Summary of Chapter 29
Turning back the clock starts with your feet and it is never too late to begin.– Dr. Suzanne Levine
As a podiatrist, I may be prejudiced, but in no other part of your anatomy is your age more dramatically reflected than in your feet. A 67-year-old patient named Lillian, who played golf at least three times a week, came to see me because of pain that had suddenly made it impossible for her to walk. She was bright, alert, and very active, except for her one painful foot. When I examined Lillian’s foot, I found that her big toe joint was stiff, barely moveable, and made a loud cracking noise when pushed. A painful bunion made the toe look even more twisted. Lillian had believed that no corrective procedures were advisable once you were over the age of 50.
But that’s not accurate, especially today with many cutting-edge options. My treatment plan for Lillian included surgical revision of her foot, which included removing her bunion. All the surgery was done under local anesthesia and she was able to walk immediately afterwards. Within weeks, she was back to her normal shoes and sports shoes and on the golf course once more.
Changes in your feet are a result of the normal aging process, but they also may be the first signs of a more serious problem, such as diabetes, vascular disease, arthritis, or a degenerative joint disease. So it’s important to keep on top of any discomfort. In a sense, as you grow older, you’ll want to stay on your toes. The damage from years of wearing ill-fitting shoes, skin problems, corns, calluses, and brittle, bruised nails are seen more often as you get older. If you are over 50, and your feet are killing you, it is well worth the time and money to have a careful foot examination, since you are more susceptible to infections, fractures, toenail changes, and biomechanical deformities like bunions and hammertoes.
The most common problems I see in older patients are ones that I’ve already talked about in previous chapters, but it might be helpful to list them briefly again. These include calluses, dry skin, toenail troubles, numbness, cold feet, foot cramping, a sore that does not heal, and hairless feet and toes.
In this chapter of My Feet Are Killing Me Dr. Levine discusses:
- What are the most common nail problems in older feet?
- How to avoid Nail Problems?
- Why does trauma cause Nail Problems?
- How do Calluses cause Foot Pain in Older People?
- How to Treat Calluses in Older People?
- Self-Help for Older Feet