As our bodies age, we naturally begin to feel the effects of continuous wear and tear. Unfortunately, our feet are no exception. However, proper foot care is important for more than just comfort’s sake. Foot complications can also be one of the first signs of a serious medical condition such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve disorders, circulatory disorders, and more. Keep your feet in working order and be able to recognize signs of distress by following these foot care tips for seniors.
When most people picture aging, they consider how time affects facial features, skin and hair—but not usually how it affects their feet. As you grow older, the bone structure and padding in your feet change and can make you more vulnerable to infection and disease. The following are basic steps you should take to ensure that your feet are always able to support you.
Pamper your feet to keep them in good condition. Wash your feet regularly with tepid water and pat dry. Trim your toenails straight across to prevent ingrown toes or other complications. If you have circulatory problems, use an emery board instead of a nail clipper in order to prevent yourself from being nicked.
Because feet are regularly exposed to dirt and bacteria, daily washing is crucial. You should use warm water and soap in your cleansing process. Hot water can dry your skin out and cause significant damage, especially in areas where the skin is thinner. After cleaning your feet, make sure that they are thoroughly dry. Damp feet attract infection-causing fungi and can lead to conditions such as athlete’s foot.
If you discover small cuts or sores on your feet, a podiatrist can help you make sure that they don’t lead to a more serious foot condition. Untreated sores can lead to infections and foot ulcers that can cause significant damage to your health. During your daily cleaning ritual, you should check for cuts or cracks in the skin that may serve as an entryway for bacteria. If you discover any, schedule a medical consultation to determine the severity.
You should trim your toenails straight across to make sure the corners don’t grow into your skin. In addition, you should carefully file any sharp edges created by trimming. Failure to cut your nails properly can lead to in-grown toenails and infection.
Because the bone structure in your feet change, you need to purchase shoes that will provide adequate arch support. You should also make sure there is plenty of room for the toes, meaning that they don’t feel pinched during wear. Wearing well-fitted shoes can help to prevent many foot complications. Make sure that your shoes are well suited for your feet by having your feet resized with every purchase. Because the sizes of your feet change as you get older, making purchases based only on the size that your feet were the last time you shopped can be a recipe for undersized footwear. Instead, have your feet measured before each purchase. Once on, make sure that the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe. Don’t forget to walk around to make sure that the fit and feel is correct.
Inspect Your Feet
Even if you wear the right shoes, you may still fall victim to one of several common foot complications. Inspect your feet regularly for any signs of problems. Specifically, keep an eye out for fungal or bacterial infections, corns, or ingrown toenails. If you suspect a problem, contact your podiatrist immediately.