October 10, 2013
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Happy Feet at Any Age


Whether you're pounding the pavement in a pair of killer heels, propelling through a 5K, or pursuing a 5-year-old around the house, you probably take your feet for granted.

But as you get older, your tootsies develop their own unique growing pains and need you to show them some love.

Heres how to sidestep the biggest foot-health issues—and enjoy pain-free feet for years to come.

Your 30s:

Head off hormone hassles. Pregnancy can change your body right down to your toes. A hormone called relaxin (which loosens pelvic ligaments in the third trimester) can also affect ligaments in the feet, causing the arches to drop. Then foot muscles in the bottom of the feet spasm in an effort to maintain the arches, says podiatrist Megan Leahy, spokeswoman for the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association.

The result? The achy, throbbing pain of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue across the bottom of the foot. (Nonpregnant women can develop it, too, often from weight gain or wearing unsupportive shoes.)

A great stretch to treat—or prevent—this heel pain: Stand facing a wall, 3 feet away from it; step forward with your right foot, keeping your left heel on the floor. Lean forward, supporting yourself against the wall until you feel a stretch; hold for 90 seconds. Stretch on each side, 3 times a day. Dr. Leahy also suggests an arch support—as well as supportive shoes instead of flip-flops, ballerina flats, or Uggs.

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