With age comes change, and this happens in all parts of your body – including your feet. Some of these changes result from various lifestyle factors when you were younger, but some are natural. If these changes begin to cause foot pain, they can interfere with your ability to walk, exercise, and participate in activities you find fun.
Let’s take a look at five of the most common foot and ankle problems that tend to occur in your 50s, and where you can go in St. Charles County for comprehensive foot care and treatment of joint pain.
Common Foot and Ankle Problems for People Over 50
Five of the main issues that tend to cause pain or stiffness in your foot and ankle when you’re over 50 include the following:
Most arthritis cases happen due to normal wear and tear on your joints, and your feet and ankles are no exception. Arthritis can cause pain and loss in the range of motion, and this can stop you from exercising and even performing your usual activities.
Whereas the most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis – which is caused by the wearing-down of the protective cartilage in a joint – another common type is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where your body inadvertently attacks the protective synovial lining of the joints, including your feet and ankles, but this condition can also attack other organs in the body. RA can cause debilitating deformities in the joints that can’t be repaired, so proactive treatment is imperative.
Metabolic arthritic disorders such as gout can also cause severe foot pain, especially in the big toe. Gout happens when the level of uric acid in your system is high. The uric acid forms crystals which can lodge in a joint, and this can cause severe pain and can interfere with the movement of the joint.
#2: Heel Pain
As we get older, the skin, tendons, and ligaments all experience some degree of thinning and dryness. You might suffer from the loss of some of the protective cushiony fat in your heel.
You may also experience stiffness and inflexibility of the Achilles tendon (in the back of the lower leg, just above the heel) or plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the long strip of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot connecting your toes to your heel. Any tearing or stretching of the plantar fascia is reflected as heel pain.
#3: Nail Fungus
You have seen other people who have thick, yellow toenails. This is a sign of nail fungus. Nail fungus can be caused by warm, moist environments like wet shoes or sweaty socks, and we tend to become less careful of drying off our feet and toes as we get older. This can make us susceptible to nail fungus.
#4: Toe Deformity
Many types of toe deformities can cause foot pain or problems with walking and balance. Bunions and corns are common types of foot deformities that can develop in the feet as we get older.
A bunion occurs when the base of your big toe develops a malformation and juts outward in the foot, making your foot wider. Bunions are caused by shoes that are too tight, often from high-heeled or pointy-toed shoes – as the constant inward pressure placed on the toes causes the big toe to be pushed inward and over the adjacent toe, while the bottom of the joint compensates by moving outward.
Corns are like warts that form on the toes. However, they are hard in the center (like a kernel of corn) and painful. Most corns develop on the pinkie toe. It becomes too painful to wear your normal shoes and can change your walking gait, which can lead to knee and hip problems.
#5: Circulatory Changes with Foot and Ankle Swelling
Underlying health issues such as diabetes and heart disease can lead to poor circulation, which can especially affect your feet and ankles. You may notice sudden and unexpected swelling in your ankles.
Diabetic foot can cause problems with sensation in the feet and toes. Some diabetic patients experience numbness and tingling, but this can be dangerous because you can sustain a minor injury to the foot which develops into a non-healing wound called a diabetic ulcer.
While most people feel foot pain if they have even a minor problem, such as an ingrown toenail, a diabetic may not feel the pain and will therefore continue to apply pressure to the area – thereby not allowing it to heal. If a diabetic doesn’t check their feet carefully every day, this type of issue can cause a dangerous open sore to develop.
Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Care in St. Charles County, MO
Our highly experienced medical team here at Advanced Bone & Joint provides high-quality foot and ankle care, including orthopedic care and podiatry. Foot pain, swelling, or stiffness can make it difficult to enjoy your busy lifestyle. All of our physicians and staff at Advanced Bone & Joint want to help you relieve any issues with your joints.
Don’t let joint pain or bone pain become a problem. Call us today at (636) 229-4222 to schedule your consultation and evaluation or use our online request form. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!