Perfecting My Foot

Painful Conditions That Can Keep A Senior Off Of Their Feet

As you age, the bones and muscles in your feet change. Sometimes the change can have painful consequences. Most of these foot problems can be treated by a podiatrist so you can walk again without pain. Here are some of the common problems that seniors experience and what a foot doctor can do to help.

Bunions - This is an abnormal growth of bone at the base and side of your big toe. As it grows larger, it pushes the big toe toward your other toes. Your shoes will begin to rub on the bump created by the bony growth, which can cause a callus or sore spot on your foot. Eventually you'll find it difficult to wear shoes. The podiatrist can shave away part of the bone to reduce the bump and allow your toe to return to its normal position.

Hammer Toes - With this condition, the tendons in your toes contract and cause them to curl down. This makes the tops of the toes vulnerable to rubbing against your shoes. Your toes can develop painful sores and blisters and make wearing shoes difficult. Your foot doctor may have you try a shoe insert which forces the toes back into a more normal position. If this doesn't provide enough relief, surgery can be done to release the tendons that are pulling on the toes.

Plantar corns - If the skin over a bony surface on the foot is constantly irritated by your shoes rubbing on it, a tough callus can form. This callus will grow thicker and harder over time. It can become large enough to make it difficult to wear shoes. Your podiatrist will have you try special pads to cushion the area around the corn. A medication may help soften and dissolve the corn. When these fail to give relief, the corn can be surgically removed.

Neuromas - This is a nerve that has been irritated over time so that it is now very sensitive to touch. Often occurring between the third and fourth toes, the nerve can react painfully to just a sock being pulled over the area. Your foot doctor will need to remove the irritated tissue around the nerve to give you relief from the pain.

Bone spurs - Tiny pieces of bone can grow out from surfaces, such as the heel bone. These normally aren't noticeable, unless they interfere with a muscle or tendon. Then they will cause inflammation and pain in the area. If the bone spur is on your heel, you may find it too painful to walk. You podiatrist will have you try a shoe insert, which removes some of the pressure over the bone spur. The body will eventually absorb the bone growth. If it continues to be a painful issue, the bone spur can be surgically removed by a podiatrist like Jeffrey M Marks DPM.