Taking Care of Your Feet
What aging can bring: Dry skin, swelling, stiffness, bunions, hammertoes.
What the research shows: “Your feet may change size as you get older due to water retention or ligaments that relax,” says Jane Andersen, a podiatrist and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. In extreme cases, badly fitting shoes can lead to problems like bunions and hammertoes.
What you can do: Have your feet measured yearly (ideally at the end of the day), and vary your shoe types and heel heights. Bunions and hammertoes “come from repetitive motions,” says Andersen, “and can often be prevented with supportive shoes that fit well, plus orthotics to neutralize foot position.” Weight-bearing exercises will beef up bone density (the feet are a common site of osteoporosis). Andersen recommends moisturizing the feet nightly with a gentle exfoliator or an intense moisturizing lotion to keep them soft and supple.