Sometimes an interesting article from the past pops up on the radar with information that is just as relevant today as when it when it appeared a few years ago. Today I discovered an article about aging and foot health, published in January 2007, and I wish that I had read it when it originally came out. The piece answered many of my questions about aging and foot health, issues that arose in the process of helping two elderly parents.
So often I’ve often wondered why the feet of many aging adults appear to be jammed into their shoes. The Los Angeles Times Health Section article, What’s in Store for Those Aging Feet?, explains why. In fact, the first sentence explains how almost everything in elderhood seems to shrink except for feet. People’s feet enlarge and flatten with age, the article reports.
Readers learn about darkening toenails, thinning pads, weakening tissue, and how the changes make people put different amounts of pressure on parts of the feet that are critical to balance. The article refers to research that was about to be published, Age Related Differences in Foot Structure and Function (abstract), that found an association between aging and changes in foot characteristics which in turn contribute to a change in walking patterns (gait).
Another tidbit from the LA Times article, “A 2006 study [abstract] looked at the footwear choices of 440 patients at a U.S. veterans’ affairs hospital — most of whom were men, averaging about 67 — and found that only 25% of them were wearing the right size shoe,” makes it clear that we need to be concerned about the shoes our parents wear in their later years. Moreover, we adult children probably need to think about the shoes we are wearing right now.
Yes, it’s an older article, but one to read if you have aging parents or even if you just want to be aware of the changes that may well occur to your own feet.