Advice For The Road Ahead: Strategies for Navigating Your Health Journey in Aging

As time goes on, I wonder if experience makes a person smarter. This is especially true of how we navigate our health issues. When we have pain that gets worse or we can’t explain, we’ll see our doctor and presumably obtain a referral for treatment or consultation, medication, or just sound advice. Today though, we may have already gone to the internet to triage for ourselves and ended up self-treating or being totally confused. “Maybe this is more serious than I thought”, is a common conclusion. No matter how complex or simple your situation, you must manage it yourself.  In an emergency you hope that everyone looking after you is well trained and competent. Once you’re not critical though you still must take the medication, do the therapy, and get your life back.

I see this every day in my own practice and am often taken aback by how unprepared and in need of counsel some people are.  For instance, a person with rheumatoid or even osteoarthritis is most often compliant, listens attentively, accepts treatment hopefully and recognizes the value and importance of their appliances or aids to daily living. On the other hand, with a neuropathic diabetic I always want a primary care giver in the room to help reinforce anything I must get across. That’s just the way it is. If they don ’t feel it doesn’t have as much importance.

Most often though, problems such as Plantar Fasciitis or Metatarsalgia which are easier to deal with require a disproportionate amount of explanation. This is usually because the person is thoroughly contaminated either by Dr. Google or divergent opinions. Your pain is unique. You can’t compare your symptoms or your path through them with any of your fellow sufferers. Age, fitness, pain threshold, activity level, occupation, BMI and a host of connected events make each case different. When I am taking a patient history and I ask the person about other pain areas, in half the cases the person will say something like: “Well, I have a pain on the inside of my right knee, but it’s not connected to the problem with my left foot”. I have this insightful and pretty smart friend who has told me: “The more I know the more I realize; I don’t know anything”. I appreciate the irony but one thing for certain is that everything is connected and there’s nothing more satisfying than helping someone with Plantar Fasciitis and solving the knee problem too.

So, listen up. If you are over 60 you should be thankful you have made it this far. Whatever your age you should honour your elders and see that they have set an example for what you may become. You must train to get old and that includes sleeping, eating and activities. Much of your health may be predicated on genetics but there is a case for the triumph of aerobics over DNA. As for the road ahead; beware of potholes.

More questions than answers? You can get more information on orthotics, footwear and pedorthic services at Thera-Ped Foot and Ankle Clinic by calling (506) 632-9397, or book an appointment today with our Canadian Certified Pedorthists.

Posted in , on November 13, 2023