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Foot Health Tips for Seniors

Wednesday January 24, 2018 12:22 PM, Zoahair M Safwan,

Foot Health

Aging comes with a lot of physical changes in the body, making seniors more prone to various diseases and injuries. Older adults over 60 years old commonly complain of foot pain and other foot related disorders unsurprisingly since years of wear and tear can take its toll on the body secondary to aging.

Research has shown that one in four seniors suffer from foot problems, hence, foot care at this age should be given due attention. The anatomy of the feet is incredibly complex and there’s no debating their importance in your mobility. Caring for the feet, however, doesn't have to be complicated. Paying attention to the feet problems and cues can prevent injuries and complications that might arise from chronic diseases like diabetes or arthritis.

Keep Your Feet Clean

Like the armpits, the feet also sweat, thus regular washing with soap and water is necessary to prevent odor. Washing also removes the dirt and germs that gather on the feet on a daily basis.

Once a week, trim your toenails after taking a bath when they are softer and easier to cut. If you can’t manage bending down to trim your nails or if you have a poor eyesight, then ask someone else to do it for you. Don’t risk trimming on your own because the wrong cut might cause an ingrown toenail, which can be quite painful and debilitating.

You might also find it beneficial to apply foot creams and moisturizers to keep your skin soft and supple, especially around the heels. Since collagen supply depletes as you age, these hydrating skin products can help prevent dryness that causes:

  • Painful and bleeding cracked skin
  • Scaling
  • Calluses
  • Severe itching
  • Rough patches

Wear the Right Shoes

Wear shoes that provide comfort and own at least several pairs to wear alternately. Pick the proper size and fit so that the shoes won't cause blisters on your feet. Wear socks for extra protection as your skin rubs against the shoes’ material.

The right type of footwear can help with your balance and lessen your risk of falling or tripping too. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can worsen arthritis and increase the pressure on your feet. Opt for low-heeled and slip-resistant footwear with smooth bottoms. Older adults are also at risk of developing plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, a bony outgrowth caused by calcium build-up because they have thinner soles and less elastic ligaments which are prone to swelling and inflammation.

Improve Blood Circulation

Blood circulation can also decrease due to aging but you can facilitate healthy circulation on your legs and feet with simple routines:

  • Make a habit of doing daily morning stretches to start your day.
  • When sitting or lying down, rest your feet on a stool or pillow so that it remains slightly elevated.
  • If you remain seated for a longer period, try wiggling your toes from time to time or do ankle exercises to maintain flexibility, build strength, and facilitate balance.
  • Occasionally indulge in foot massages or warm foot baths.
  • Commit to regular physical activities like walking, biking or swimming to keep yourself on your toes.

Foot Care for Diabetics

If you’re at risk of diabetes or if you already have it, untended minor problems in the feet can lead to wounds and infections, or worse, result in an amputation. You need to check for cuts, spots, swelling, and blisters on your feet to prevent the condition from worsening.

When you moisturize your feet, make sure you do not leave product residues in between the toes as this might result in the growth of fungus. Always keep your feet clean and dry after showering, bathing and swimming, and change your socks regularly if you sweat a lot.

Consult a Podiatrist

A podiatrist can make a proper diagnosis and administer treatment of feet issues ranging from athlete's foot and arthritis to bunions, calluses, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and ingrown nails. Visit a podiatrist if you feel or find:

  • Numbness, pain or tingling in the feet that might be an indication of a nerve problem.
  • Red and puffy skin around the toes due to ingrown nails that could lead to severe infection.
  • Any sign of deformity due to a fall or bump.
  • Any sign of feet discoloration, like pale or bluish skin, as this might be a sign or vein or circulation problems.
  • Lumps, abnormal bumps, and lesions that might suggest cyst or tumor growth. Foot tumors, however, are usually benign, but it’s always good to get a proper diagnosis.

Suffering from foot problems lessens an elderly person’s mobility and affects the quality of life. Don’t downplay the condition especially when it’s preventable. Remember that immobility in older people can speed up the deterioration of one’s health.

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