A part of getting older is paying attention in the way you care for yourself. At 30 you might sacrifice your legs for a pair of strappy heels, whereas at 50 you will sacrifice your fashion statement for a pair of comfortable walking shoes.
Our feet are easy to neglect – but they need some loving care, especially as we get older, podiatrist Emily Smith explains.
“From the day we start walking, our feet are subject to extreme conditions. The foot is an extremely resilient part of the body, but its biological age and appearance is influenced by many factors, both internal and external, all compounded by its complex musculoskeletal structure.”
Choose the right footwear
To make sure your shoes fit and function well, look for:
- Shoes with a suitable length – not too short and not too long.
- Appropriate width (not too tight or too loose), with the right shape to fit your foot.
- Adequately fastened shoes that are securely fitted onto the foot without requiring gripping or activation of your toes to hold it in place.
Care for your shoes
As much as you can, try to:
- Replace or repair your footwear before the wear and tear starts to show.
- Avoid hand-me-downs of footwear – they rarely fit appropriately and are often ‘worn in’ to the previous owner’s foot.
Give your feet some love
Here are a few strategies you can use to treat and prevent aches and pains:
- Use a tennis ball to massage your foot at the end of the day.
- Stretch the top of your foot and your toes by using your hand to apply downward pressure across the toes.
- While sitting barefoot, without assistance spread your toes. Hold the toe spread position for as long as possible and repeat five times daily.
- Stretch your calf muscles daily by dropping your foot off a step. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat five times each leg.
Take care of your general health and fitness
Keep your body in optimal shape by:
- Maintaining a healthy bodyweight.
- Eating a well-balanced diet.
- Undertaking regular weight-bearing exercise of more than 30 mins per day.
- Seeking specialist medical opinion for assessment of ongoing pain or injury.