As we age, our mobility is greatly impacted by decades of wear and tear to our feet. We lose cushioning and soft tissue fat in the pads of our heels and balls of our feet and may experience pain or discomfort as a result.
Elderly foot care is a routine consisting of maintenance, care and regular check-ups that you can do from the comfort of your own home. It helps you detect early symptoms before they become complications whilst maintaining healthy skin and blood circulation.
Elderly foot care is a routine consisting of maintenance, care and regular check-ups that you can do from the comfort of your own home
Improve the health of your feet with these 5 care tips.
1. Examine Your Feet Daily
Checking for minor changes in skin colour and tone will help you identify early symptoms of complications. In terms of superficial symptoms, the most common complaints among the elderly are:
A bunion develops when the bone at the bottom of the big toe moves out of place causing the big toe to point inward (toward the other toes). In order to prevent this from occurring, check to see if a bump is forming and if there is swelling or redness around the big toe joint.
Corns and calluses
Corn is a build-up of hard skin near a bony area of a toe or between toes. The best way to check if one is forming is to look out for a thick, harden or raised bump on the skin. Tenderness can also be a symptom.
A callus is a build-up of hard skin caused by the uneven distribution of weight. Since they usually form on the bottom of the foot, always check on the bottom and around the feet. A mirror comes in handy if you have problems with flexibility.
Fungal nail infections
A fungal infection is caused by fungus spreading under the nail resulting in discolouration and in most cases, odour.
Fungal infections normally develop over time; however, if you notice a difference in the way your nail looks, it may be an early sign of an infection. Nail discolouration varies from yellow, green, black or even white. But it’s not just the colour that is the first sign; the nail may also become unusual in shape or texture.
In the absence of physical symptoms, you can check for tenderness by placing pressure on the affected toe. If you feel pain, then it may also be a sign of a pending infection.
A common deformity among the elderly is hammertoes. Surprisingly, this very condition is also present among some diabetics. A hammertoe is a condition where a toe is bent due to weakened muscle. The weakened muscle makes the tendons shorter causing the toe to curl under the feet.
An obvious sign is curling of the toes but one that is not so obvious is a pain in the toes, ball of the foot or in the front of the leg, especially when toes are stretched downward.
If you have any of the above conditions, you need to book an appointment with a podiatrist.
2. Moisturise Skin
As we age our skin loses oil glands and become thinner making it harder for it to hold in moisture which is why moisturising the legs and feet is a big part of elderly foot care. Keeping your skin moisturised will help prevent cracking which, in turn, will prevent an infection from occurring.
For best results, it is advisable to purchase non-perfumed products that are pharmaceutical grade emollients and avoid detergents and perfumed soaps as they irritate the skin.
3. Regular Trimming
As we age, our toenails become thicker which makes it harder to cut. Toenails must be trimmed regularly to prevent accidents such as scratching the skin.
If you struggle to cut your own toenails, you should book a podiatrist to trim them for you. And if you find it difficult to leave the house, you can book a mobile podiatrist to do this for you. To find a podiatrist, just search for mobile podiatry in Google.
4. Elevate Feet
Elevating legs and feet to promote blood flow in the veins and lower the risk of blood clots is a great habit to get into. Use a footstool or cushion when seated. Simple but very effective.
5. Correct Footwear
We can all agree that well-fitted shoes really make a difference in how we feel and the way we walk. As for the elderly, being fitted with shoes to suit our lifestyle allows us to stay independent and maintain mobility.
Slippers are a popular choice of footwear; however, most slippers don’t have enough support and are quite hazardous to slips and falls. Before you go shopping, it will be worthwhile booking a footwear assessment with your podiatrist to ensure that your feet are adequately covered and supported.
All in all, maintaining mobility and independence is made simple when you introduce elderly foot care into your routine.
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