The Benefits Of Orthotics For Seniors
Seniors are just like every other member of the population. They want to enjoy their lives, have memorable experiences, and feel free from aches and pains. Some seniors may need a little more help to get there and orthotics can likely be an invaluable solution.
Foot problems are unlike certain other ailments. There isn’t a direct cure except in certain specific instances where surgery may be necessary. Some people are born with foot problems and others develop them later in life. Whether seniors have always had foot problems or they find that they seem to have slowly appeared independently or as a result of another ailment, orthotics can provide the relief that seniors need.
The Prevalence Of Foot Problems In Seniors
Feet have a very important job to do. Most people spend at least four hours a day on their feet, and as we walk, we’re putting the pressure of the entirety of our body weight on our feet. The impact of our weight hitting the ground reverberates through our feet, which absorb the shock of each step.
It’s no surprise that foot related issues are a somewhat normal occurrence with the passage of time, but it’s always necessary to consult with a doctor if you are a senior experiencing frequent or prolonged foot pain. It sometimes creeps up, but it may occur suddenly, with or without being provoked by an injury.
Foot problems are relatively common in seniors, even if they are otherwise exceptionally healthy. Between both feet, there are 52 bones, 66 joints, and upwards of 240 nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. That’s a lot of components that keep the foot working, and since they’ve been in use for decades, some of them may be a little worse for wear.
The Contributing Factors Of Foot Problems In Seniors
The majority of seniors report foot pain in the form of plantar fasciitis, which manifests itself as pain in the heel and the heel spur, and a burning sensation around the ball of the foot called metatarsalgia. While these types of foot pain are also somewhat common among the population at large, they seem to occur more frequently in older adults.
There are a number of reasons that an older adult may experience discomfort in the feet. Overuse injuries are common in seniors who have spent a significant portion of their lives on their feet. Another contributing factor may be preexisting injuries that were not properly managed. Wearing the wrong size or width of shoe for a prolonged period of time can cause pain as well as deformities, which is why it’s of the utmost importance to select properly fitted footwear.
Certain diseases, especially at advanced stages, can have a negative effect on the foot health of seniors. Diabetes, for example, and profoundly affect the feet by promoting fluid retention, soreness, circulatory problems, and excessively sensitive skin. As many as half of seniors may experience rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, which causes frequent inflammation in the joints of the feet.
How Orthotics Can Correct These Foot Problems
Orthotics are designed to change the way the feet work by managing distribution of weight and providing support to the structure of the feet in areas where the structure may be naturally insufficient. Orthotics can also be used for the management of foot deformities by preventing them from worsening with time.
Custom orthotics can be designed to specifically accommodate a senior’s feet. These orthotics will come in the form of orthotic insoles, foot orthotics, or ankle-foot orthotics depending on the scope of the issue being addressed. Custom orthotics are always a better choice than general fit orthotics, because no two people in the world have the same feet. While predesigned solutions may provide minimal relief, nothing will be as effective as an orthotic that has been made with a senior’s feet and special concerns in mind.
Some seniors may need orthotics designed for sensitive feet. Post-surgical orthotics are different from long term orthotics. When a senior has recently had foot surgery, an orthotic provider can work with the senior’s doctors to create an orthotic that will assist in the healing process.
Seniors with diabetes have very sensitive feet. Since diabetes causes swelling in the feet, devices that cause friction may cause bruising or lesions on the feet. Diabetic orthotics and diabetic shoes are designed to minimize the potential or new injuries or the worsening of existing injuries that might stem from the use of the orthotic.
Finding The Right Orthotics For Seniors
Crafting orthotics for seniors requires a lot of care and attention to detail. If you’re a senior in need of orthotics or you’re assisting a senior who needs them, we’re able to provide them. We’re experienced orthotic professionals who are well versed in the needs of seniors, no matter how special those needs may be.