My feet hurt. I’ve been wearing flip flops for years. How can that be the problem? As we age our bodies change...
My feet hurt. I’ve been wearing flip flops for years. How can that be the problem?
A 48 year old female patient presents to the office for arch and foot pain. Patient says that her feet have recently become painful to stand and walk. She states that her pain is mostly after she sits for a while and places her feet initially on the floor. The patient describes the pain as excruciating. She continues to tell me that she only wears flip flops (ie. shower shoes) and that due to financial difficulty she is unable to buy a supportive pair of tennis shoes.
Arch and foot pain can be likely due a number of reasons. In my practice I see a lot of women, usually over the age of 40, that come in for arch or foot pain. The story is usually one that describes what she has “always” worn on her feet and how it has never given her problems before. Being a female myself telling a fellow “double X” chromosome carrier that there comes a time where she cannot do what she did 20 years prior is not and easy sell. The fact is that this is true. I will give you a personal example and one using the opposite sex even!
My brother is a very accomplished F-16 fighter pilot who has an adorable 4 year old daughter (my niece) whom he will move mountains for. About 3 months ago she says, “Daddy I wanna go roller skating!” Of course, what baby girl wants, baby girl gets. He proceeds to take his daughter skating. As he watches she says, “Daddy, please skate with me!” Again, he obliges. Now, although my brother can fly a jet and speak about g-forces, a skater he has never been. “Snappo!” As soon as he gets on those skates he fractures his ankle and has surgery the very next day with a plate and 9 screws. My point proven. Although he used to fall a thousand times on those skates when we were kids and come out unscathed it comes a time to put the skates down. That time is now. The same goes for my patient.
As we age our bodies change due to the whole aging process. The foot is a complex unit of 26 bones and four layers of muscles that make up the plantar (bottom) of the foot. Minor changes in shoe gear can cause all types of pain in all parts of the foot. The first thing you want to do, at any age, is to always check your shoe gear. Change your shoes to a more supportive shoe, preferably a tennis shoe. This may not be a 100% cure all, but if you see even small decreases in your pain, you are headed in the right direction. At that point, make an appointment with your podiatrist. He or she will then give you a full podiatric assessment and proceed to treat you based on your individual needs.