Guest Post written by Vinsent West
As we are getting older, there is a high possibility that we may end up with a variety of foot disorders, as this is something elderly people get.
Some foot disorders may cause pain making it difficult to walk, stand, and perform simple tasks like stair climbing, or even getting out of a chair.
It’s also worth mentioning that foot disorders also cause other imbalances by increasing a patient’s chance of falling and getting serious injuries.
Disorders that cause foot pain often lead to reduced mobility which increases overall body weakness, reduced heart function and weight gain.
Knowing how it can lower our quality of life, we all need to pay more attention to our feet as we’re getting older and we need to prevent possible injuries.
Foot Disorders and Older People
With aging, many changes occur in our feet such and most common are:
- Brown discoloration
- Dry skin
- Thicker and curved toenails
- Fungal infections
- Feet size may change
Feet may actually become longer and wider because of changes in the ligaments and joints. You’ll notice that what once fit you perfectly – now it’s not as comfortable as it used to be.
You may need to wear larger shoes, therefore, feet should be measured periodically, or when purchasing new shoes.
Treatment of Foot Disorders
Luckily, there are several treatments which can ease the pain and improve the quality of life such as:
Footwear changes and orthoses
Many foot disorders are successfully treated by changing a person’s footwear, such as wearing different shoe, using inserts or other devices placed in the shoe, changing the position, or range of movement of the foot.
This is done in order to relieve pressure on affected joints or painful areas.
Injections of anesthetics or corticosteroid
Injections of an anesthetic into the affected joint or painful area, can often relieve pain and decrease muscle spasms so that joints can move more easily, and a corticosteroid may also be injected to decrease inflammation.
If these treatments are not successful, sometimes surgery is needed to improve the joint alignment, its function and to relieve the pain.
Of course, we can’t forget women and their habit of wearing high-heeled shoes because it is fashionable, or those that are too narrow or provide minimal protection.
Sometimes following fashion can lead in having many foot problems, which women often realize when it’s too late.
Common Foot Problems and How To Treat Them
These are the three most common foot problems people have.
It is a painful lump that affects the knuckle of the big toe. Bunions develop when the big toe turns to another direction, usually diagonal.
They develop as a result of wearing high heels, which force feet to adopt an unnatural shape. It explains why bunions are more common among women than in men.
The disorder often develops over a prolonged period, hence patients are likely to develop the condition as they age.
Bunions are known to affect everybody. Even celebrities like Oprah, Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Aniston are not excluded.
They all follow fashion as everybody else.
Is fashion worth so much to end up with foot problems eventually?
Being aware of the problem and preventing it is the best method to keep your feet safe.
However, people who have developed bunions should consider using custom insoles and shoes that match the shapes of their feet to ease the pain.
Surgical treatments can also help to get rid of lumps and realign the toes using metal pins.
2.Blisters, Calluses and Corns
Corns and calluses form among women when the skin thickens as a consequence of prolonged pressure or friction on the feet.
Calluses often develop as a result of walking, and form on the lower part of the feet.
Blisters are incredibly painful and form on the soft areas of the feet by causing soft, watery skin pockets to develop.
Corns resemble a lump of skin and develop when wearing ill-fitting shoes.
Unfortunately, no one can escape these.
Initially, applying creams and foam wedges help treat these foot problems.
However, the most effective way of preventing them is wearing comfortable shoes and giving your feet regular foot baths.
Experts most often advice on soaking feet in apple cider vinegar to treat calluses.
- Don’t cut the skin away unless it is already torn and drying out
- Keep the blister clean
- Gently wash the area with mild soap and water or a cleansing towel, and then apply antibacterial cream to the blister
- Cover it with gauze and secure it with hypoallergenic tape to help protect the skin and prevent infection
- Change the dressing at least once a day, and wear different shoes until the blister heals. Take the bandage off at night so that it can dry out
- Don’t try to cut the corn or remove it with a sharp object
- After you take a bath or shower, while your skin is still soft, use a pumice stone or an emery board to smooth and gently remove the build-up of tissue
- Move the emery board or pumice stone in one direction only. You can also use cushioned or medicated pads.
