Caring for the feet helps seniors keep a healthy lifestyle, improve their balance to reduce the risk of falls, and prevent infections. Some common conditions among seniors, such as diabetes, make them particularly susceptible to certain foot conditions.
If you’re a senior or are caring for a friend or loved one, don’t ignore the feet! Here are four essential parts of foot care that most seniors will need.
Proper footwear in good condition is an essential part of foot health for everyone, especially the elderly. Poor fits or damaged shoes can hurt the foot’s skeletal structure and leave the skin susceptible to sores and the elements.
Always make sure that the toes are not cramped in the shoes, buying sizes that have enough room to wiggle them around; in this line of thinking, avoid wearing thick socks that limit circulation. Allow the feet to breathe as much as possible by not wearing your shoes whenever possible, but shoes that expose your toes can provide a good level of ventilation. Seniors should also replace their shoes regularly.
Seniors and their in-home caregivers must take proper steps to keep the feet clean. Regular foot hygiene can prevent the possibility of infections, reduce the likelihood of fungal growth, and help stop ingrown toenails (more on that below). A proper care routine means washing the feet daily with soap, including between all the toes and underneath the toenails and drying the feet thoroughly after cleaning.
Every wash should include an inspection of the feet for growths and sores. If you or your loved one notice anything irregular, contact a podiatrist as soon as possible.
Trim The Toenails Properly
It’s common for seniors to suffer from ingrown toenails due to improper trimming. Ingrown nails come when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the flesh, resulting in redness, swelling, and pain. On top of the excruciating discomfort, this issue can also lead to infections. The best way to avoid developing ingrown nails is to trim the nails straight across with clippers or how a registered podiatrist advises you.
Keep In Touch With A Podiatrist
Podiatrists diagnose and treat foot problems to keep this part of the body in a healthy condition. Even small cuts or abrasions can necessitate a visit to or from a podiatrist, especially for seniors; they can lead to potential ulcers if not treated by a specialist. Other potential problems that require immediate care from a medical expert include pinching sensations in the feet and any circulation issues.
Podiatrists can offer seniors helpful and informative advice regarding what type of footwear will best support and protect their feet. As well, podiatrists can help seniors determine whether or not orthopedic shoes will be necessary. Podiatrists can inform seniors on proper toenail trimming techniques, too.