgeable massage is a great place to start and a great adjunct to other interventions.
According to law, I must let you know that if you purchase from my links, I MAY receive a small commission, for which I would be grateful. However, I will always only make recommendations for items I think make sense and value.)