Although retirement is supposed to be a time to take it easy, retirees spend a lot of time on their feet. Many of the pleasures of having a little more free time – travelling chasing after grandchildren and volunteering– require a lot of standing or walking. However, seniors’ enjoyment of these simple long awaited pleasures is often reduced because of foot problems that develop with age.
As people grow older, their feet change in shape and size, the fat pads on their heels and the balls of their feet may decrease, and many develop poor circulation in their lower limbs. Although these changes are a normal part of aging, seniors need to pay extra attention to their feet or they may develop serious pain and mobility issues which will prevent them from doing the things they love.
One of the most common causes of foot pain and injuries in older adults is poor fitting shoes. A career spent in high heels or fashionable, ill-fitting shoes often leads to bunions, corns and hammertoes later in life, which need to be accommodated with special shoes, orthotics and/or other solutions. Also, feet may change in shape with age so even if people have worn the same size shoes all of their adult lives, their shoes may suddenly become too tight or begin to rub.
Age increases the risk of type II diabetes, and diabetes can cause reduced circulation and loss of feeling in the lower limbs and feet As a result seniors living with diabetes may develop unnoticed foot injuries because of poor sensation in the feet. An untreated foot wound can be very serious, in some cases even leading to amputation, so daily foot checks for blisters, irritations and other wounds are essential if you are living with diabetes.
To stay mobile and pain free during retirement it is best to wear securely fitting, stable shoes with adjustable closures (laces or Velcro) and wide toe boxes. Equally important is having your feet measured and fitted by a foot professional, such as a Canadian Certified Pedorthist. A Pedorthist will recommend the best shoes for your foot type and condition and make sure they fit perfectly so they don’t pinch or irritate your feet.
After a lifetime of working hard, you deserve to enjoy all of the benefits of retirement. Don’t let sore or injured feet slow you down. Book an appointment with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist and find out what footwear is appropriate for your feet and lifestyle needs whether custom foot orthotics are right for you.
By Alison Smith, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C), Moncton, NB