Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Foot Care Tips for the Elderly

Due to several reasons as you age, you start developing a number of foot problems – from wear and tear of joints to the skin losing its elasticity and becoming more fragile, dry and thin than before. Since foot ailments can cause a lot of pain and discomfort and even restrict mobility, elders need to take special care of their feet. Here are a few tips on geriatric foot care:

General foot care and protection

Foot health attested by regular foot examination is very important for elders. You need to keep your feet clean and dry, and clip the nails. However, since aging makes the nails brittle, you should not nick your skin while clipping nails. If dry skin is a problem (as your skin starts losing its natural oils due to aging), you can apply moisturizer on your feet but not between the toes.

You should conduct daily foot inspection to notice small/unusual cuts, bruises, bumps, nail distortions or color changes; should you find any of these symptoms, consult your podiatrist for prompt examination.

Choosing the right footwear and socks    

With age, you start losing the fatty pads cushioning the base of your foot; it is important therefore to choose shoes with the right support and fit. If you select shoes that are too tight, narrow or not supportive, you will suffer from foot pain and discomfort soon.

Ideally, you should opt for shoes with adequate arch support, roomy toe boxes and sufficient sole cushioning to absorb sudden shock. You should pair your shoes with fitting moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet comfortable and dry. If you have problems with your lower limbs, your podiatrist may suggest using orthotics to offer support and stability.

Elders often end up wearing socks and stockings that are too tight to keep their feet warm. However, by doing so, they restrict the blood flow in their feet and suffer from cramp in toes. Thus, whether you are using bed socks or stockings, make sure you choose a comfortable fitting pair.

Consulting a podiatrist on time

Arthritis, diabetes and circulatory problems are common in older people, which may often cause foot pain, discomfort or delayed healing of nicks and cuts. Foot problems that restrict or threaten your mobility need immediate medical attention.

At times, ill-fitting footwear can cause calluses, corns and ingrown toenails, for relief from which a podiatrist can suggest the right footwear. As your immune system takes a beating with age, fungal nails or athlete’s foot too may trouble you as your body finds it tough to manage the pathogens causing the symptoms.

The elderly face an increased risk of bunions and hammertoes (due to excessive pressure on their lower limbs) as well as neuroma and metatarsalgia (due to loss of fatty pads at the base of the foot, depleting the protective layer between the bones and the sole).

Geriatric foot problems can vary thus from small aggravations to serious issues. Minor or major, they all need prompt medical attention to avoid small discomforts from snowballing into more serious, debilitating issues.

You do not need to stop enjoying your golden years of wisdom and rich experiences due to geriatric foot irritants. Make your everyday life full of vigor and vitality by simply adhering to the following: regular foot care routine, right footwear, daily exercise (for better blood circulation and strengthening of muscles) and periodic visit to your podiatrist especially when you notice unusual foot occurrences (like a color or texture change and pain or discomfort).

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