The health of our feet deteriorates with age, and calluses, cracked heels, fungal infections, even corns might affect the elderly more often. In addition, the skin beneath the feet ages and becomes less elastic, which can cause dryness, fissures, and other issues with the feet.
When health issues including impaired vision, decreased agility, and decreased mobility occur in older persons, it becomes more challenging to treat these foot concerns appropriately. These issues may negatively impact an older persons' self-esteem, which may worsen their balance and raise their chance of falling. (Chicago foot expert, 2023)
THE MOST TYPICAL FOOT ISSUES AMONG SENIORS
Joint and Arthritis Pain
Joint pain and arthritis are quite frequent conditions that can even affect people over 40. It can be quite unpleasant, impairing everyday mobility and making life more difficult.
Numerous factors can contribute to poor blood circulation, which can prevent adequate blood from getting to the feet. Numbness, pains, cramps, and clammy feet might also result from this. (Iana, 2022)
Caluses and Dry Skin
Dry skin and the formation of blisters and dead skin cells are two effects of ageing. Seniors who experience intense itching due to dryness frequently scratch until their skin breaks and bleeds. Corns and calluses are brought on by the friction from shoes and thickening of the skin.
The warm, damp environment that wearing shoes creates is a common cause of athlete's foot and related diseases. (Mcintosh, 2019)
Diabetic Nerve Damage
Proper foot care is particularly essential for older persons with type 2 diabetes since inadequate circulation and nerve degeneration increase the risk of developing foot issues. If treatment is not received, this may lead to infections, foot ulcers, decreased sensitivity, tingling, muscular weakness, or acute sensitivity to touch. (Edelstein, 1988)
TIPS FOR HEALTHY FEET
- Wash and pat dry your feet to maintain proper hygiene.
- Always wear clean, dry socks, and change them every day.
- Make sure your shoes are clean on the inside and exterior.
- Change up your shoe rotation; avoid wearing the same shoes every day.
- Wear only shoes that fit appropriately.
- Steer clear of bare feet, especially in public places.
- Check your feet for any lumps, blisters, sores, broken skin, tender spots, or other issues. (Iana, 2022)
HOW ELDERLY CAN DO FOOT CARE
- Purchasing shoes that slip or rub on your heel while you walk is not a good idea since they can lead to blisters and deep sores.
- It's essential to change your socks frequently and stay away from shoes when your feet are sweaty in order to practise excellent hygiene, as this can cause an odor.
- To prevent calluses, burning, and cracking in your heels, keep your feet (Chicago foot expert, 2023)
- After taking a shower or bath, masage your feet with a quality skin moisturizer.
- Ingrown toenails may be avoided by keeping your toenails clipped to an appropriate length.
- It is important to stretch These little motions will maintain blood flow and improve circulation.
- Simple remedies like using ankle braces, bunions pads, toe separators, and orthotics may be recommended by a podiatrist.
- There are antibacterial foot sprays available to assist keep feet infection-free and odor-free. (Mcintosh, 2019)
THE DANGERS OF NEGLECTING ELDERLY FOOT CARE
Regardless of whether a senior has diabetes, conditions like coronary artery disease and arthritis, their skin is thinner and drier, and their bones deteriorate.
Athlete's foot, fungal nail infections, ingrown toenails, bunions, blisters, corns, and calluses may become more common in the aged population if proper foot care is not provided.
They could also get flat feet, plantar fasciitis, and warts on their plantar surfaces. Due to their lowered immunity, elderly patients are more susceptible to degenerative, irreversible illnesses from modest foot issues. (Edelstein, 1988)
Elderly individuals can enhance their well-being and enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle by improving their mobility. This increased mobility fosters greater independence, enabling them to lead a more self-sufficient and fulfilling life.
blogs. (2023, July 26). The Importance of Foot Care for Seniors. My Chicago Foot Expert. https://mychicagofootexpert.com/2023/07/26/the-importance-of-foot-care-for-seniors/
lana.admin. (2022, December 28). Importance Elderly Foot Care: Essential Senior Foot Care Tips. Lana Life Care. https://lanalifecare.com/elderly-foot-care-tips/
Mcintosh, I. B. (2019). Ageing Foot Disorders. Podiatry Review, 76(1), 20-22.
Edelstein, J. E. (1988). Foot care for the aging. Physical therapy, 68(12), 1882-1886.