Doctors of Podiatric Medicine Help Keep Older Patients on Their Feet and Active

Doctors of Podiatric Medicine Help Keep Older Patients on Their Feet and Active

The quality of life degenerates rapidly for a person who is unable to move about freely. And, in an era of concern with spiraling healthcare costs, care for a bedridden person is considerably more expensive -- whether paid for by the individual, a family, insurance, or the government.

Doctors of podiatric medicine help keep older patients on their feet and active, which is critically important to their overall health.

The complex engineering marvels that keep people mobile -- the feet -- change as an inevitable effect of aging. Nails get thicker, skin drier and such problems as corns, calluses, arthritis, bunions and hammertoes increase. It is common for the foot's natural cushion to thin out and lose some of its shock absorbing quality.

For healthcare, the aging of American society has been called the most profound demographic change of the 20th century, creating a whole new set of problems.

A podiatric physician's specialized education and training places him or her in the unique position of helping an aging society deal with increasing medical difficulties. And, Medicare records indicate that doctors of podiatric medicine have become the providers of choice for seniors seeking foot care.

Older patients benefit from periodic visits to foot doctors:

  • Serious systemic problems -- arthritis, diabetes, kidney problems, circulatory disorders, bone conditions, etc. -- often are indicated initially by symptoms in the feet and legs.
  • Each of the foot joints can be afflicted with arthritis, making feet more susceptible to a painful disease that can disable a person.
  • Older men and women may develop osteoporosis, a loss of bone mass that makes them fragile. Once minor incidents -- bumping a toe or dropping something on the foot -- can lead to a debilitating fracture.
  • Of the 2.1 million people 65 and over who have diabetes, nearly 65,000 have diabetic foot disease.

For older Californians, good foot health can be the difference between enjoyment or infirmity, active involvement or debilitating decline.

Keeping California's aging population active longer and more capable of caring for themselves is critical to the State's economic well-being. Good medical foot care by doctors of podiatric medicine is an important part of this equation.