- Don’t try to cut the callus or remove it with a sharp object
- After your bath or shower, use a pumice stone to gently remove the build-up of tissue
- You can also use cushioned pads and insoles
To prevent blisters, corns, or calluses on the skin you need to:
- Wear shoes that fit properly and comfortably
- Wear socks with shoes
- Use foot powder to help keep your feet dry
- Wear gloves when you are doing manual labor or working with your hands
The disorder causes the toes to remain crossed and bent in the middle instead of lying flat.
Hammertoe is a bending deformity of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth (little) toes.
This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle or tendon imbalance.
This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical or neurological changes in the foot that occur over time in some people.
The condition develops as a result of wearing ill-fitting shoes that force the toes to bend and to fit in the insufficient space available.
Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that do not fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn.
If left in that position for a long time, it becomes difficult to restore it to its original position. Since hammertoes lead to the bending of toes, corns and calluses may form on them.
In some people, hammertoes can be inherited.
Common symptoms of hammertoes include:
- Pain or irritation of the affected toe when wearing shoes
- Corns and calluses on the toe, between two toes or on the ball of the foot
- Inflammation, redness or a burning sensation
- Contracture of the toe
In more severe cases of hammertoe open sores may form.
How To Treat Hammertoes
There are several treatments for this condition:
Foot pads and inserts help reposition the toes, but the bent position may become permanent after some time.
Various methods are used to treat the condition. Individuals may apply a Budin splint to retrain the toes to adapt the original position.
The pad is first placed under the toe and ball of one’s feet. A small elastic strap is then attached to flatten it.
If pain sets in, it is important to seek surgical treatment, however, it is the last resort.
Changes in shoe wear
Avoid shoes with pointed toes, shoes that are too short, or shoes with high heels. These foot conditions can force your toe against the front of the shoe.
Instead, choose comfortable shoes and heels no higher than two inches.
A custom orthotic device placed in your shoe may help control the muscle/tendon imbalance.
Corticosteroid injections are sometimes used to ease pain and inflammation caused by hammertoe.
Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
Splints or small straps may be applied by the surgeon to realign the bent toe.
Tips For Wearing Heels To Avoid Foot Disorders
As earlier highlighted, most foot problems are caused by the kind of shoe people wear. Here are few tips that women who wear high heels could find useful:
- Wear the Right Fit
Ill-fitting heels cause one’s foot to slide forward, which creates additional pressure and pain. Women should look for narrow heels that allow a snug fit to prevent feet problems from developing.
- Invest in Thick Heels
Thick heels provide stability, balance, and relieve the pressure required to distribute weight on the feet. Women may alternate the heel heights to minimize feet problems that develop on the Achilles tendon.
- Use Cushions
Full-shoe inserts help minimize pain on the lower part of the foot. But, if you are standing for a long time in heels, be sure to use silicon metatarsal pads.
- Wear Open-toe Heels
People who have developed corns and calluses should consider wearing open-toe heels to relieve the pressure on the inflamed areas.
Footwear For Men Working In Construction Sites
Construction workers are vulnerable to more severe foot problems like strains, sprains and tears.
Over the years, footwear designed for protection has particularly evolved and now includes waterproof, puncture-resistant and electrical-resistant features.
Workers who perform regular construction activities should wear durable and comfortable work boots to ensure safety.
Aside from the fact that they can last many years and can be worn at all times, regardless of the weather conditions, pull-on work boots are also convenient – no need to tie up shoelaces – and can prevent workplace related injuries, by protecting the toes.
According to Odebrecht Construction Company, employees working on construction sites should look for work boots that have these features:
- Provide impact protection for the soles and ankles
- Have deep patterns or treads and are oil-resistant
- The boot should also provide a composite or steel toe
- Have anti-fatigue insoles (though a little on the high end)
Employees should also conduct regular inspections for signs such as cracks on the midsole that allow water seepage, which leads to foot problems like athlete’s foot.
They should also use anti-slip soles for additional safety.
Clearly, the greatest task lies in preventing foot disorders primarily by wearing comfortable shoes.
The best part is they can be treated using non-invasive methods as doctors usually recommend surgery as a last resort.
Therefore, when you shop your shoe wear – make sure they are as comfortable as possible if you want to avoid foot disorders later on.
With an educational background in Engineering Design and a passion for shoes, Vince is a news geek, especially when it comes to keeping up to date with the industry’s new releases. He posts regularly on social media, so feel to check his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
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