Looking forward to a retirement filled with… anything you like? Whether you’re retired or nearing it, it’s an exciting time that many spend decades looking forward to, knowing you can plan your days on your own terms, and finally enjoy all the things you haven’t had time for previously.
There’s just one thing that many people don’t plan for: when their feet or legs can’t keep up with what they want to do. In part, this is a result of the natural changes to our bodies that come with ageing. In another part, it’s the decades on our feet, expecting them to take us everywhere, day after day, with little time made to take care of them to help them do this safely. It all adds up, and the result may be that retirement can look quite different than what we’d imagined.
The good news? It’s not too late to start looking after your feet. Here are four key ways to help look after your feet and legs so they can look after you through your retirement.
1. Wear Supportive Shoes & Slippers
As your feet move along the ground, a variety of forces are transferred through your bones, joints, muscles and ligaments. One of the factors of ageing is that we have less natural protection in our feet, bones can be more prominent, and the threshold of what our feet can handle before injury occurs lessens – making us more vulnerable without the right support and protection.
The role of a good shoe is to support the foot with every step, so that the impact of the forces is significantly lessened. This reduces your risk of pain and injury. Your shoes also help improve your stability at your feet and ankles, helping prevent falls and sprains. Given the thinner and more vulnerable nature of the skin in our golden years, wearing shoes outside and slippers inside also helps protect against cuts and wounds from stones, loose items on our floors, stubbing toes on the corners of tables and more.
2. Keep Moving
It’s natural to assume that when we feel any pain, that we should be resting and taking it easy. This is likely what has caused many people to believe that in retirement, the more they rest, the healthier their body will grow and the less pain they’ll experience, if they’re currently experiencing any. The truth is quite the opposite.
Staying active through retirement is an absolute must – and it’s this regular activity that will help us stay comfortable, mobile and independent. This is because physical activity helps us keep our muscles and our bones strong, so we can stay moving without restrictions. Physical activity has countless other benefits for our heart health and other illnesses, reducing the risk for diabetes and much more. The less we move, the weaker we’ll grow, and the less we’ll be able to move when we want to.
3. Take Care Of Your Nails And Skin Around Your Feet
Caring for your nails and skin, especially before they become a problem, is an important way to help you stay active and do the things you love in your retirement. When callus is left and allowed to build up, it can quickly feel like you’re walking on a painful pebble. If nails are left unmanaged, they can grow hard, thick and painful.
If you find your feet difficult to reach and care for, or you’re unsure how to take the best care of your feet, see your podiatrist for professional help. Here at Perform Podiatry, we offer treatment for all skin and nail problems ranging from ingrown toenail to fungal nail infections to cracked heels and warts. We also offer medical pedicures for safe, hygienic foot care to give you peace of mind.
4. Don’t Let Foot Or Leg Pain Progress Past A Niggle Or Ache
When a dull ache starts, or you experience pain, it’s your body’s warning sign that something isn’t quite right. It’s very important to listen to this sign, and a dull ache or niggle caused by a mild stress fracture or a mild muscle strain can quickly progress and worsen to a large fracture or a severe sprain or even tear in the muscle. The more severe the injury, the longer and more complex it is to manage and recover from. This takes away time from your hard-earned retirement where you’re unable to do the things you planned – and like we mentioned before, the more downtime you have, the weaker your body can grow and the more effort it takes to recover.
If pain starts, we highly recommend seeing your podiatrist to help manage it and nip it at the bud. This is something we help many people with every week, with the goal of keeping them happy, mobile, active and doing the things they love.
With treatment, it’s important to not just address the symptoms, but also understand why they occurred, to help prevent the problem from happening again in the future. This is an important focus for our podiatrists – we want to help you lead a long and active life without pain, as opposed to seeing us a few times a year for the same pain coming back and needing treatment.
Want To Stay Active Through Your Retirement?
If your feet or legs are holding you back from the goal of staying active through your retirement, then our podiatry team here in Remuera, Auckland, are here to help. We’re proud to help thousands of people every year look after their foot health. We’d love for you to join us.