5 Foot Care Tips for the Elderly
Healthy feet are essential to staying mobile. But just as aging affects other parts of the body and overall health, it also affects the health of the feet. Various age-related diseases can also affect feet and their health, making foot care a vital part of health care, especially for the aging and the elderly.
Let’s take a look at some foot care tips by Marion County Podiatry that everyone, especially the elderly, should follow:
Keeping Feet Clean
Maintaining body hygiene is essential to maintain its health, and the same is the case with feet. Keeping your feet clean is the key to keeping them healthy. Many individuals don’t scrub their feet in the shower or clean their feet beyond showers or baths. However, feet need to be cleaned daily as much as the face. They should be scrubbed with soap during showers and baths, just like other parts of the body.
Our feet are constantly exposed to air pollution and dirt in the environment, attracting many bacteria and other germs. Wearing socks and shoes also doesn’t keep them safe as it can trap sweat inside and lead to bacterial and fungal growth on the skin of the feet.
Hence, washing feet should be a part of freshening up after one returns home after spending the day outside. Moreover, washing feet as a part of a night-time routine can keep feet clean and healthy while promoting better sleep.
Trimming Toenails Regularly
Trimming toenails should be a part of a weekly or fortnightly self-care routine. Overgrown toenails can harbor germs and bacteria in them. These germs and bacteria can lead to various foot health issues or worsen other conditions. Feet can never be clean if toenails are filled with germs. Overgrown toenails can also decrease mobility by making walking difficult or slowed. Individuals with overgrown toenails also risk scratching their feet or ankles with their nails.
Overgrown toenails can also become hard and difficult to trim. Therefore, toenails should be trimmed regularly, so they don’t get a chance to overgrow and become hard. People with hardened toenails should soak their feet in warm water to soften them for easier trimming.
While keeping feet and toenails clean is important, complete foot care also includes caring for the skin on the feet. Aging naturally leads to drier skin, leading to flaky and cracking skin on feet, especially on heels. But moisturizing clean feet can help in this regard. Applying a foot cream or any other moisturizer after washing feet with soapy water and pat-drying can help keep the feet on the skin soft and supple. After following the night-time foot care routine, putting on clean socks can provide extra comfort and warmth to the feet.
With age, feet can become wider and flatter. Flattening and widening feet occur as the fatty padding of heels and skin around the feet becomes looser. The bones in the feet can also become weak due to aging and other age-related health issues. This natural phenomenon can directly impact the mobility of aging individuals.
As most people tend to put on weight with age, the weakened bones in their feet and the mobility issues can often lead to foot fractures. Foot fractures among the elderly can be especially difficult to treat due to the changed shape of the feet. However, active individuals experience lesser chances of foot fractures than non-active individuals.
Elderly individuals can also maintain or improve their feet’ health by adopting a healthier lifestyle. A healthy and active lifestyle maintains the blood flow to all body parts, including the feet. Daily activity also maintains body weight, which saves feet from carrying unnecessary body weight and experiencing fractures.
Wearing Comfortable Footwear
Since feet are responsible for carrying body weight, they deserve appropriate support for the task. Uncomfortable or wrong-sized footwear can cause pressure on heels or toes, affecting the feet’ health. Many elders can also ignore their feet’ changed shape and continue wearing the same size throughout their lives. They can mistake the pressure and pain they experience from wearing incorrectly sized shoes to age or other health issues and continue to suffer unnecessarily.
As part of foot care, it is important to always buy footwear after trying a few different sizes to find the most comfortable one. High heels should always be avoided. Instead, buying comfortable soles or padding for shoes can add significantly to daily foot care.
Finally, it is important to address any pain in feet as quickly as possible. Feet odor should also be addressed even if the feet look clean and feel fine. If you have any concerns about the health of your feet, you can talk to the specialists at Marion County Podiatry today.