Have you noticed that you aren’t as spry as you were in your youth? Perhaps you are experiencing foot or ankle pain that is different from anything you have experienced before. Maybe you are undergoing a life change that is forcing you to re-examine your level of activity. Our bodies are notorious for changing with time. Here in New York, I like to help my patients face whatever stage of life they are in with confidence and strength. Below are a few ways our feet and ankles change as we age. If you have questions about your health in the season of life that you are facing, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for advice. I’m always happy to help!
Kids and Teens
When are young, our bodies are the most flexible they will likely ever be. Individuals in this age range have a lot of endurance and curiosity: just ask any parent raising one and you will hear stories of nonstop energy and bedtimes that can’t come soon enough. This is also an age where routines and norms are established, so it is important that you pay close attention to how your kids respond to situations, including injuries. Sometimes, kids and young adults feel a need to impress coaches, friends, and even parents by “playing through the pain” and pushing their limits, even when their feet or ankles are hurting. By allowing them to ignore injuries and keep on with their normal activities, they risk more significant damage down the line as well as a misguided understanding of what makes a person strong. Parents and other mentors can help kids understand when it is appropriate to see a professional about an injury.
20s and 30s
If you are active as a teenager, it’s hard to give up those habits when you age, especially in your 20s and 30s when social activities often include movement, like intramural teams, hiking trips, and other adventures. Some individuals may also play sports in college, whether casually or on a team. While individuals in this age range might feel young at heart, their joints are beginning to feel differently. As time continues and activities don’t let up, people face a more significant risk of injury. To combat damage, be mindful of stretching before and after movement and investing in proper footwear for the activities you are participating in.
40s and 50s
Middle age is a time when those “old football injuries” really seem to pop up and cause problems. At this stage of life, joints are less flexible and also susceptible to osteoporosis and arthritis that can slow you down and limit mobility. Staying active is a great way to combat advanced aging and stay healthy overall, but it’s important that you seek assistance if you encounter any injuries along the way. If you have had a foot or ankle procedure in the past and are once again having issues with the damaged area, a revision surgery or regenerative therapy might be a helpful solution.
Senior citizens are no strangers to foot issues. Problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including joint damage and diabetic complications. A common concern among senior patients in my office are bunions and hammertoes. These painful conditions are often caused by overuse and improper footwear. Thankfully, surgical procedures can greatly alleviate the discomfort that they cause. Some seniors also benefit from total ankle replacements when natural cartilage is no longer what it once was and individuals want to be active to participate in recreational activities and keep up with grandchildren.
Foot and ankle issues are common at any age and stage of life. My goal is to help you deal with yours in a way that is both effective and practical