Is it just me or is it every woman of a certain age that eventually has to deal with ‘old lady feet’? Hard to define precisely, the topic of old lady feet crops up more frequently at social gatherings where women congregate these days. It becomes particularly more commonplace during warmer weather, when most of us tend to be more conscious of our exposed feet.
My feet don’t look that old, but they often really feel it so I guess the term old lady feet applies. While I’ve never really embraced high heels, there was a time that I could put them on and KEEP them on for an entire evening, often even dancing the night away. Now, just the thought of putting on shoes sporting heels higher than 2 ½ inches is enough to make me cringe. These days, comfort trumps all.
If you’re one of those women feeling sorry for the lost feet of youth, don’t despair. Our bodies change as we age and feet aren’t immune to this impact. Here are 5 things that happen to our feet as we get older along with some tips to ease the pain:
- Fat Disappears. We’re born with built-in insoles – collagen and elastin, stuffed with fat tissue on the bottoms of our feet. But collagen decreases as we age, thinning out the fat pads and decreasing the cushioning effect. Your feet may be fine in the morning, but can become quite painful at the end of the day.
Solution: Before considering fat transplants (expensive and little proof they work), seek out cushioned and comfortable shoes. Wear insoles or gel pads if you need to. Have you noticed how many women have embraced the sneaker look; the rise of the Birkenstock? Coincidence? I think not.
- Arthritis Develops. Our bones and joints can degenerate with age causing pain and morning stiffness. The big toe or the joints on the top of your foot are most likely to be affected.
Solution: Try shoe inserts, exercises or losing weight to see if that helps. Seek medical attention if the pain persists.
- Skin Dries Out. The collagen which cushions your feet, also plumps up your skin. A decline in collagen can leave the soles prone to dryness and cracking.
Solution: Take care by applying a hydrating foot or body cream. We love Apothekari Shea Body Butter applied after the bath or shower and again when you go to bed. Wearing socks over top of your moisturizing treatment while you sleep can work wonders.
- Tendons & Ligaments Turn Against You. As you age, your body’s ability to hang on to water declines and you can witness this in your tendons, causing stiff ankles and other body parts. On the flip side, other connective tissues called ligaments may stretch out over time, leaving you with fallen arches and a flatter foot. You may not be as well balanced either, leaving you prone to ankle sprains. Solution: Exercise is your best friend here. Try strengthening exercises like ankle circles and toe raises. Calf raises can help to relieve tight ankles.
- Bunions, Corns and Hammertoes. Improperly fitting shoes, anatomical and hormonal changes and genetics may all play a role in the development of these foot complications. Although not medially serious, they may make you feel self-conscious about your feet.
Solution: Check in with your doctor or a podiatrist to see if they can help. If you feel a lot of pain, surgery may be recommended.
Don’t let old lady feet get you down. A new generation of women now who want fashionable AND comfortable shoes and shoe makers are starting to take notice. Shoes that are functional, supportive AND fashionable are easy to find these days. Sporting low, sturdy heels, cushioned foot beds and rubber soles, this footwear has style to boot.
Splash out on a pedicure and go shoe shopping. Here are a few pairs that have caught my eye recently:
Stuart Weitzman Nudist June Sandal. Isn’t the pink just divine?