As you age, changes to your body and feet can make foot pain more likely. This can make daily activities more difficult and even increase your risk of falling.
Much of managing and preventing foot pain can come down to proper footwear. Here are some common problems and solutions to help you find a perfect shoe:
Problem: Changing foot sizes: Your feet may change in size and shape, usually getting wider and longer.
Solution: Ask to have your foot measured — including the width — at a shoe store, keeping in mind that one foot can be slightly larger than the other, so you should buy for the larger foot. Wear the socks you would normally wear with the shoes, as this will affect the fit. Try shoes on near the end of the day when your feet are their largest.
Problem: Bumps or protrusions on feet: These can be caused by hammertoes, corns, bunions and bone spurs. Shoes that don’t fit properly can further irritate these problems by rubbing or pressing against them. Ill-fitting shoes, hammertoes and bunions can also cause pain at the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia).
Solution: The front of the shoe (toe box), should be roomy, with a half inch between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Never buy shoes that are too tight. You can also have shoes professionally stretched in areas of irritation. For metatarsalgia, metatarsal pads or cushions may help ease impact on the affected joint, as can appropriate footwear.
Problem: Poor shoe quality and selection: Shoes can be expensive, and it’s tempting to select a low-cost shoe that doesn’t fit great or provides minimal support. Wearing old, worn-out shoes that have quit providing support or tread grip can also be a problem in terms of foot health and safety.
Solution: When buying a shoe, opt for a stiff heel that doesn’t give way when pressing on it, a toe box that is semi-flexible, and a shoe that does not twist in the middle when you try to twist it.
Join the discussion at the Aging well support group. Let others know about shoes you love and how to keep your feet happy!