Foot Health Awareness Brought to you by Senior Extra at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

MOORESVILLE, NC (April 2, 2013) – “Oh my aching feet …” Foot pain and discomfort are common among older adults — decades of walking, standing and general wear and tear are hard on your feet. In fact, according to the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging, 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 suffer from foot pain, aches or stiffness.

April is National Foot Health Awareness Month, and Lake Norman Regional Medical Center’s Senior Extra program would like to share tips on how to prevent foot problems and keep your feet healthy.

Put your best foot forward

As you age, your feet go through changes that may lead to foot problems, even if you've never experienced problems in the past. Feet tend to spread, often causing your shoe size to change, and arches become flatter and less flexible. You lose much of the cushioning under the ball of your foot and your heel. The skin on your feet gets thinner and loses elasticity, making you more susceptible to injuries and infection. Additionally, conditions such as diabetes, obesity, arthritis and circulatory problems may increase your risk of developing foot problems.

The good news is that most foot problems can be treated effectively. By practicing a few healthy habits, you can help prevent many common problems, as well as identify signs of more serious conditions. Be kind to your feet by:

  • Washing them daily. Use soap and water, and wash between your toes. Be sure to dry them thoroughly before putting on socks or shoes.
  • Checking them often. Look for cuts, blisters, bumps, bruises or ingrown toenails. Inspect both the top and bottom of your foot, and between your toes. If you have diabetes, you should check your feet every day. Look for any breaks in the skin or sores, red patches, blisters, infections, or buildup of calluses. If you notice any of these, talk to your doctor.
  • Wearing properly fitting shoes. Poor-fitting shoes are one of the main causes of foot problems. Have your feet measured each time you buy shoes; don’t assume they’re the same size as the last time you bought shoes. Always try on shoes and walk around before buying to ensure they’re comfortable, supportive and easy to walk in. Avoid narrow or high-heeled shoes, those with slippery soles, or those with little support or protection.

Good foot care and regular foot checks are an important part of your health care. Foot problems can be the first sign of more serious conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and nerve or circulatory disorders. If you have any problems, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.

Treat your feet to better circulation

There are some steps you can take to improve circulation and enhance foot health:

  • Put your feet up when you’re sitting down.
  • Stretching, walking or gentle foot massage can all help improve circulation in your feet.
  • A warm foot bath is a great way to soothe aches and pains, as well as improve blood flow.
  • If you’ve been sitting for a long period of time, stand up and move around every so often. If you cross your legs, reverse or uncross them regularly.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking hinders good circulation, and increases your risk of lung and heart disease, cancer, respiratory problems and osteoporosis — plenty of good reasons to avoid smoking.

Your feet have been supporting you for years — return the favor by giving them a little extra attention. By practicing some healthy habits, you can help prevent common problems and be aware of any changes that might signal more serious health conditions.

About Senior Extra

Ever-changing advancements in health care allow us to live longer and improve our overall health. Providing the latest information about health advancements through monthly seminars and events is just one facet of Senior Extra. To sign up for a free membership, visit www.SeniorExtra.com.

About Lake Norman Regional Medical Center

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care to individuals throughout the greater Lake Norman region. Located just off I-77 at Exit 33, the Mooresville medical campus offers complete specialty services from 24-hour emergency medicine and maternity to oncology and advanced surgical services.