If you are experiencing foot problems during your golden years, you are not alone. Studies suggest that three out of four people develop serious podiatric problems as they age.
As seniors, many experience decreased circulation and sensation in the limbs, muscle and joint changes, diminished flexibility, and other changes that can contribute to senior podiatric conditions.
Foot problems can also increase the risk of falls, injury, and certain diseases, since healthy feet are necessary for proper balance, adequate physical activity, and personal independence. Although seniors face unique challenges in keeping their feet healthy, these challenges are not insurmountable. With proper self-care and treatment by a skilled podiatrist, seniors can keep their feet fit and functional.
The following foot ailments are common among seniors:
- Disease-related podiatric problems (i.e. foot problems associated with diabetes, arthritis, nerve damage, and poor circulation)
- Dry, cracked skin (leads to sores, infections, and other problems)
- Fractures and sprains
- Swelling of the feet and legs (edema)
Foot care for seniors – tips and recommendations
By adhering to the following guidelines, you can maintain foot health and prevent many podiatric problems:
- Check your feet daily for blisters, corns, bruises, sores, infections, and other problems. Don’t wait until your feet hurt to obtain treatment.
- Exercise daily (with your doctor’s permission).
- Keep your toenails clipped.
- Maintain proper circulation; prop your feet when sitting or lying down, stretch regularly, avoid crossing your legs while sitting, and refrain from smoking and other activities that hamper circulation.
- Treat underlying conditions (e.g. diabetes, arthritis, etc.).
- Wash your feet daily, exfoliate, and moisturize dry feet. Apply talcum powder to absorb extra sweat.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and socks daily.
Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Changes in skin color or shape of your foot
- Coldness, cramping, numbness, tingling, or discomfort
- Decreased foot sensitivity
- Sores on your feet that become infected or don’t heal
To learn more about taking care of your feet during your senior years, or to obtain treatment for a foot condition, contact an experienced podiatrist today. Your doctor can provide the treatment you need.