health, Uncategorized

Oh, my aching feet!

At a recent gathering with women friends, our discussion ran to the unglamorous topic of feet. You know, this little piggie and all that. I had to chuckle as we raved about the comfort of our less-than-fashionable footwear. 

Sherwood Forest Friends

Three of us were wearing clunky shoes  recommended by our doctors for various foot ailments. If anyone would have told me twenty years ago that I’d be decked out in orthopedic shoes like Grandma, I’d have laughed.

ca8f765aecb0ce530ad602cbffd40fe9

Well, here I am. And I’m not laughing.

What happened? Well, age has plenty to do with it, along with overtaxing my hoofers. Their demise began after a few glorious months of pounding away for hours at dance class—modern dance and tap. I loved it, but my feet didn’t.

Capture

Before long it was agony to stand barefoot on my kitchen floor. I struggled with heel pain for quite a while before I went to see Dr. Mike, my sports medicine guru. The culprit? Plantar fasciitis.

images
Ah, relief!

Mike fitted me with orthotics to support my arches and told me to give up dancing until my feet were healed. Sigh…

Other foot ailments plague us: heel spurs, bunions, and Achilles tendonitis. Morton’s neuroma and hammertoes are two more issues common in the middle years. I’d always been aware of athlete’s foot and blisters, but who knew we’d face these tortures?

The tortures, defined:

ACHILLES TENDONITIS is  soreness on the back of the ankle, sometimes with a sharp pain in the calf, caused by stressing and inflaming the Achilles tendon.

download
Bunion, Mayo Clinic

BUNION is a large bulge on the outside of your big toe joint, resulting from fallen arches and a tendency to overpronate or from wearing tight shoes.

HEEL SPURS are abnormal bony growth on the bottom of the heel caused by plantar fasciitis or an over-stressed arch (from overuse or running).

download-2
Hammertoe, Mayo Clinic

HAMMERTOE is having a middle toe that curls under and develops a corn on top, often the result of an overly long middle toe.

MORTON’S NEUROMA is a pain or burning on the underside of your foot, behind the toe, caused by a thickening of tissue around the nerves between the toes. It’s more common in women from wearing heels or tight shoes.

PLANTAR FASCIITIS is pain caused by the straining of tissue connecting the heel to the toes, which can be caused by fallen arches, tight calf muscles, weight gain, worn shoes, or excessive walking.

So how can we prevent foot maladies?

First, wear comfortable, roomy shoes—and give up those heels! Find shoes that give your feet support without cramping your toes. Treat your feet especially kindly if you are going to overtax them with a dance class or a marathon: make sure you wear quality shoes, and if you suspect you may have injured your feet, use ice as you would on any injury to keep inflammation from destroying tissue. Replace running shoes at least every 500  miles (or every six months, whichever comes first).

450863_orig
Love your feet!

Another factor that affects your feet is, of course, the load they carry. If the load is equal to the length times the width…figure it out. You may not be able to do much about your height, but girth is within your control–enough said.

It’s been shown that differences in gait can contribute to foot problems, too. Most people step first on the outside of the heel and then the rest of the foot rolls in toward the big toe. download-4Pronating is walking more on the insides of your feet, while supinating is walking more on the outside. You can tell how you walk by looking at the bottom of a worn pair of shoes. The wear should be fairly consistent down the middle of the sole. If there is more wear to the inside or the outside, your stride may be “off.” You can go to an athletic shoe store for help in finding the best shoes to correct your problem.

I’ve tried to alter my supinating stride deliberately, but it’s hard after 60+ years of walking like a duck. I have found a shoe, though, that adjusts for my problem. My high-arched, supinating feet like New Balance athletic shoes.

shs_160523_foot_orthotics_250x188
Custom orthotics

Another option is to get orthotics, which are basically custom-designed inserts to correct your foot issues. If you don’t want to spend the money on custom orthotics, drug store inserts can provide arch support or cushion.

If you’d like more information on foot ailments and their treatments, check out WebMD on foot problems. It’s not surprising that almost every ailment can be eased by wearing sensible, well-fitted shoes (like my grandma—and me). It’s worth putting money on your feet; they’re your ticket to the exercise that helps you lead a long, healthy life.

Until your feet heal, consider joining the gang at the pool for exercise. Swimming and water aerobics are easy on your feet.

Now that my feet are healed, I’m back to walking every morning. I still love to dance, too, but I do it in my Danskos—clunky but comfortable, with good arch support. Grandma would approve.

A version of this article first appeared on Sixty and Me:sixty&melink

http://sixtyandme.com/oh-my-aching-feet-why-i-finally-decided-to-toss-my-heels/

dating, life in general, Uncategorized

Online Dating? A Daunting Task

When I found myself single after 32 years of marriage, I vacillated between delight and despondency. After three years on my own I tentatively approached online dating, and my numerous coffee date debacles taught me a lot.

eharmony date
My sweetheart Phil from eharmony. The relationship was great, but the long miles between Michigan and Turkey ended it.

