Column: Happy feet: Navigating foot health for a stronger stride


Commentary by Dr. David Sullivan and Dr. Kenneth Stumpf

A lot of the foot pain and conditions that we encounter in the aging population can be easily treated and prevented. Westfield Foot and Ankle specializes in keeping you on your feet and moving well into your senior years. One of the most important things you can do for your health is to stay active. Dr. David Sullivan and Dr. Ken Stumpf are experts at formulating treatment plans to help your feet feel young and pain free.

As we get older, our feet are more likely to dry out and develop cracks — especially on the soles or heels. Our office recommends a twice-daily moisturizing routine for your feet. If you notice deep cracks on your skin, or if your heels develop fissures, it’s time to come into the office to prevent infection.

There are many factors that can contribute to heel pain in the senior population. Years of activity combined with general anatomy changes can put a strain on the plantar fascia. As a result, you’re more likely to develop plantar fasciitis, which can cause pain and inflammation. It is important to stretch and consider custom orthotics, which can help alleviate pain and prevent future injury.

Bunions are caused by a deformity at the big toe joint, which can become more prevalent in the senior population. Oftentimes, a bunion can get larger and more painful over time. Conservative care, including wider shoes, additional padding, and anti-inflammatories, can help resolve the pain but, in some cases, surgical intervention is best. The first step in determining the appropriate treatment plan starts by taking an X-ray and creating a personalized course of action for each patient. The team at Westfield Foot and Ankle prides itself on being a leader in bunion care.

Unfortunately, our feet are not immune to developing arthritis. After all, our feet have had to carry us around for years, and our joints have taken a lot of abuse by the time we reach our 50s. Arthritis can attack the cartilage around your joints leaving you with pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Staying active and keeping your joints moving is key for prevention. It is best to address foot and ankle joint pain early as pain can often be eliminated in our office without requiring surgery. 

Commonly, our arches collapse, and we develop flat feet as we mature. It is not uncommon for our shoe size to increase because of changes in the arches of our feet. Westfield Foot and Ankle can help with pain caused by flat feet and prevent ongoing issues with the use of custom orthotics and a recommendation of proper shoes. 

Remember, just because you might be aging doesn’t mean you have to live with painful feet! Westfield Foot and Ankle is here to help keep you on your feet well into your golden years!

Dr. David Sullivan and Dr. Kenneth Stumpf are both board-certified foot surgeons at Westfield Foot and Ankle, LLC. Contact them at [email protected] or 317-896-6655.