Over the years as I've treated patients in my practice, many of my older patients have made the comment to me "don't get old". I just tell them OK! I think what they mean is that throughout their years of activities, their joints and muscles aren't moving as well. Unfortunately, with the foot and ankle we were made to believe that it was normal to have pain. Many of us just learn to live with the pain. When our feet hurt we decrease our activity level which then results in a snowball effect - our pain then increases throughout our entire body.
As patients get older, they are unable to stand or walk long distances. By the time they get to see me, there is usually a combination of issues to blame; the most common is arthritis. Usually individuals that are in pain no longer walk correctly due to their compensating to overcome the pain. Over time their gait changes into what I call a protective gait. They walk the way they have to in order to reduce the pain. The bones, tendons and ligaments are no longer used in the way that they were created to be used. This allows damage in the ways of arthritis, scar tissue, and muscle weakness to develop. The only remedy at this point is MOTION! That old saying "if you don't use it, you'll lose it" is true. While you are sitting, move those legs and wiggle those toes. Take those classes that promote motion. Include it as part of your life style. Motion will slow down the arthritis and help with the circulation. Ask your podiatrist what simple motions you can do to improve your lifestyle!
Dr. James Anderson DPM
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