Online dating is like grocery shopping: read labels carefully, then proceed with caution. After ten years of plowing through Match.com profiles both clever and dull, I’d like to share some tips for those of you ready to launch into this intimidating arena. Though I write as a woman searching for a man, my advice applies if you’re looking for a same sex partner as well.images-5

First, accept the fact that you probably won’t find the right partner right away. It takes work, and the truth is— Ya gotta kiss a lotta frogs.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Look beyond that first smiling mug shot. If the rest of his photos are cars, trucks, and motorcycles, prepare to play second fiddle to them. Of course, if you enjoy car shows and motorcycle rallies, go for it!

download-2

Is he smiling or serious? A smile speaks for itself, while a serious expression…well, some serious men are deep, deep, deep. Others are just plain downers.

Do his photos show him interacting with family or friends? If they do, he’s probably socially engaged, which most women prefer. Either that or his daughters posted his profile.

Lots of tattoos? If you don’t mind tattoos, ask for a close-up photo. Whether it’s MOTHER printed in a heart, a skull and crossbones, or Bart Simpson, tattoos speak volumes about values.

Photos say more about a person than any well-crafted profile, especially since many guys have someone else write their profiles.

Once you’ve read a profile, think about what he DIDN’T say. Beware of stock descriptions, and note what’s out of the ordinary.

“I love the outdoors and want a woman to sit by the fire with a glass of wine or walk the beach holding hands.”

Gak! Though these sentiments sound sweet, they don’t show much imagination— many profiles include these lines. Who doesn’t like walking on a beach? Loving the outdoors might mean mowing and raking the yard, hunting and fishing, or skiing through a snow-draped forest. If you’re interested, ask for details.

images

Here’s an interesting post:

“Car person,have a couple I am working on. .golf, read, walk , bike, NASCAR, Twins”

If you can get past the grammar mistakes (which speak for themselves), this fellow is a busy guy doing guy things. Are these the activities you want to share? Ask him how much time he has for another person. If you’re looking for someone who reads a lot and converses well, this might not be your man. (I’d blow him off.)

download

Look for traits in the writing style: a sense of humor, warmth, exuberance, sociability…

This post caught my eye:

“I can still feed myself! Looking for someone to chat with, Walks, talk, pen-pal/friendship, coffee,. Someone down to earth, not someone looking at their phone all the time.”

I like the “feed myself” line—good humor. It looks like he values communication, at least person-to-person. Few of us like being with people tied to their phones, but what do you think about a man who puts his pet peeves right up front? Would he be difficult to please?

images-4

Here’s another…

“I have a kind and gentle soul, but don’t make the mistake of thinking I am weak. I have a quick wit, and I am easy to talk to. I like the outdoors, photography, painting, flea markets, estate sales, I like the beautiful things in life, pretty ladies, autumn leaves, little babies. I love music, and reading.

I would like to share the love of nature and all God has to offer.”

This is a man who has many interests and seems to know himself. I wonder, though, why he included the comment about liking pretty ladies. Does he have a wandering eye? The mention of God points to a religious bent, a gentle indicator from this gentle man.

How about this one from Craig’s List?

How does a regular guy seriously looking for a real woman post an ad that will garner attention in this potpourri of ads, be read & elicit a response from a decent quality woman on this site with all these stupid & sexual ads — and that’s putting it nicely!”

So far this fellow sounds frustrated. His writing style, though, shows intelligence, so I’d read on. Big words—no dummy. It’s hard to imagine dating someone so cheap he’ll only post on Craig’s List, though, a minefield of tacky posts.

images-2

Be wise about meetings and sharing information.

Once you find someone who interests you, proceed with caution. Choose public meeting places and don’t share your address until you’ve met this person a few times and feel assured of his integrity.

download-4

If you look carefully at profiles and read between the lines, you’ll save yourself a lot of time as well as some coffee date debacles. You might even find someone worth pursuing.

images-7

I recommend checking  the highest rated dating sites  before diving into the fray. I was greatly impressed by eharmony.com, mainly because it requires numerous personality and interest surveys that take out the work of sifting through hundreds of profiles. After being single for ten years, I finally found a partner, Jerry, introduced to me by a previous Match connection who dropped me for a younger woman. It’s worked out great for us.

dating, senior dating
Jerry and Ann Marie on the Princes Islands in Turkey–before we got married.

A version of this article was previously published on Sixty and Me, a web site I write for monthly:

http://sixtyandme.com/online-dating-after-60-here-are-4-ways-to-simplify-your-experience/