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A Medical Checklist Assessing Changes in Your Feet

Photo: Courtesy of Cristian Newman

Jeffrey E. Johnson, M.D.

President, American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society

Did you know that the average person takes approximately 10,000 steps per day? That can add up to more than 3 million steps per year, with each step placing two to three times the force of your body weight on your feet, depending on whether you are walking or running. Over time, this can lead to changes in the look and feel of your feet and ankles.

Many of these changes are normal and associated with aging, such as:

  • Your foot becoming wider and longer, causing increase in your shoe size
  • Mild settling of your arch, seen as flattening of your foot
  • Thinning of the fat pad on the bottom of your foot
  • Loss of range of motion and increased stiffness in your feet and ankles

On the other hand, some foot changes can occur that are abnormal. These conditions can cause pain and discomfort, and may become serious if not treated.   

Bunion — A swollen, sore bump on your big toe, which starts to point toward the little toes. More than one-third of women in America suffer from bunions.

Hammertoe or claw toe — Curling of your toes, often paired with corns or calluses over the top of your toes or under the balls of your feet.

Tendonitis — Swelling, pain, and thickening of the Achilles tendon and other major tendons on the inner or outer sides of your foot or ankle

ArthritisNagging pain and stiffness in your feet and ankles. You may also experience inflammation, redness, and swelling in your joints.

If you think you have any of these conditions, make an appointment with a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon to get it checked out. They are fully trained M.D.’s who have the expertise to give you the best possible care.

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