Feet often lose out in the beauty stakes, because frankly, when we’re curled up on the sofa, they’re out of sight and out of mind. How often do you buy a new footcare product, compared to a face cream, eh?
But feet require just as much TLC as we get older, says podiatrist Dina Gohil, and the changes they go through may cause pain and discomfort.
“As you age, your feet are affected just like the rest of your body, skin can become more dry, nails can become more brittle, the fatty padding in the balls of your feet can migrate up, making them feel more exposed to the ground. Arthritis is not guaranteed in old age for everyone, but is seen frequently with age.”
Gohil reveals the common foot ageing issues and how to deal with them…
1. Discoloured nails
These are one of the symptoms of a fungal nail infection, with 1 in 10 people suffering from the condition. Older people can be more susceptible to such an infection due to factors such as a weaker immune system and symptoms of the menopause.
Dina says: “Fungal nail isn’t caused by menopause but can come as a result of other problems linked to menopause. If menopausal women suffer from hyperhidrosis, this could include potential sweating of the feet, where the excessive moisture creates a warm and friendly environment where fungal nail can develop. If you suffer from brittle nails, you may also experience nail traumas, which can cause discomfort, and if your nails are not strong, it can be easy for fungal nail to easily set in.”
Treatment: If you think you do have a fungal nail infection, try Canespro Fungal Nail Treatment Set which can remove the infected part of the nail in 2 to 3 weeks.
2. Dry and cracked heels
Most women (71%) have hard skin and cracked heels, according to research. But as you age, the skin dries out even more due to less collagen, a lifetime of placing pressure onto your feet, and even ill-fitting shoes.
Dina says: “Looking after your feet from an early stage in life will dynamically improve and maintain the health and ‘foot age’ of your feet. Using moisturizers specifically for feet can help maintain flexibility, reduce discomfort from dry skin, reduces the amount of hard skin that builds up also. Your skin is like a sponge and hydration is needed, so be sure to have enough water each day. The ingredient in foot cream that is most effective is urea.”
Treatment: Try using a trusted heel balm, such as Flexitol Heel Balm, which hydrates dry, cracked heels and feet and contains 25% urea.
3. Foot Pain
As you age, the fatty padding (collagen) in the balls of your feet reduces, leaving them more exposed to the ground, increasing the impact of each step. Your feet have more than 30 joints which can deteriorate with age, so another cause of foot pain is arthritis.
Dina says: “Footwear is pivotal; wearing shoes that are supportive, comfortable and padded will definitely reduce any pain that can be associated with age. Any form of exercise is always seen as good thing, the same applies for your feet. Small exercises for your feet can help strength, mobility and flexibility.”
Treatment: Products such as Movelat Relief Gel and Cream are effective for local relief of pain and inflammation caused by mild arthritic conditions, stiffness, sprains and muscular pains.
4. Brittle Nails
The water content of nails decreases as you age, so you might find yourself getting brittle nails, which may peel, split, crack or become ridged as the nail dries out and loses its flexibility.
Dina says: “Brittle nails can be due to hormonal changes as well as diet or other underlying medical conditions. Using almond or tea tree oil is a great way to replenish the nails. Making sure you are eating a well-balanced meal is also important.”
Treatment: Try Holland & Barrett Skin Hair & Nails Formula Caplets, which help maintain healthy nails and support the vital nutrients required as part of a balanced diet.