HOW DOES AGE AFFECT OUR FEET?Ah youth! I remember those days. Actually I am not too far away from that, and I see youthful enthusiasm in my kids all the time. I always feel young at heart. But that doesn't mean that my body matches that! No, my body doesn't quite recover as fast from working out as when I was in my 20's. In fact there are days when I feel an ache or a pain that I didn't have before I went to bed. And all I can attribute it to is age. It's not fair, but it is reality! Age affects our bodies! That reality doesn't keep me from striving to be healthy and fit, and I truly believe many can reach their peak physical fitness level way past their 30's. But if we are to do that, we need to know things to look out for along the journey to health. One of those things to look out for, is the way we take care of our feet as they age. As I started to get older, I noticed some of my friends, a few relatives, and my wife, complaining about their feet hurting almost all the time. For some, they complained of a very intense knife stabbing pain in their heels, and others described it as a constant throbbing. None of them wanted to get out of bed in the morning because they knew the first few steps would really cause their pain to soar. Whatever it was, I knew I sure didn't want it! After their diagnosis, it almost always came back that it was plantar's fasciitis that they were dealing with, and that it was probably brought on because of their age. It is true that those in the age range of 40-60 are at risk for plantar fasciitis. Without my doing much research, I concluded that it made sense, our feet get older too, so they start to wear out. But with all of them experiencing the same symptoms (and painful ones at that), I wanted to know more about why this was happening. In technical terms it is actually quite simple. Think of your plantar fascia (that connective tissue that runs from your heels to your toes) as a rubber band. When we are young, that tissue is very stretchy and can take a lot of stress. As we age, that rubber band becomes more like a rope, without a lot of stretch left. As we continue to place stress on our feet, that lack of stretchiness, instead starts to cause small micro-tears in our plantar fascia. This leads to inflammation of that tissue which causes all the pain where that connective tissue is attached (the heel). The heel feels the pain first, because that is where the pull is coming from. The plantar fascia is connected to the heel. Oh, and add to that, our fat pads on our heels also get thinner as we age. Imagine those great running shoes with fantastic insoles that make you feel so comfortable. (You know that's why you bought them!) Now take that insole out, and put in a half used one. That is the picture of what is happening to the fat pads in our heels -they just can't absorb the same amount of shock! One more thing to think about that happens as we age is we often put on more weight. (I know I hate to admit this one.) These excess pounds add more stress to our less padded heels and our less stretchy plantar fascia. Instead of making their work easier, we make it harder the heavier we get. Undoubtedly age affects our feet! But let me leave you with this. You don't have to live with Plantar Fasciitis! There are treatments, there are cures! In fact click here for the thing that cured my wife. She swears by them. Until next time! Cheers, Drew Nak Fitness
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