Treatments Keep Seniors Active and Pain Free
Senior citizens with foot pain can do something about it. Instead of abiding by the faulty but commonly accepted notion that muscle and joint discomfort is a natural consequence of aging, seniors with foot problems should seek treatment rather than needlessly endure pain that will deprive them of an active lifestyle, according to Dr. Jeffrey S. Hurless DPM, and a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
"Unfortunately many seniors believe it's normal to have pain as you get older, but nothing could be further from the truth," says Dr. Hurless. "As a result, they usually don't seek treatment for painful abnormalities such as bunions, which are caused by genetic defects-not old age-and can be corrected with surgery and a short recovery period."
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that bunion
surgery is more than 80 percent successful in relieving pain. "In older patients, bunions
are very debilitating because these deformities worsen and become more painful over time," said Dr. Hurless. "Given the outstanding success rate of corrective forefoot surgery, there is no reason for many seniors to be debilitated by bunions.
Furthermore, the adverse health implications of being inactive are far more serious than any risk associated with surgery."
Dr. Hurless said seniors who are avid walkers
frequently have heel pain
, especially if they've been relatively inactive for the winter months. For those experiencing this problem, Dr. Hurless advised that taking ibuprofen or aspirin and doing daily stretching exercises usually provides some relief. Good quality diabetic or orthopedic footwear
is crucial in preventing heel pain.
But if heel pain persists more than two weeks, he recommends consultation with a foot and ankle surgeon for definitive diagnosis and treatment.
Chronic heel pain
originates deep within the foot, directly on the heel or within the bone's connective tissues, called the fascia. Pain can result when fascia becomes irritated or inflamed or when small spurs
grow on the heel bone. In the large majority of cases, persistent heel pain can be treated successfully with orthotics,
according to Dr. Hurless. " Orthotics,
provide a cushion and support that help reduce inflammation and stress in the heel area."