Foot Care for the Elderly
Some Things Change With Age
As you notice some grey hairs popping out and new aches and pains cropping up, you may also experience some changes in your foot health. Many of these small problems are normal, but it is important to be knowledgeable so you know how to take care of your feet and seek treatment when big problems happen.
Years of standing, walking, running, and certain footwear often add a lot of stress on the structure of your feet. The natural padding on the sole of your foot can flatten and you may lose some of the natural cushioning. Your feet may widen and change size, due to the connective tissues and ligaments that become loose over time. Your sweat and oil glands may not work as well and you may find that your skin dries out easily, leading to cracks in the skin. Over time, structural problems within the foot can make you prone to bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, and calluses.
It is also important to mention that feet often provide clues to your general health. Symptoms from conditions that affect your whole body, such as peripheral artery disease and diabetes, can show up in the lower limb first. This makes it very important to be paying close attention to your foot health and acting quickly when abnormalities or pain arises.
Foot care for seniors is simple and straightforward. A little investment of your time on a daily basis will go a long way in keeping you pain- and injury-free. If you are unable to perform these habits, find a loved one or health care professional who can help.
Wash your feet every day and use a light moisturizer to keep skin soft. Avoid putting lotions or creams between your toes as this can encourage a fungal infection. Trim your nails regularly and be sure to cut them straight across to avoid the development of an ingrown toenail.
This daily practice is a great opportunity to do a quick self-check for any new spots, lumps, bumps, cuts, scrapes, blisters, nail discoloration, or infections. It may be helpful to use a small hand-held mirror to see the bottom of your feet or other areas up close. If you have compromised circulation or nerve sensation, which can develop with diabetes for example, this step is extremely important. Missing a minor injury and delaying treatment could lead to serious consequences and greatly affect future mobility.
Keep your feet strong and arthritis-free by staying active and maintaining your comfort and balance by wearing really good shoes that fit your feet well. Have a solid sole and plenty of support and cushioning. If you have foot pain, a deformity, or injury that is healing, it may be helpful to wear custom orthotic inserts to provide even further support and stability.
Aging is unavoidable, but you can attack it head on and stay healthy and active with the right foot care for the elderly. Don’t neglect any foot pain or problem—we can help provide care, offer quick treatment, and help you prevent avoidable problems.
If you or someone you care about is growing older and you have any concerns or require treatment, contact Dr. Thomas Silver at Westwood Foot Clinic. You can reach our Golden Valley, MN, office at (763) 231-2341. Your feet deserve skilled care—we’re here to help!