Why Seniors Need Proper Foot Care

Independent Living

October 23, 2021
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The majority of older adults experience foot pain. This can be due to many reasons. Being a former athletes, working on your feet throughout your life, or even genetic predispositions can leave you prone to foot pain.

With age, the body loses flexibility and strength. Healthy feet can impact your ability to complete basic daily tasks. Keep reading to find out how you can take of your feet into old age. 

Foot pain is chronic and can be difficult to treat. Feet are a crucial part of the body that keep us agile and moving. If not properly treated, foot pain can contribute to lack of balance and present a greater danger of falling. Foot pain is more common for women than it is for men. Together, the human feet contain about a quarter of the bones that make up our bodies.

How Aging Feet Affects Older Adult Health

Feet age, as with all other parts of the body. Major changes you will include

  • Loss of cushion in the bottoms of your feet
  • Brittle toenails
  • Drier and thinner skin
  • Fallen arches
  • Heel Pain

Your feet and ankles may be swollen due to poor blood circulation. Below, you will find a list of tips to improve circulation in your feet. As we age, our feet lose the natural arch and become wider than they were before. Take this into account when buying new shoes. Your shoe size may have changed since the last time you were at the store.

Proper Footwear for Seniors

Proper footwear can affect your foot health. Some foot conditions are developed over time by wearing shoes that are too small or too tight. Bunions, calluses, and hammertoes are caused by constant friction between the shoe and the foot. Running shoes or shoes with proper arch support and good traction are recommended for older adults.

  • Older adults are more likely to develop heel pain due to normal wear and tear causing plantar fasciitis or heel spurs
  • You can invest in shoe inserts or support braces to provide added comfort

Keep Your Toenails Healthy

The state of your toenail health may seem minuscule, but it plays a large role in maintaining your overall foot health. Consider these tips to follow and include them in your daily routine. It is very painful to suffer from toenail infections, such as fungus, due to improper foot care. 

  • Moisturize your feet as your skin loses its natural oils and the skin is thinner
  • Do not moisturize between the toes because the damp material could cause bacterial fungal infections such as Athlete’s foot
  • Cut your toenails regularly. Enlist temporary help or see a professional if you cannot cut your toenails yourself
  • Poorly cut toenails may be prone to infection or become ingrown. Do not cut toenails too short
  • Pay attention to subtle changes in your toenails such as discolouration or changes in shape. This can be a tell-tale sign for larger health problems

Ask for help when you need it

There are many reasons why you need the help of family members or caregivers to trim your toenails. They may be related to past injuries or impairments listed below. 

  • If you have back issues
  • If you have reduced flexibility in your hips or legs
  • If you experience loss of mobility due to an injury
  • If you have arthritis in your wrists and hands and can’t hold a toenail clipper
  • If you have visual impairment problems

Caremada, is an online application dedicated to helping older adults connect with caregiving professionals they need. This can be an option for finding help that is right for you.

Blood Circulation in Older Adults’ Feet

Older feet have poor blood circulation. Try incorporating foot massages to improve circulation in your feet. Have a caregiver or partner massage your feet often to ensure proper blood flow.

  • Wear thicker socks if you feel cold, but make sure there is enough room in your shoes to wiggle your toes comfortably
  • You can purchase in-home aids such as Lounge Doctor, which make sitting and lying down more comfortable by promoting blood circulation
  • Avoid sitting in certain sitting positions, like sitting cross-legged, which will make the blood circulation worse

Keeping yourself active will improve foot circulation, strengthen the arches, and help tone muscles in your legs.  Other factors such as obesity, trauma, and heredity can affect your foot health. Being overweight can put a lot of strain on your arches.

Tips for In-Home Foot Care for Seniors

  • You can invest in bed socks to wear when sleeping. Bed socks provide added comfort and warmth for your feet, resulting in better sleep.
  • Look for antibacterial foot sprays. This helps keep your feet healthy and is an extra safety precaution.
  • Wash your feet twice a day with mild soap and dry them thoroughly afterward.
  • Do not put on socks until your feet are dry.
  • Elevate your feet when sitting, lifting them on a cushion or short stool.

Foot Care Services for Seniors and Other Resources

For more tips about advanced foot care, find a foot care clinic near you or consult a foot care nurse. They can educate you about healthy feet and can provide foot care knowledge. If you have recurring foot pain, please consult a professional.

 

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